Sunday, March 01, 2015

The History Of Faceless Dolls - Updated February 2015 - Part XIIII - Muslim Dolls


In 2009 after I published an update for my History of Faceless Dolls article I received an email from a mother who told me, "Muslims also have a tradition of faceless dolls."  I didn't know that and thanked her for telling me as well as telling her I would include this in my next update.

She directed me to several websites selling faceless cloth dolls for Muslim children.  They were as follows:

Aisha Dolls
The Islamic Establishment

From what I understand Islam forbids the depiction of facial features of any kind, including those on dolls.

The faceless cloth doll shown in the picture to the left is from The Islamic Establishment website.

Besides the faceless cloth dolls they also sells faceless knit bears.

The Aisha Dolls by Umm ‘AbdirRahmaan website sells two categories of faceless dolls;  Dolls 0+ for babies and children up to 3 and Dolls 3+ for children over 3 years of age.

The description for the Category 3+  dolls is as follows: Time for Play - Cater for Islamic Values 

Once the children grow they want more challenging toys. The ragdolls from Aisha Dolls all have removable clothes and woolen hair which invite the child to imaginative play. All dolls are faceless.

The faceless boy and girl dolls, Friends Asiyah and Bilal, shown in the picture to the right, are from the Dolls 3+ category of the Aisha Dolls website.

The description for the Category 0+ dolls is as follows:

Since babies always want to put everything in their mouth all our age 0+ dolls from Aisha Dolls webshop are made from 100% natural cotton. With Islamic clothing Aisha dolls 0+ cater for Islamic values from an early age. All 0+ dolls are faceless.

The faceless baby doll, shown in the picture to the left, is from the Dolls 0+ category of the Aisha Dolls website.  It's called "Nuh Soft Rag Doll" and it's description is as follows:

Nuh is one of the latest models from Aisha Dolls. Nuh has a soft padded body with soft unremovable clothes, which makes him ideal even for small children. Without facial expressions Nuh will be the constant companion whether the child is happy or sad.

According to the "Sunnah Style Dolls (and their makers) featured in SISTERS Magazine" post on Brooke Benoit's "A Cliched Life" blog, which appeared in the November 2014 issue of Sisters Magazine, "When Umm ‘AbdirRahmaan couldn’t find any faceless, sunnah-style dolls on the market for her own children, she made some.   Umm ‘AbdirRahmaan stated, “In the beginning I mostly had my own children in mind and their upbringing. After realising the need for this toy in the Muslim community, the idea expanded and I wanted to assist every Muslim family that wishes to uphold Islamic values in their home, creating toys that can support them in their upbringing of their children." 

According to their website, when asked to describe their dolls here is what they said, "Aisha Dolls was the first of its kind on the market. Aisha Dolls are faceless, wearing modest/Islamic clothing, soft to cuddle and play friendly. Aisha Dolls cater for Islamic values, and are made with quality and imaginative play in mind, all very important aspects of every Muslim child’s life and upbringing. Aisha Dolls also offer multicultural dolls with different skin colours, reflecting our Muslim community."

Also, according to their website, when asked what inspired them to make faceless dolls here is what they said,  "The name of Aisha Dolls says it all. I was inspired by the hadith describing how Aisha (may Allaah be pleased with her) used to play with dolls which had no facial features in the presence of the Prophet (Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa salam). Having children of my own, I noticed that there was no company offering faceless dolls specifically for the Muslims. To begin with I made dolls for my own children, thereafter I saw other Muslim families’ need for this toy. I decided to create my own models and the idea for Aisha Dolls was born, the first company offering dolls of this kind to the Muslim community."

I also found a Facebook page by Mahasin Abdullah called "Rainbow Babies Dolls - Made by Mahasin A."  that sells the handmade cloth dolls and crocheted dudes, shown in the picture to the right, online and at fairs.

According to the "Sunnah Style Dolls (and their makers) featured in SISTERS Magazine" post on Brooke Benoit's "A Cliched Life" blog, which appeared in the November 2014 issue of Sisters Magazine, "While Mahasin observes the sunnah of leaving off facial features, her dolls are especially beautiful, made personalised in a rainbow of buyers’ favourite colours and wearing unique handmade clothes. "

Stay tuned for The History Of Faceless Dolls - Updated February 2015 - Part XV -  Yarn Dolls


The History Of Faceless Dolls - Updated February 2015 - Part XIII - Waldorfs


The last few decades have seen an increase in the popularity of Waldorf Dolls and all sorts of spin-offs of dolls similar in style.

