Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why Make Dolls?

Because I like to make people smile.

Covered in dolls
That sounds kind of pageant-y, but the real answer is not too far off.

My own childhood relationship with dolls was a little rocky.  When I was 6, in 1971, I took one of my dolls to school because all the other girls brought dolls to school.  One girl, seeing my doll, announced, "Yours is different."  She did not say it in a mean-spirited way, but I took it to be something bad and I never brought another doll to school.  My doll was brown, just like me.

My daughter, thankfully, has no such baggage and loves dolls, starting with Dolly, whose travails were the subject of this post.   She has dolls all over her room now.  When she was about five years old, she asked me if I could make her a doll.  Clearly, since I could make quilts and Halloween costumes, a doll was within my capabilities, according to five-year-old logic.

Unfortunately, when it came to doll-making, I had five-year-old skills at that time.  I had a hard time trying to make it all work on my own.  I did not have a mother or grandmother who made dolls for me that I still had as an adult.  It was slow going.  My daughter has all of my sorry first attempts, and she loved them as if they were perfect because her Mommy made them.

It took a couple of years, but I finally worked out a doll that I really liked.    They were brown, just like my sweet daughter.  I took some and a few quilts to sell at a Links Assembly in Detroit in 2010, after considerable prodding by family and friends.

I sold almost all of them, but the best part was the way the women smiled when they saw them.  They thought of their daughters or granddaughters.  They thought of their own fond doll memories.  They looked happy.  And that made me happy, too.  Ecstatic, really.

The dolls are now called Jacq's Girls, named for me (Jacqueline) and my grandfather, Jack, after whom I was named.  My grandfather spoke frequently and proudly about his girls (3 daughters, 6 granddaughters, and 2 great-granddaughters), and these dolls -- along with my own fantastic daughter -- are mine.  And they make me smile.
Jacq's Girls - Chyna

Jacq's Girls - Alyssa
Jacq's Girls - Sydney

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