Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Dolls in my life

Since the dawning of the universe, I think there were dolls.  Little companions that had slivers of human-like characteristics, but mostly magic.

Dolls have always embodied a quiet magic for me.   I had one special doll growing up, I called her Wendy Bagwell.  She has become tear-soaked with age and a very special treasure, representing my childhood. My Grandmother re stitched her all the time but after awhile, her skin became threadbare and she began to wither, her life force going into retirement a bit.   She went with me to collage and then to my first home.  She was quiet for years, I think she hoped that my children would love her as much as I do. But she is so fragile now, an icon for me though.

Though I had Wendy as a companion, I never dreamed that my life would revolve around dolls quite so much. I don't have many things from my childhood; they fell away like the shedding skin of a slithering snake.  I have only two relics of my early history in dolls left.
Soaked in time, steeped in my life, and smothered with love, these two dolls mean the world to me.  They loved me back and played with me for hours and hours. 

My Grandma was a collector in the traditional sense of the word. She was dirt poor growing up and didn't have dolls. So, subconsciously as an adult she accumulated, welcomed, and hoarded them.  I wasn't really impressed with her style of doll. She was more into the Franklin Heirloom variety. She did however, expose me to the magic of dolls and the tiny little personalities that are found within.

As a doll maker, depositing a certain amount of personality into a doll is so important. I want that sliver of  something special to connect fully with a memory or feeling deep inside whomever is viewing my work. I want them to connect so fully that they must bring my little lovie home with them. 

Each doll that I make  is also a part of my personal history. As I work on her, everything that makes up me as a person,  shapes the final outcome of my doll.

Dirty Wow Wow is not a rap song, it's the title of the wonderful book by Cheryl and Jeffery Katz.


 I stumbled upon this book a few years back and I love how it honors the threadbare loves of our childhoods! Picture after picture and story after story I became enamored. In love with the idea that  these little fellas that we loved so much as children provide solid markers of our childhood wonder. The wonder that we strive so hard as adults to reconnect with.

I look at my dolls as little love vessels. I filled them up as a child and I am reaping the benefits of their magic and the imagination that is held within.

Do you have a threadbare companion?