According to Wikipedia.com, "A Waldorf doll (also called Steiner doll) is a form of doll used in Waldorf education. Made of wool and cotton, using techniques drawing on traditional European doll making, its appearance is intentionally simple in order to allow the child playing with it to improve or strengthen imagination and creativity. For instance, it has no facial expression. Its legs and arms are flexible, allowing natural postures."

The traditional Waldorf dolls are eco-friendly in that they are made of cotton interlocks knit fabric, stuffed with wool, with  hair of mohair or some other natural product. Some of the dolls are faceless, some very nearly faceless with just the sculpted outline of a face (i.e. eye indents and noses) or suggestions of a face.  Some have minimal features - like dots for eyes, and some have eyes, nose, and mouths.  In the latter, however, the dolls still have very simple facial expressions.

Waldorf dolls have minimal faces or are faceless in order to stimulate a child's imagination.  Children and babies, in particular, mimic the world around them.  If the doll is faceless or has just two simple eyes, or just the impression of a nose and mouth the child is able to imagine the emotion they want to assign to the doll.  If they're sad, they will imagine the doll with a sad face.  If  they're happy, they will imagine the doll with a happy face.

In 1919 the 1st Waldorf school, based on the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, was created in Stuttgart, Germany.  Rudolf Steiner was a big advocate of artistic expression and the use of a child's imagination.  Waldorf dolls are used in the education in the schools and homes of children all over the world.

The Knecht Ruprecht blog has a Waldorf Silk Cuddle Doll tutorial for making the precious faceless silk cuddle doll shown in the picture to the right.

According to the blog, "The Silk Snuggle Doll is probably the most simple but yet one of the most enchanting dolls I know. It can be made for or together with a baby or a small child coming alive though nurturing gestures stimulating creativity by drawing on the child’s imagination."

"This kind of Cloth Dolls has also been used since generation to calm and comfort young babies. If a Mama keeps this doll with her a little while the silk is absorbing familiar fragrances and comforting a baby wherever it is."

On the Best Years website you can see pictures of the most adorable knitted faceless Waldorf style Pebble Pixies like those shown in the picture to the left.

The dolls are crocheted out of cotton, machine washable, and suitable from birth.

If you would like to see more of the Pebble Pixies please click here.

Jean Van't Hul of the Artful Parent blog posted a  Eco Cloth Dolls By Dolly  Mama Eugene article about the eco-friendly dolls, shown in the picture to the right, that she purchased from Reba of Dolly Mama Eugene who sells her faceless dolls on Etsy.

According to Jean, "Simple cloth dolls are a rarity in this day of big box stores and the seeming competition.......But simple childhood dolls that are huggable and soft? Dolls that leave something up to the imagination of the child? That can adapt to any pretend play situation the child comes up with? Those dolls are harder to find."

"Luckily for us, there are still those who make simple cloth dolls for children. Reba of Dolly Mama Eugene is one of those people who lovingly handcrafts the kinds of dolls we want our children to have."

If you would like to see her Eco Cloth Dolls By Dolly  Mama Eugene article  please click here.

The most adorable faceless Waldorf style baby dolls with just a hint of a nose, as shown in the picture to the left, can be seen on the Adirondack Patterns buy handmade dolls section of the Adirondack Patterns Etsy Shop.

There are a lot of tutorials and patterns on the web showing you how to make your own faceless Waldorf style doll or nearly faceless Waldorf style dolls.

One of the cutest How To Make A Steiner Doll tutorials is on the Soozs blog and it shown you how to make the adorable baby Waldorf style dolls shown in the picture to the right.

According to Sooz, "Before we start, these dolls are easy peasy lemon squeezy and should take a couple of hours at absolute most.......Steiner dolls are traditionally faceless, though you can add a little stitch on either side of the face to imply eyes."

If you would like to see and read the How To Make A Steiner Doll tutorial please click here.  

The following are some links to tutorials for making various parts of a Waldorf Doll:

Making a Waldorf Doll by toureasy47201 on Flickr  is here. 

Wig Making for Waldorf Doll (or any doll!) by toureasy47201 on Flickr is here.

