I have spoken before of how much I treasure creating custom dolls. They truly represent for me the essence of this kind of doll making. Traditionally speaking, waldorf dolls are created by a mother for their child. Now, I have strayed from waldorf dolls a long time ago, but the essence and the philosophy behind creating dolls in this fashion is still very close to my heart.
When I create a custom doll, I use a lot of visualization. The majority of times I do not make a doll that is meant to resemble their child, but just a close general appearance is mostly requested. The visualization comes to me when I am actually working on the doll, and thinking about the person this doll is going to be playing with. I try to envision their child's head as a stroke the wool and shape their heads. Looking at my gallery can give you a definite idea that I change the shape of the heads of my dolls, to suit their personality (at least that's what I like to believe!). Children like and usually bond with a doll that have a few key points that resemble them, their head shape is one. Their body proportions is another. And the hair, eye or skin colour is another aspect that might entice them to bond quicker with their doll, but is not always the case. However, sometimes one strives to provide this as a base to ensure a successful doll love affair.
The visualization comes very strongly as I put the doll together. Thinking of little hands that will want to dance with this doll, up in the air, makes my fingers stitch hard and tight (which later gives me achy hands!). Thinking that a little girl loves to set tea parties, and birthday parties and all kinds of gatherings for her toys, makes me work hard on the doll to be ready, and also to be stuffed to the right level of sturdiness versus cuddliness. It is a fine, fine dance, to be able to produce a doll that is high quality but that has something alive in her. That has an essence, not only of the doll maker who created it, but also of the child that it was created for.
I can't say that I always achieve this fine dance, but I strive with all my heart and all my thoughts, to create one as such. I was requested to create this doll, for a little girl with a shy heart. Her mother's description literally brought a vision to my eyes, of just this doll. I made two original sketches, as soon as I read everything she needed to tell me, and I waited for the time to work on her. I finally had the chance and I can honestly tell you this doll talks to me. She does! (my husband is probably very annoyed with me right now, but one has to be truthful!).
I created this doll thinking that she will a very special friend, to a very special little girl. That she will be her comfort, her security, the friend that she can talk to and tell her secrets to, that will listen to her troubles and encourage her to try to know that big, big world out there.
There are lots of little details for this little girl to discover in her doll: tiny little birds, and flowers to point out; small wooden buttons to touch; hand stitching on her boots to make them a bit more girly; puffy sleeves and pin tucks on her dress, so her doll is always dressed in an atemporal style; she has very soft and long hair, so those tiny fingers of hers can play and caress her doll's hair, and try whatever kind of crazy hair style she dreams possible; she has above all a very kind face, with a welcoming expression, hoping and wishing that her new mom will open out her heart to her and make her her friend. For a little girl that has such a shy heart, I thought important that her doll looked playful, happy and serene in some sort of way.
Knowing that she so dearly loves pink and purple, I tried to create this little doll for her, with shades that might not be so abundant in her own collection, but that will also spark a smile once she sees her.
I know that creating custom dolls, the way I make them, is not for everybody. It is extremely time consuming to be conscious of every step along the way, but in the end, I am not after the finished product only, I am also looking for a way to make my life enjoyable, to become a better person through this way of working and communicating with other people, and above else, I am willing to spend that time in order to provide a little girl with a long time friend. After all, once all is said and done, all I will have is the memories of a life well spent and enjoyed, won't I?
So here she is. From my hands to yours, I hope you like her, and enjoy playing with her.