I love working with natural materials, there is a warmth to them and I know them well, I know their characteristics from a life time of using them.
When I was in grade 7, my first year of high school, we did home arts and crafts, basically sewing and cooking.
Part of sewing was learning how to look after different fabrics and weaves, how to launder them and tell one from the other.
I learned early on that the fabrics I most liked working with were also the ones I like to wear; cotton, linen and wool.
In the end I did sewing every year at high school, I dropped cooking after second year.
I loved my sewing classes especially as the years went on and the people who didn't really want to be there dropped out of the class.
It was always relaxing, often challenging and so much fun, making things to wear at school, like a holiday really.
Now when I make my dolls I use natural materials.
The wool stuffing is one of the defining elements that people think of when they see a Waldorf or Steiner doll.
The stuffing needs to be clean and soft but not too slippery so that it will hold onto the other wool fibres around it and not bunch up.
Crossbred wools such as Corriedale tend to suit this purpose best, merino is too slippery.
It really is a treat to be able to use such a lovely natural product.
Unfortunately getting hold of organically produced wool fleece is more difficult though if any of you know of a source please let me know.
I have large bags of stuffing waiting to be used, some suitable for dolly heads, some for bodies.
The stuffing gives a wonderful weight and warmth to the doll.
It takes on the scent of the child as they cuddle and snuggle and the smell of the doll becomes a comfort to the child.
Working with wool stuffing makes dollmaking such a joy, just as the child responds to the warmth of the wool so does the dollmaker and over time you get to know just how the wool will act as you create the doll, especially the doll's head.
I was clever at school, I did well over a range of subjects and so university and studying towards something that would use my brains and help people was my goal, physiotherapy was where I ended up though in my heart I always wanted to study history, just love the social history of any age but especially the 19th and 20th centuries.
I also wanted to be some kind of artist but I kept that hidden away deep inside, I was one of the clever girls and I felt I was not a natural artist as in good at painting or drawing, I never knew that visual arts could encompass many things, maybe even dollmaking.
I have read that if you don't know what you want to do with your life then think back to what you were truly passionate about when you were around 12, when you knew a thing or two about the world but were wildly idealistic, before you became too obsessed with the obsessions of teenagers and worrying too much about what others would think of you and could lose yourself in your hobbies and dreams.
I loved sewing, knitting, my dolls and their clothes and having fashion parades, history, music, swimming and dreaming as I swam lap after lap, reading, walking for miles and miles.
Twelve year old me was very wise.