Waldorf Doll Hair Tutorial On The Crafty Sheep Blog is here.

A Doll For Every Child By Katja Magus on The Living Crafts blog is here.

Head Making Tutorial by Barrie Hamby on Moonchilds Dolls blog is here. 

Making The Nose Tutorial on Weir Crafts is here.

Mini Baby Mannequin Pattern by Laurie S. Wagner on Dollmaker's Journey is here.

Waldorf-Style Doll: Part 1 Forming the Head on The Silver Penny is here.

Waldorf-Style Doll: Part 2 Sewing & Stuffing the Body on The Silver Penny is here. 

Stay tuned for The History Of Faceless Dolls - Updated February 2015 - Part XIIII -  Muslim Dolls

I'm Proud To Be Gray! New Products and Beautiful New Design


The "Grays" were so happy when Celia joined them.  She was just so full of life that any time spent with her was delightful so they were more than happy to create a special design and product line just for her.

Their adorable new "I'm Proud To be Gray!" design and new products are for senior citizens, grandma's and grandpa's and are intended for use as gifts and accessories for seniors birthdays, retirement parties, and other special occasions.  They have products for home decor, special occasions, home office supplies, clothing, accessories, fun and entertainment, and so much more.

They hope you like their new "I'm Proud To be Gray!" design and products. If you would like to see them please click here or here for the Gray Is Beautiful blog post.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

The History Of Faceless Dolls - Updated February 2015 - Part XII - Fairies, Gnomes, Elves, Wee Folk, Bendy's, Pixies, and Trolls


Children just love fairies, gnomes, elves, pixies, wee folk, bendy's, pixies, trolls, etc. which is why their popularity has soared in the few last decades. They also love creating fairy gardens of their own, some simple and some very elaborate.

Their popularity is so great you can find thousands of examples of faceless fairies and fairies with faces on the web along with thousands of tutorials for making them out of just about any medium available.  Some of the dolls are simple, while others are actually art forms.

Fairies, themselves, have been around in the folklore for thousands of years. According to Wikipedia.com , "Wings, while common in Victorian and later artwork of fairies, are very rare in the folklore; even very small fairies flew with magic, sometimes flying on ragwort stems or the backs of birds.[ Nowadays, fairies are often depicted with ordinary insect wings or butterfly wings. "  

Most fairies have faces, but in the last few decades their has been an increase in the handmade and home schooling community for "faceless" and eco-friendly fairies. As a result there are a lot of tutorials out there showing how to make them. Here's a few I found:

One of the most popular types of fairies to make are the "Waldorf style gnomes"  which are basically faceless or with very limited facial features.


On the Wee Folk Art website there is a Felt Gnome tutorial by Kimara showing how to make a felt gnome, like those shown in the picture to the left, out of a wooden peg and wool felt.  The felt gnome is faceless.

According to Kimara they made these as traditional Waldorf style faceless gnomes.

If you would like to see and read the Felt Gnome tutorial please click here.

Wee Folk Art  also has a Flower Fairy tutorial by Kimara showing how to make a flower fairy, like the one in the picture to the right,  out of a wooden peg and wool felt.  The flower fairy is faceless.

If you would like to see and read the Flower Fairy  tutorial please click here.

The Wee Folk Art website also has a Basic Knit Doll In 6 Sizes tutorial for making a faceless knit doll here and  A Whimsy of Knit Gnomes tutorial for making a faceless knit gnome here.

The Duckyknits and Makes Stuff blog has a How to Make Fairy Dolls tutorial by Kersten showing how to make the faceless fairy doll in the picture to the left out of pipe cleaners, embroidery floss, wool felt, and a wooden bead.  The doll is faceless.

According to Kersten, "I like these dolls with clear faces as children can imagine them having any emotion  or expression they can dream up."

If you would like to read the How to Make Fairy Dolls tutorial please click here.

There is a cute tutorial by Amber Greene on the Happy Crafty Family website showing how to make a faceless fairy doll out of pipe cleaners, yarn, wool, felt and a wood bead.  To read this tutorial please click here. 

I love craft videos and was happy to find a Poinsettia Fairy Doll Tutorial by Emilie Lefler video on YouTube showing how to make the most adorable faceless poinsettia fairy dolls like the ones shown in the picture to the right.

