I have tons of pictures from New York to go through before I can talk about that trip, so today I'm going to introduce you to Hattie.
Hattie was commissioned as a birthday gift for the older sister of the two boys who now have Faolan and Colin. I was so honored that their mother was happy enough with the two boy dolls and appreciative enough of my work to order another doll from me.
That said, I had a really hard time with Hattie. This was the first doll with which I really struggled for inspiration. I think that mostly it was the timing -- creating her in the midst of making my own children's birthday gifts, some awful late-season colds, and preparing for my trip (which was an ordeal in itself because I thought there was a decent chance I would die in the airplane). Part of it was also that the mother of the recipient had something really specific in mind (she is totally nice -- it's not that she was being difficult or anything), and I wasn't sure how to work that vision into my established dollmaking "style". With all this going on, there was a moment that I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get her to her new family on time. She ended up coming along in my carry-on (messenger bag) on the plane to New York, and her hair and pinafore received their finishing touches in the air. She was quickly photographed in our hotel room, and then we rushed to a Manhattan post office to mail her off. Whew! That was a whirlwind, and a strange way to begin a vacation.
Ultimately, despite the rush, and my own anxieties about her, I think she is so lovely, sweet, and most of all, authentic. There are lots of Waldorf dollmakers out there who are making their dolls to look more modern, fashionable, updated, what-have-you. Some of those dolls are really exquisite. But I like my dolls to have an innocent, old-fashioned quality to them. I want them to be representatives of the archetype of childhood. Despite having sort of come into dollmaking by happenstance, I've discovered that I really do have a philosophy behind my dollmaking, beyond the general Waldorf philosophy regarding dolls (that they should be free from too many details so as to be a "blank slate" for the child's imagination and creative play).
So, I've discovered that I make my dolls with that very wholesome concept of childhood in mind. I believe that they could very well be at home with a child living centuries ago. They represent childhood in its purest form. And each of them is a treasure to me -- as I hope they will be to their new little mamas and daddies.