Ah! Going over what I have created and accomplished this year sure brings a big fat smile to my face. I am in awe of all that I have made, not because of its amount or looks, but because I am actually surprised that these dolls and these toys came out of my hands. How did it happen? which faerie came to help me out while I was sleeping at night? who made all those tiny feet and sewed those round thumbs? who embroidered those silly smiles? who cut all those fabrics, and turned them into dresses and tunics and skirts? who did crochet all those shoes and added all those buttons? who had to dream all of it come into being? Me.
A year is a very long period of time, although nowadays years just go by so quickly. Especially with young children around you have to catch your breath and try to pause as much as you can so you can see them really grow, so you can notice the differences happening from last month to this one, how they all of a sudden can reach a faucet or make themselves a sandwich without smudging the sides of the bread. All of these nuances of life happened exactly the same to me in my dollmaking. Looking over these pictures I can clearly remember the nights when I made those dolls, afternoons by the park when I knit those sweaters, camping trips when I embroidered pockets sitting on the beach, so many mornings sipping coffee while adding strands of hair. Each and every one of my dolls lives within me. In my memories. And I am so grateful for all that I was able to make and live this year. It has been epic.
These are my 16 custom dolls of the year. That was it. 16 dolls, each one with a very lovely person in mind. I know who they were all made for, I know exactly the names of their children and their parents, I remember all the words the mothers told me about their little ones, and their not so little ones. The emails back and forth, how the conversation developed, and how the dolls came to be. And even though those emails have long been deleted, I still have my notes, my sketches, my photos. It is such a wonderful thing, to be able to go back through the travelled road, through the moments in time. I think it fills me not only with satisfaction, but also with immense happiness. I feel so blessed because I have the opportunity to do what I do. How lucky.
Another thing that fills me with smiles is knowing that I am on the same road as so many others, and I know that other dollmakers feel the same way, and feel the same satisfaction and content. And that there are many children in the world, and many adults in it too, who are feeling the love that we put into their dolls, who are taking them to bed, or reading them a book, who drag dolls by the hand, and get them dirty, or dress them pretty, or pout at them when the day goes not so smoothly. Who cherish their dolls, who take photos of them, and find joy in the simple activity of dressing a doll, of hugging a doll, a simple pleasure.
For all these dolls, and all those mothers who requested them, and had patience with me while I took my time to see their dolls develop. Who trusted my hands, my judgement, my eyes. Who supported me not only by taking my dolls into their homes, but also by writing to me, by encouraging me with their words, with their jokes, by sharing with me snippets of their life and their struggles. To them, I wish I could tell you in person how much it has meant to me, this offer of kindness and all your words. Thank you.
On top of this 16 custom dolls I created, I also birthed what to me feels like a marathon of collection dolls. I can't even grasp the amount of dolls I made this year. I am one single woman, making everything for these dolls, I just can't believe it. I have never made these many dolls ever. Ever. It has a lot to do with the fact that now both my children are in school, and that I have a continuos period of time in the morning to do what I want to do. But also and very importantly, because I had so many other dollmakers around me who inspired me greatly and gave me the encouragement and advice needed to bring forth my dreams in full force. I am so thankful for their presence in my life, and I am so thankful that in this day and age we can all be inspired by the work of so many talented women, who create from within, who have a beautiful passion, and who share it with the world so unashamedly.
There has also been a lot of growing pains. Of frustration and sadness. Of realizing and coming to face with the ugliness of this world, with the pain that is out there and above all with its ignorance. But I firmly believe that the darkness in life is necessary, for without it you can't see the light. There needs to be a contrast, and I am so happy to be able to see now that I am on the side of the people who wish to bring creativity, life, positiveness, joy, playful abandon, nurturing and love to this world, instead of creating with my life or with my words a world that is darker, dirtier and sadder, for me or for others. I feel happy to know that I have chosen a path that creates light for others, and that imbues my own life with so much passion. That by doing what I do, my children are observing what it is to work at something that you clearly enjoy. And that I am here, just doing what I love to do.
I made a total of 124 dolls. There were fifteen small 4" dolls, four bunny babies, seven 8 inches tall dolls, twenty-two Little Fig dolls (12 inches tall), two little baby dolls for some friends, sixteen custom dolls (two were 12" tall and the rest were 16" tall), nine special-request dolls plus two more for my daughters (16" tall too), one big Figlette for my mother (18" tall) and forty-four 16" tall dolls within a collection or by themselves. 124 dolls total in all kind of sizes. Dear lord. That means that approximately I made ten dolls per month, which is not too much if some of those are really little or at least 12" in size. But that is a lot for one person to accomplish, especially considering that I only make dolls for a few hours a day, and that I make every single thing that goes on these beauties. Still, that is a lot.
And then I made her, number 124, my Eva. And my world feels upside down, pretty much like when you fall in love. You feel the earth beneath you shaking, you are unsure of where you are going to step next, but you just don't care. Because to be in the arms of your beloved is all that you can fathom. That is how I feel about this doll. I just don't care how it will come to happen, or how am I going to develop this year, or which roads I will take. Knowing that I have this doll in my hands now, who brings within me the most precious feelings, and that is inspiring me to go into such daring directions, I just smile and know that the best will come to be.
Contrary to popular belief, or to what most people seem to want to accomplish as a normal progression or what we perceive as "progress", I want to make LESS dolls. Yes!
I want to make less dolls, but more toys.
I want to make less dolls, and have more fun.
I want to make less dolls, and have more patterns and tutorials available to you.
I want to make less dolls, and sit outside knitting for my children and not for my dolls.
I want to make less dolls, but make them more special, more unique, with more clothes.
I want to make less dolls, and learn much more.
I want to make less dolls, so I can write more, and live more, and see more and read more.
I don't know if I am going to accomplish this, as I seem to not be able to stop making dolls. I can't stop dreaming new dolls, and thinking of what to make for them. But I do hope I can make less dolls. Less is more in my opinion. But I can't promise anything. Life is full of surprises and that IS the best part.
Happy New Year to you and yours! Thank you for all your support, for your words, and for coming here to visit. May the New Year brings us many challenges and many opportunities to keep growing, keep learning, and time to do those things that make us happy. This makes me happy.