If you would like to view the Poinsettia Fairy Doll Tutorial video please click here.

She also has a How To Make A Flower Fairy Doll video tutorial on YouTube showing how to make faceless flower fairy dolls here and a DIY Angel Fairy Doll video tutorial showing how to make a faceless angel fairy doll here.  Her Sunflower Fairy Doll video tutorial is here  and her Snow Fairy Doll video tutorial is here.  Both are also faceless and both are absolutely adorable.

In doing my research on faceless fairies I came across a wonderful Magic Wool Fairies Paperback book by Christine Schafer showing how to make the beautiful faceless magic wool fairies shown in the picture on the left.

According to the books description the faceless fairies are made using sheep's wool roving, pipe cleaners, wooden beads, scissors, glue, felt-tip pens, needle, and thread.

If you would like to see more of this book please click here.

On the Rhythm & Rhyme blog I came across an adorable peg dolls tutorial showing how to make the adorable faceless dolls, shown in the picture to the right, out of wood doll pegs, roving, and wool felt.

If you would like to see and read that tutorial please click here.

The Juise blog also has a Bendy Doll Faerie Family tutorial for making an adorable bendy fairy family tutorial.  The tutorial shows how to make the boy and girl fairies, shown in the picture to the left, using pipe cleaners, embroidery floss, wood beads and wool felt.

If you would like to see and read the Bendy Doll Faerie Family  tutorial please click here.

The Plain and Joyful Living at Natural Earth Farm blog has a wonderful  knitting how-to for making the cutest faceless knitted gnomes shown in the picture to the right.

If you love to knit and love adorable gnomes you might want to check out the post on the The Plain and Joyful Living at Natural Earth Farm  blog.  Click here for the post.

Fairies, gnomes, elves, pixies, wee folk, bendy's. spirits, trolls, etc can be made pout of so many things.

The Playful Learning website has an adorable tutorial showing you how to make the faceless DIY Autumn Peg Gnome, shown in the picture to the left, using a wood peg, embroidery floss, and wool felt.

If you would like to see and read the DIY Autumn Peg Gnome  tutorial please click here.

The Magic Onion blog also has a Make Autumn Gnomes tutorial for the faceless gnomes shown in the picture to the right.

The faceless gnomes are made using wood pegs, wool felt and  needle felted acorns.

If you would like to see and read the Make Autumn Gnomes  tutorial please click here.

Faceless gnomes can also be made out of natural materials, like pine cones and leaves.

The Magic Onion blog also has an adorable Lets Make An Autumn Fairy From Natural Materials tutorial showing how to make the pine cone fairy, shown in the picture to the left, out of pine cones, acorn caps, autumn leaves, roving and a white felt ball.

If you would like to see and read the Lets Make An Autumn Fairy From Natural Materials tutorial please click here.

They also have a Cute Autumn Gnome tutorial showing how to make a pair of gnomes out of a wood peg, acorn cap, roving, wool felt, and a button. It's totally adorable and can be seen here.


There is a totally adorable Flower Girl Bendy Dolls tutorial on the Something Lubely blog showing how to make the flower girls shown in the picture to the right.

They are made using a bendy doll kit, silk floral with wire removed, wool felt, roving, and embroidery floss.

If you would like to see and read the Flower Girl Bendy Dolls tutorial please click here.

The Wee Folk Art website also has a charming Flower Fairies and Buds tutorial for making the adorable flower fairies shown in the picture to the left.

They are made using wooden doll pegs, wool felt and embroidery floss.

If you like to see and read the Flower Fairies and Buds tutorial please click here.

I also ran across a charming More Magic Wool - Creating Figures and Pictures With Dyed Wool book by Angelika Wolk-Gerche.

The books teaches how to create faceless pipe cleaner dolls, faceless shelf sitter types of fairies, faceless nature dolls, faceless flying sylphs & sylph mobile, and faceless gnomes from wool roving.

Instructions are provided for making a basic roving doll body which is embellished for the type of faceless doll you are making.  The sylphs are made the same as the rainbow fairies.

Instructions are provided for making the faceless people (male & female - adults & children) using 3 pipe cleaners.   Instructions are also provided for making faceless shelf sitter types of mother dolls holding their swaddled baby, rabbits, or small sheep.  Instructions are also provided for making the faceless red-capped or flower gnomes.

