a dollmaker's thoughts

28 Sep 2013


I have read blog posts before where dollmakers have set out exactly how long it takes to make one of these beautiful Waldorf inspired dolls.
It seems it is to help people understand why the dolls are so expensive.
I want to tell you that the time it takes to make a doll is one of the biggest gifts to the dollmaker.

The gift is being able to absorb yourself in what you are doing, the fact that there are so many steps in the creation of a doll, things that just have to be done and can't really be hurried, being forced to slow down your thoughts to the speed that your hands can work and not get ahead of yourself, it's a gift.
It's a meditation, the steps over time become so well known to your hands and your body, they know the dollmaking dance though the characteristics of the supplies may change and force your all knowing hands to adapt, the wool in particular, some more slippery, some more coarse reacting differently to your hands movements but the experience of the years carries you through.

Caela at dawn

The hand stitching, the connection, connecting one piece of fabric to another, helping to shape and sculpt but also the connection to every person who has ever held a needle and thread, all those women and men who have made toys and beautiful utilitarian things  to soften and warm lives, who have become lost in the rhythm and meditation of their work.
 I love that, I love that a simple tool enables me to become part of a shared history, part of the group who know the secret of needlework.

The time taken to create means you can get lost in the process, you can truly become part of what you make, you can live in it for a while, you become part of what your hands create.
This dollmaking that we do is a slow process, something to be savoured by both the dollmaker and those who acquire our work.
  Like a meal where each component has been thought about, selected, prepared and enjoyed, perhaps the vegetables have been picked from the garden, just for this meal, eggs have been collected from the hens, herbs picked just as they are needed, a slow meal to be enjoyed either with family, friends or alone, food that nourishes body and soul- that's slow food.
 These dolls we make are slow toys, each component selected to suit this doll, the enjoyment of choosing the best on offer and working with the raw materials that need only skill and time to bring out their simple magic, working through the steps that are needed to bring to life this doll that is to be simply enjoyed and loved and give hearts nourishment .
 Slow dolls, slow play, slow food, slow childhood, slow living... it's not so much about moving slowly as living mindfully, people, activities and objects that are given the time that is needed to become what  they become and can be appreciated and enjoyed along the way.


That there are so many people who recognise the wonder of these dolls is such a joy,
 that as dollmakers we are finally being seen as artists whose work is worthy of proper financial recompense is heartwarming,
that there are those who choose to act as patrons to encourage and support  new and old dollmakers is very special.

 For me to be in a position where the work of my heart and hands is desired by others and to be able to earn a living from my work is such a great and precious gift.

Thank you.

sitting on the piano

8 Responses to “a dollmaker's thoughts”

  1. What a beautiful post Jenny! I am in awe of your beautiful dolls and hope that "one day" I can have the funds to purchase one. You are a truly gifted artist. Your dolls make me smile and make my heart sing in this full-on world in which we live. Thank you for sharing your beautiful creations with us.
    Hugs Chris

  2. You have a wonderful gift in your doll making, to be able to immerse yourself totally in something that brings you joy.
    Cheers Kate

  3. I understand completely. The gift is in the process. I feel exactly the same way when making my knitted dolls. Thankyou for expressing this feeling so eloquently.

  4. The love and pride shows in your work, and it's incredibly exciting to see what comes next. Being a spectator to it all is pretty fun too <3

  5. I understand just what you are saying. I feel the same way about French Hand Sewing. The joy for me is in the time creating with the needle. And I applaud the slow movement. Love your little dollies!!

  6. What a wonderful gift! You bring so many smiles to others and that is a great necessity in todays world.

  7. Amen, Jenny! So very well said. I'm a dollmaker, too, though I haven't specifically made the Waldorf doll yet, and every single thing you said resonates with me. Your dolls are always lovely and I'm betting that it's because of the way you put yourself into them, as evidenced by this post. Thanks for sharing that beauty.

  8. What wonderful words to express the love of the art that you create! Thank you for sharing your thoughts about doll making. You have expressed what I could not.


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.