I made Ashlynn during the heat of the summer. Actually, I was making several little beings and Ashlynn spoke the loudest and said: “me, first! I promise I’ll be easy”. And, easy she was.
After she was in one piece, stuffed with her muscular skeletal system…, she came with me to my family’s cabin in the north woods. She is not the first doll to come along but her temperament fits right in with the ones who do.
There in the cabin she and I set up a cosey sewing nook in front of wonderful windows. Allowing us to make her clothing while looking at dear and pileated wood peckers and children hunting forest treasures while we worked.
Ashlynn did get to go out into the beauty of the forest – but only for a short controlled time. She made the time count tho and I was able to snap lots of gorgeous photos of her.
And just like that! she sized up her box – jumped in and was gone to the other side of the world. Fare thee well Ashlynn!
It is funny. Doll making doesn’t really need to have a seasonality, doesn’t need to be marked in years, but I strongly feel a yearly pattern to my doll making. Every January feels like a fresh start, a time to look forward, set goals, like an empty slate ready to mark exciting new beginnings. But this post is a look back upon last year’s seasons. Spring always brings optimism and new breezy fabrics,
Summer feels like a time to get things done and finish orders, but it rarely is, as its too tied up in variable kids’ activities and schedules of snacks and sunshine.
oh and I can’t forget summer doll Francis!
By fall, the pressure is really on! It marks the start of the busy season. Fall is crazy for me as the leader of a family packed with fall birthdays, the start of schools, and as a doll maker, the start of the busy season and the holiday rush.
Also, fall brings this craving for some of the yummiest textures of doll making, the layered wools, and knits and hats.
And then, the holidays are soon happening, and with them a lot of anxiety for the doll maker, the pressure to successfully close out another year of dolls, the pressure to try to get to as many custom order requests as possible, the pressure to list additional extra ready-to-go dolls as this is the time when demand really hits a frenzy. And this year?
well, I chose not to succumb to the pressure too much. I only made about 26 dolls in 2014. Just over 2 per month. I didn’t do inhuman amounts of doll work in December. And that is probably a good thing.
And now it is time to say goodbye to the very last doll of 2014. This is Juliette of the Cold Moon – the wolf moon – made in the dark quiet of late December, bridging into January.
She turned out to be one of my favorite dolls of 2014. She is very tiny; a very slender 12″. But, I’m very proud of her proportions.
To me, her proportions are perfect for her long face and narrow head. Often, when I’m critiquing my own work, it is the proportions of which I find myself most critical. Another thing I love about Juliette is her innocent childlike approach to the world. She is not too self aware. She is just a child. A child in a cold, dark house, but one full of wool socks, and burning fires, and glistening snow outside. She doesn’t know true cold because she is lucky to have her family providing her the warmth. The other seasons will come for her but right now she is living in the magic in the moment of the cold and dark.
As I look back at 2014 there are a few other dolls that standout as turning points. Merry was a huge accomplishment for me. And I almost didn’t make her! I felt pressure at the time to work on some wishlist custom projects and future ready-to-go dolls, and it really took a big push from two of my colleagues who encouraged me and believed in me to join the collaboration of which Merry was part and really let her shine.
She was the first doll of a new very large size and I felt proud of each part of her. Usually, there is some piece of each doll that I feel unsure about. Is her hair too thin? Is she stuffed too firm? Will people understand her expression?, Are her clothes singular and special enough? But Merry seemed to make herself. I’m not sure if it was her story and fate that helped her along or if it was just the coincidence of being the right doll, at the right time – but There was Merry.
Another doll I’ll always think of as being very special was a custom doll I made named Eowyn. She had two very different roles, that of fearless warier, and that of fine medieval lady. Her silk fighting costume and elegant silk dress were both memorable and very different from my past designs.
I love them all and I can’t wait to start meeting the class of 2015. There really should be another post about 2015 Inviting Play plans. We shall see. Thank you for supporting me, loving my work, and pushing me to get better, and allowing me to be me.
She is made from my biggest pattern and is about 19″. She has long camel wefts dyed dishwater blonde and brown eyes. She is a quiet thinker and is anticipating her trip and new life with excitement and trepidation (of course). She wanted to get her ears pierced – but I said she wasn’t old enough so we put in her hair some colorful beads (African trading beads) instead. I love her knobby little knees. They look so cute when she’s roller skating.