The faceless seasonal fairies are much more embellished and include the Spring Fairy, Summer Fairy, Autumn Fairy, and Winter Fairy.   The faceless Spring Fairy, shown in the picture to the left, is basically made the same as the faceless shelf sitter type of mother dolls holding their swaddled baby only she is holding a horn of plenty filled with flowers.

While the book has instructions for sheep's wool roving I would assume any type of roving could be used for making these dolls as well.

Stay tuned for The History Of Faceless Dolls - Updated February 2015 - Part XIII -  Waldorfs.

Friday, February 27, 2015

New Gray Is Beautiful - Words Retirement Party Design and Products


The "Grays" really do believe that aging is beautiful and gray hair is not only beautiful, but something to be proud of. So, they thought that a graphic with all the phrases they've developed for their  "Gray Is Beautiful" Gallery would be perfect on their new products.

Their adorable new "Gray Is Beautiful - Words" design and new products are for senior citizens, grandma's and grandpa's and are intended for use as gifts and accessories for seniors birthdays, retirement parties, and other special occasions.  They have products for home decor, special occasions, home office supplies, clothing, accessories, fun and entertainment, and so much more.

They hope you like their new "Gray Is Beautiful - Words" design and products.

If you would like to see the new Gray Is beautiful - Words products and design please click here or here for the Gray Is Beautiful blog post.

Gray Is Beautiful - Hats New Products and An Adorable New Design


The "Grays" love to dress up - especially if they have a beautiful gray hat.  So, they thought what would be better than an adorable new hat graphic.

Their adorable new "Gray Is Beautiful - Hats" design and new products are for senior citizens, grandma's and grandpa's and are intended for use as gifts and accessories for seniors birthdays, retirement parties, and other special occasions.  They have products for home decor, special occasions, home office supplies, clothing, accessories, fun and entertainment, and so much more.

They hope you like their new "Gray Is Beautiful - Hats" design and products.

If ou would like to see all the new products in the Gray Is Beautiful - Hats gallery please click here or here for the Gray Is Beautiful blog post.

The History Of Faceless Dolls - Updated February 2015 - Part XI - Worry Dolls and Toothpick Dolls

Worry dolls originated in Guatemala and are said to take your worries away.  They may have very crude drawn dots for eyes or faces, or they may be entirely faceless.  Either way they are said to help calm the fears of children.

According to The Information Please Girls' Almanac By Alice Siegel - Page 148, "Worry Dolls - These are tiny dolls from Guatemala. You tell one worry to each doll, place the dolls you've told your worries to under your pillow, and by the morning they've taken your troubles away."

If you would like to see or read more of this article please click here.

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts created a wonderful Folk Art Dolls .PDF tutorial. The .PDF includes an introduction into "Doll Making As A Folk Art Tradition" and tutorials on making 4 different types of Folk Art dolls.

According to the tutorial, "According to folklore, the doll will worry in the person's place, letting the child sleep peacefully.  The child will wake up without their worries, which will have been taken away by the dolls overnight.  The dolls come in sets of six and the Guatemalan tradition is to use one of the six worry dolls each night.  After six nights the worry is gone. The dolls are usually 1/2" to 2" tall and handmade using wood or wire as a frame and cotton fabric or thread for clothing."

Included in this tutorial is a section on Page 14 & 15 on How-To Guatemalan Worry Dolls, like the doll in the picture to the right.

If you would like to see and read the Folk Art Dolls tutorial please click here.

According to the University of Minnesota article on The Legend of the Worry Dolls by Sara McDonnell, "The indigenous people from the Highlands in Guatemala created Worry Dolls many generations ago as a remedy for worrying. According to the Mayan legend, when worrying keeps a person awake, he or she tells a worry to as many dolls as necessary. Then the worrier places the dolls under his or her pillow. The dolls take over the worrying for the person who then sleeps peacefully through the night. When morning breaks, the person awakens without the worries that the dolls took away during the night."

If you would like to read that article please click here.

If you would like to make a worry doll of your own there are many websites showing how using wire, tie twists, clothespins, popsicle sticks, toothpicks, pipe cleaners, etc.

There is a How to Craft a Worry Doll tutorial by Dale Cook on the Snapguide.com website  showing how to make the faceless worry dolls, shown in the picture to the right.

If you would like to read this How to Craft a Worry Doll tutorial please click here.

