A dollmaker's muse



I've been having such a hard time trying to decide wether to keep her, or "release" her into the world. I feel extremely selfish and even a little remorseful but she'll stay here with me. The thing is, a while ago I made the very conscious decision to call myself a dollmaker. I don't know if you remember. Anyway, I've been thinking about what that entails and what kind of challenges and also responsibilities come with the title.


For almost three years I was making dolls as a past time, as a hobby, as a creative need. The fact that the dolls were welcomed in so many homes and families, and that so many people were so enthusiastic about them, gave me energy and made me move forward. I made dolls to fill a creative urgency, stirred up within me with the birth of my children. But I never thought of myself as a professional doll maker, not until very recently.

Every time I created a doll, I did it from my heart. Not a lot of intellectual achievement went into it, other than the regular decisions around the doll per se. I created dolls that were attuned with the age of my children and how I saw they played and the things they liked. I made the dolls the best I knew how, always learning and improving, and I always gave "my best". I tried my hardest, and worked on them as much as I could and as my life circumstances allowed. But I always thought to myself, this doll could be better.



Now, I feel I have come a long way from that perspective, from that place in my life. Now I create dolls as some sort of profession, of inner calling. I have acquired immense skills and devote a lot of thinking to the design process of each doll. I am in the midst of redefining the whole scenario for me and it feels daunting and scary and also very exciting.

Part of what I believe is a responsibility that comes with the title of dollmaker, is to never put something out there that doesn't meet my exact and strict requirements of quality. And those standards are getting so high and too strict for me. I have to calm down a little I know, but still. I think is good to allow myself the time to understand that I am now in a different place, and I should act differently as well. I know that dolls as a handmade item come with many quirks and imperfections, and I am not trying to make a perfect doll because I don't actually think there is one out there.


Another thing that comes with the dollmaker title, is that you have a thought process always going on. It's not just about creating the doll, is about what the doll is teaching you personally, and how you are overcoming the obstacles, what kind of person you are becoming by working on this craft and how you are making a political statement every time you choose to create a unique doll, that stands across and against mass-produced items and commercialism, but more importantly: how you are choosing to nurture imaginative play, in children young and old.


All these thoughts have always been there, but creating this doll, overcoming my knowledge and skill obstacles, and creating from a place of awareness, has taught me a lot about what kind of doll maker I wish to be. I am sad to say, and I know some of you will be sad as well, that this dollie of mine won't be up for sale. I refuse to treat her as a "second quality" doll, due to the flaws of her design or imperfections, because to me she is a one of a kind unique item, that has stemmed from three years of growth and knowledge. And because of that, and of the standards I now abide to, she won't be romping through the world. She will be with me, reminding me every day, that this is a path, and that I now have a standard of quality to attain every single time I create a doll. How stressful, but how liberating and exciting at the same time. I am scared to death, but I am happy knowing she stays with me. Being my muse.
Posted on November 25, 2011 and filed under design, dollmaking, figlette, process.