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 PlushYou blog and it shown you how to make the adorable baby Waldorf style dolls shown in the picture to the right.
According to PlushYou, "Before we start, these dolls are easy peasy lemon squeezy and should take a couple of hours at absolute most. If anyone can't make one I'll eat my hat (well, certainly provide you with more support because it will be my tutorial that's to blame). Please tell me if anything isn't clear or you have any questions."
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.