The Crafty Teacher - Crafty Ideas for Pre-K-12 Art Projects, Recycling, and Educational Demonstrations blog has a wonderful Make Your Own Worry Dolls or Toothpick People tutorial showing how to make the faceless worry dolls, shown in the picture to the left, from toothpicks.

If you would like to read the Make Your Own Worry Dolls or Toothpick People tutorial please click here.  

Worry dolls have become extremely popular in the last few years and have definitely come into the 21st century as Neopets.com even ran a worry doll contest. The rules were as follows:

Your challenge for this week is to create worry dolls. These should be of a favourite character on Neopets.com. Please tell us what you used to make your doll and also what character your doll is of in the description. We're judging the dolls on beauty, cleverness, and overall awesomeness.

Some of the worry dolls submitted had faces, some did not. If you would like to see pictures of all the participants and the winners please click here.


The University of Wisconsin Extension program generated a terrific 4-H Afterschool International Program - It's A Small World Guatemala activity plan tutorial showing you how to make both faceless worry dolls, like those shown in the picture to the right, and worry dolls with faces.

If you would like to read the It's A Small World Guatemala tutorial please click here.

Heidi Boyd has a tutorial on her Crafty Inspiration blog showing how to make a faceless worry doll from pipe cleaners.  If you would like to see this tutorial please click here.

Angela Michelle Rousseau makes the most incredible faceless 2 1/2" toothpick dolls which are all art forms unto themselves. In her skilled hands she turns her toothpick dolls into beautiful and elaborate art doll creations.

She created a 6-part tutorial on her Angela Michelle Dolls - The Elegant Toothpick blog showing how to make the beautiful faceless toothpick doll shown in the picture to the left.

If you would like to see and read her 6-part tutorials please click on the links below:

Toothpick Doll Tutorial #1: Supplies & Bodies

Toothpick Doll Tutorial #2: A Dress & Some Arms

Toothpick Doll Tutorial #3: A Shoulder to Lean On 

Toothpick Doll Tutorial #4: Finally a Head! 

Toothpick Doll Tutorial #5: Toothpick Salon 

Toothpick Doll Tutorial #6: Finishing Touches 

The faceless toothpick doll shown in the picture above and to the right is Emeline, Lady de Couer-dents (Lady of Toothpicks).

The faceless toothpick doll shown in the picture to the left is Rapunzel.

Here's what Angela posted in her blog as to her Rapunzel toothpick doll, shown in the picture to the left, "I am a doll maker. You can make dolls out of all sorts of things - clay, cloth & porcelain are the usual suspects. I use toothpicks. Look closely at Rapunzel here. Imagine the head stripped down to a single toothpick. Under the dress are two spindly little toothpick legs (thank goodness for floor-length skirts). Each arm is two pieces of toothpick, attached to look bent at the elbow. Everything added to the toothpick skeleton: the head, the body structure, the gown, the hair, the flowers, is all embroidery floss, or thread. Yes, I'm nuts; yes, I love it."

Not only does Angela make faceless dolls out of toothpicks, but she decided to challenge herself even further by making tiny faceless "Penny People" like the doll shown in the picture to the right out of string and tiny wires in the arms.

I think Angela's doll are just amazing and hope you would agree.

If you would like to see more of her dolls please visit her Angela Michelle Dolls - The Elegant Toothpick blog here or her Angela Rosseau - Angela Michelle Dolls Flickr account here.

Stay tuned for The History Of Faceless Dolls - Updated February 2015 - Part XII -  Fairies, Gnomes, Elves, Wee Folk, Bendy's, Pixies, and Trolls.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The History Of Faceless Dolls - Updated February 2015 - Part X - Twig, Pine Cone, Willow and Nature Craft Dolls


Dolls can be made out of just about anything, like twigs, reeds, pine cones, rocks, etc. When supplies and funds are limited parents and children will use their imagination to create playthings out of just about anything that is available. Even pine needles.

According to the Nature Dolls chapter of The Complete Photo Guide To Doll Making book by Nancy Hoerner, Barbara Matthiessen, and Rick Petersen - Page 55, "Probably the most primitive dolls were made of twigs and a scrap of fabric or whatever was around."

