In my last post I was talking about the dolly attributes and extras that my daughter and I would have loved or did love in our own childhood dolls.
They were very practical things.
I didn't talk about what sets the dolls I create now apart from the dolls of my childhood.
They were a rag tag bunch my childhood dolls and though I dearly loved to play with them I can't say that I loved any of them with the same passion that I love the dolls I now create.
In my work now I am filling my dolls with all the love I have for that magical childhood time, I am filling them with the sweet memories I have of my own childhood and with the love I feel for the contented work of childhood.
But I also fill them with my love and passion for the work of my hands, my beloved dollmaking craft, my love of the materials that I use and the skill of my hands.
My dolls contain the stories reaching down through the ages of the hands, hearts and minds that create things that people can love and use.
Holding my dolls is so different from just seeing my dolls.
Those of you who have one in your home know this already.
They do so strongly inspire gentleness and playfulness.
When I used to do craft markets people watching was my main activity.
I got the biggest thrill from seeing the faces of the people who so obviously 'got it', their faces would soften and you could see memories or imaginings flash across their expressions.
When they held a doll they would melt a little and often start telling me about memories from their own childhood.
I think when a child is given a doll they immediately see a life with that doll, imagine what they will do together, it is love and acceptance and action of some kind and imagining and planning a game.
We as adults see that dolls teach our children to nurture and care and show love.
Children are right in there just doing all that stuff, learning life skills through play,
the work of childhood.
When an adult chooses a doll they are responding to the way the doll makes them feel, they recognise the feeling as love and perhaps the doll also conjures up memories of childhood, perhaps happy, perhaps sad.
Those of us who are doll people know that dolls have the ability to nurture that child hiding deep inside us, we know we have to recognise and care for that little person, to allow the playfulness and lightness of the child to shine in our lives.
As much as dolls teach children how to nurture and care and inspire gentleness, they allow adults to remember how to be gentle with themselves, to nurture their spirit and be more caring of their own fragile inner child.
Perhaps dolls remind us of the quality of unconditional love, perhaps they help us to love our essential selves a little better, to be kinder, to be a little more playful.
Who knew a simple hand made doll could do so much.