Thursday, December 17, 2009


When I was a ten-year-old, I thought I would be a
Doll Maker, when I grew up. I remember checking out the book, Dolls to Make, for Fun and Profit, by Edith Flack Ackley. I checked out every make-it type book I could find!

About that time, my family visited my dad's cousin who lived in a remote corner of Texas. Leada, my dad's cousin, was married to Ward, a real cowboy. They lived in an adobe house at the end of a dirt and rock road over an hour's drive from the nearest paved road. Their children were grown so she spent her time making dolls and collecting arrowheads. (I was disappointed that I was not allowed to ride horses; the cowboys rode mules because of the rough terrain, and drove jeeps and trucks.)

I made lots of dolls and doll clothing as a child but only two, that I made as a teen, have survived (other than a few paper dolls that my mother saved.) My childhood technique was less than adequate. I made big stitches and used fabric that frayed too easily. My mom provided lots of drawing and painting supplies and inspiration. She taught me how to sew clothing but I probably didn't request help with dolls or at least I didn't accept it.

As a "serious art student" in the 1970, I would not admit my love of dolls or the vintage inspired books written for little girls and for those like me now who are still little girls at heart. Now, not so self-conscious, at least not toward the Art World, I am indulging in my doll and costume passion.
Yesterday, I ran across an my old pattern for a Holly Hobbie doll. I had never used the pattern because it makes a larger doll than I have wanted to make. Also, I have preferred to make my own patterns. I kept it all these years and may make it yet. The pattern uses a child's sock for the needle sculpted head which I am more interested in now than I was then. Having researched the cloth dolls being made these days and especially loving the cloth and clay dolls I have seen, I am now taking a more humble approach and want to learn from other doll makers and even, gasp, use a pattern!

4 comments:

a painter said...

Molly, I made that Holly Hobby for my daughter in 1974 and still have the pattern. I think she still has the doll. The head was made out of a sock and the doll was bit of disappointment to me at the time becuase I envisioned a small doll. It is bigger than I like to make, too.

I love your little Hitty. I have carved several and collected some, too. I have also made it from cloth. Hitty is 6 1/4 inches tall. You could make a cloth one--you are such a wonderful painter, I know it would be great!

One of the premier art doll makers, Pam Hastings, started making and selling EFA dolls in the 60's, I bought some of her dolls from that era when she moved out to WA a few years ago. She has evolved and written many books including one on art paper dolls.

FYI, there was maker of EFA dolls who worked in felt. Her name was Ruth Geiser and I have one of her dolls. The felt is wool--and the dolls pilled, of course. Try a blended wool that is part synthetic.

Have fun as you explore making dolls. I am ready to make some myself after the holidays!

Atticbabys said...

Hello Molly! I dropped by to thank you for your sweet words on my blog and am so happy to see you are rediscovering your doll making skills! Those dolls pictured are adorable and I especially like the Hitty! What an incredible job! Keep us posted!
Smiles,
Nan

Dixie Sargent Redmond said...

Molly Jean - I smiled at the "serious art student" line. I have had the same experience, as I went to art school with the intentions of being a "serious painter". And actually I am. But I also enjoy just making stuff - and folk art is a real joy for me. :-)

I love the little dolls you are making. There's something wonderful about making a small doll.

Dixie

Jackie said...

Hi Molly Jean. How lovely to hear from you on my blog. I can't reply directly but I'm glad I came here to see the pattern i had too. I made many Hollie Hobby dolls in the early seventies and was delighted with the pattern. I stuffed it firmly and mine had boots instead of shoes. I wonder what I did with the pattern?