The picture to the left is a twig doll from the Anatomy Of A Doll: The Fabric Sculptor's Handbook By Susanna Oroyan.  In the discussion under elemental forms we learn the following, "Almost every society and culture has a history of using elemental materials - commonly stone, wood, clay, wax, hide, or bone, depending on the location - to make dolls.....None of these forms require instructions or patterns because they are usually created by assembling an assortment of materials, moving them around, noting the suggested form, and combining the materials to accentuate the form."

"It is interesting to theorize which came first - the form or the idea for the form. Did the shape of the twig suggest the figure or a person, or did the maker decide on the person figure, pick up a handy twig, and make it?"

If you would to see or read more of this discussion please click here.

According to The Information Please Girls' Almanac By Alice Siegel - Page 146 and 147, "Most Pioneer dolls were small, between 3 and 10 inches high. A typical doll had a twig or pine cone body.  A child doll had a chestnut head; an adult doll had a hickory head. Acorns, pecans, and walnuts were also used to make these dolls. They were made by women and children who traveled to and settled in the wilderness that became the United States, before there were stores that sold dolls."

If you would like to see or read more of this article please click here.

In the Missouri School Journal, Volume 37 From 1920 under the dolls category we learn about twig dolls.  Here is what they had to say, "Twig dolls are grotesque.  Take a twig which can be trimmed so as to leave two brances for arms and two for legs.  The irregular shapes will suggest the type of costume, i.e. - an old man, a clown, a jolly fat boy, etc.  Cut head, hands and feet from paper making each double.  Glue together on the appropriate ends of the twig.  Make the clothes from either cloth or paper."

If you would like to see or read more of this article please click here.

On the Craftside Blog there is a blog post with the picture shown to the right of a faceless twig doll and a tutorial showing how to make one. The blog post is entitled, This tutorial on how to make a twig doll is from the new book The Complete Photo Guide to Doll Making and it is a review of The Complete Photo Guide to Doll Making book By Barbara Matthiessen, Nancy Hoerner, and Rick Petersen.

On the page is the following summary, "With hairs of roots and arms of twigs, this doll is simple enough for a child to make.  Transforming such crude materials into a plaything or art object hints at the many other wonders nature inspires.  You'll never look at twigs the same again."

If you would like to read her post please click here.  If you would like to preview this book please click here.

I found a lot of blog posts on nature crafts and one in particular describing how to make the twig dolls shown in the picture to the left. It is on the Dirt Don't Hurt blog by Karrie McAllister in a post entitled, "Twig Dolls."

Here's what Karrie had to say about her twig dolls, "Here's something we did a few weeks ago, and it was too cute not to share. Twig dolls! The photo kind of explains how to make them -- just find appropriately shaped twigs, tie them together with pipe cleaners, and add accessories depending on what you find outdoors. We made these fairly early in the spring, but I can imagine wildflower skirts, acorn hats, dandelion heads, etc.  A great nature/creativity craft!"

While doing the research on twig dolls I ran across a Lois Schklar: Thirty Years of Dolls .PDF which is about her twig, wood, and stick contemporary art pieces.  Most of her pieces have faces, but some are faceless. Whether they have faces or not they are incredible and well worth taking a look at. It really is quite amazing what can be created from twigs, wood, or sticks.  If you would like to read the .pdf and see pictures of her incredible pieces please click here.

Also, while doing the research on twig dolls I ran across a Barck Arts website by Lori Barck Haynes who is a crafts-person and fiber artist who has been making astonishing contemporary art twig dolls for over twenty years.  

Most of her pieces have faces, but some are faceless. Whether they have faces or not they are amazing and well worth taking a look at her gallery.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her (here) the creation of her first doll (here).   If you would like to see her creations please click here.

In the Kindergarten Review, Volume 22 - from 1911-1912 - Published by Milton Bradley Co., Springfield, MA there is a Mother's Department with a section on Garden Dolls and How To Make Them by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey.  

The article talks about all sorts of dolls that can be made from the garden and describes how to make them including poppy dolls, daisy babies, dolls made from cucumbers, dolls made from squash, an Irish potato doll, apple dolls, corncob doll, corn husk and prickly bur dolls.  Most of the vegetable dolls would have twig bodies and can be made with or without faces.

If you would like to read this section please click here.

On the Native American Technology and Art website there is a page on Instructions for Split Willow Dolls showing how to make the split willow dolls shown in the picture to the right.  

Under the Willow Toys and Figures page we learn the following, "Native Americans, thousands of years ago to the present, have made animal figures and representations of peoples out of split willow sticks. In the Great Basin and Grand Canyon areas of southwestern North America, willow figures of deer have been found that are thousands of years old. In more recent times, willow dolls have been made by Native Americans of the Great Lakes area. To the present day, Native Americans have continued to use the willow figures in creating contemporary art."

"In her early 1900's work with the Ojibway (Chippewa) people living on reservations in Minnesota, Densmore photographed and described a child's doll made from split willow. This elongated doll was made by a woman living at Grand Marais, on Lake Superior's north shore. The doll's head is made of checker-woven willow withes, that are bent around to form the doll's head. The core of doll's body, arms and legs consists of bundled grass or cornhusk that is simply wrapped with split willow branches. Densmore noticed, and the same is true for many other traditionally made dolls, that the features or details of the doll's face are not outlined. In contrast to the one-piece split willow deer, a dozen or more shorter pieces of split willow are used to make this Ojibway doll."

Stay tuned for The History Of Faceless Dolls - Updated February 2015 - Part XI - Worry Dolls and Toothpick Dolls

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The History Of Faceless Dolls - Updated February 2015 - Part VIIII - Handkerchief and Pillowcase Dolls

During pioneer times when supplies and items were scarce mothers used whatever they had at hand to make dolls for their children.  This included handkerchiefs and pillowcases.

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts created a wonderful .PDF tutorial on making Folk Art dolls.  The .PDF includes an introduction into "Doll Making As A Folk Art Tradition" and tutorials on making 4 different types of Folk Art dolls.

Included in this tutorial is a section on Page 3 on How-To Make Pioneer Handkerchief Doll, like the doll in the picture to the right.

According to the .PDF, "During pioneer times (and at other times when supplies were scarce) dolls were made from handkerchiefs for little girls.  These handkerchief dolls were called "prayer dolls. They were carried to church and did not make noise if dropped.  Some mothers would put sugar cubes or candy in the head of the handkerchief doll for a youngster to suck on to keep the child quiet during the long church service.  Other names for the handkerchief doll are, "church doll", "church babies","pew doll", and "pew babies."

The Hankie Dolls page of the Folk Dolls chapter of The Complete Photo Guide To Doll Making book by Nancy Hoerner, Barbara Matthiessen, and Rick Petersen has a tutorial on making a faceless hankie doll on pages 82-85 that shows how easy it is to make a simple faceless hankie doll.

According to The Complete Photo Guide To Doll Making book  - Page82, "Hankie dolls were also called church dolls or pew dolls because they were first made for children to play with during church services.  The idea was that if the doll was dropped, it wouldn't make any noise."

"The dolls have been made in various ways and we will show you two different ways.  Similar dolls were made from lacy women's hankies and given to a newborn baby girl with the intention that she would later carry it as her bridal hankie."

According to the Wagontraindolls.com website early pioneers used unusable table cloths to make Pillowcase dolls, like the picture on the right for their children.

Here's what they had to say, "Pioneers settled in their log cabins during the long winter months when they were snowed in for weeks. During this time they did many chores to prepare for the upcoming year. When children became restless their mother would take the child’s pillow case and make a doll as this one is made. At bed time the mother would remove the ties from their doll and the pillow case went back on the pillow."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has an article on by Julie Fordham on how to make a handkerchief doll.  If you would like to read that how-to please click here.

The Historic Cold Spring Village Cape May County Living History Museum website has instructions for making the handkerchief doll, like the one shown in the picture to the left.

If you would like to see and read their Make A Handkerchief Doll instructions please click here.

Handkerchief dolls are easy to make and can be very pretty - especially when you are using dainty vintage handkerchiefs.  If you would like to learn how to make a handkerchief doll of your own from vintage handkerchiefs there is a wonderful video on YouTube for making a Vintage Hanky Church Doll by Maggie Weldon, like the doll in the picture to the right.

If you would like to view the Vintage Hanky Church Doll video please click here.

There is also a wonderful tutorial on the Wild and Precious Blog showing how to make a handkerchief doll. To see the handkerchief doll and read that blog post please click here.

Stay tuned for The History Of Faceless Dolls - Updated February 2015 - Part X - Twig, Pine Cone, Willow and Nature Craft  Dolls