Saturday, March 07, 2015

The History Of Faceless Dolls - Updated February 2015 - Part XXIII - Faceless Dolls For Charity and Conclusion

In doing my research on faceless dolls I was delighted to run across some websites concerning the application of "faceless" dolls in charity today and why they were chosen or made "faceless."

Back in 2006 one of those articles was about "faceless" dolls of Gloria Larocque. She has created 100 or more "faceless" dolls based upon the Iroquois legend that warns young girls about the dangers of vanity.

However, according to the article her purpose is different. Her dolls represent Canada's murdered aboriginal women, a group made faceless not by vanity but by neglect. Her project has helped draw attention to the plight of the murdered aboriginal women.

According to Gloria:"The dolls will act as a centre-piece for educating children about traditional Aboriginal culture, maintaining cultural integrity through a contemporary setting. As a teaching tool kit, the idea will be to plant seeds of survival skills concepts such as choice, strength, education, cultural connection and knowledge of self.

The kit will contain a doll in the same fashion as an Aboriginal Angel Doll, and will be presented as an “elder”. The doll will be known as Kookum RETA (grandmother rejuvenate, educate, traditional, acceptance) of the Aboriginal people from Turtle Island. The power of the elder teaching the young is a traditional aboriginal teaching method."

In 2010 the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) contacted Gloria Larocque to explore the possibility of creating a similar project as hers that, "would carry forward the visual representation of strong and beautiful Aboriginal women who have become ‘faceless’ victims of crime. This collaboration resulted in NWAC’s Faceless Doll Project. The dolls created through this new project will be used to create a traveling art exhibit in memory of the more than 600 missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. NWAC’s Faceless Doll Project was launched in March 2012 and Community Engagement Workshops were held across the country (funded by the Status of Women Canada). Community members were invited to come and hear the Faceless Doll story and create their very own doll for inclusion in this
commemorative art project. All workshop materials were provided."

The NWAC created a Building On The Legacy Of The NWAC Faceless Doll Project: Create Your Own Faceless Dolls .PDF concerning this initiative and containing information for workshops for groups to create faceless paper dolls in tribute and solidarity of the 600 missing and murdered Aboriginal women. If you would like to see and read the Building On The Legacy Of The NWAC Faceless Doll Project: Create Your Own Faceless Dolls  .PDF please click here.

There was also an article by Brenda Tobias on the Cornell University website concerning Hurricane Katrina and something the alumni did to help the children affected by Hurricane Katrina. A group of 100 alumni got together to sew "faceless" dolls for the children. Doll decorating kits and coloring books were assembled and sent to the children to comfort them.

 The faceless dolls in the picture to the left are part of the Bumbles Dolls project that Maxmilian William Loeffler established as part of a college application essay that turned into a charitable business.

The Bumbles Dolls are small faceless dolls made by volunteers at Bumbles Dolls and donated to charities and hospitals.

According to the website, "Max realized while volunteering at Overlook Medical Center, that gratitude is expressed in different ways because people can apply it to the past by remembering positive memories, apply it to the present by not taking successes for granted, and apply it to the future carrying a hopeful and positive attitude. He was interested in capturing this feeling and sharing it with others, and Bumbles Dolls were born. Max's ambition is that these special dolls inspires those that receive the gift of gratitude to keep it alive and pass it on. The story behind their creation is quite fascinating."

As to why the dolls are faceless, "I created a sketch, printed the pattern on fabric, learned simple stitching and stuffed this snuggly doll that would have no face. I created a faceless doll to imitate the doll my sister carries and I believe that without a face it can be the object of anyone’s imagination."

Members of a Kiwanis Club in Arizona make "faceless" therapy dolls for sick and injured children at a local medical center.

According to the Kiwanis Club Members Make Therapy Dolls for Kids With Cancer by David M. Brown .PDF article, "The soft-fabric, faceless dolls - often described as "doughboy dolls" after the popular Pillsbury versions - are given to children for various therapeutic functions, said Susan Vosdoganes, Friendship Village director of marketing. "

The dolls provide a comfort to the children and make the hospital and medical procedures less frightening as they can express their feelings through the doll by drawing faces on them, bandaging them, giving them yarn hair or leaving them bald for those children in chemotherapy.

If you would like to see and read the Kiwanis Club Members Make Therapy Dolls for Kids With Cancer by David M. Brown .PDF article please click here.

And, finally there is "The Comfort Doll Project" started by Pat Winter. I had written about this previously in my Linda's Blog in a post entitled Pat Winter's "The Comfort Doll Project".

"The Comfort Doll Project" benefits women of abuse and gives small mixed media dolls (some with faces and others without) to various women's shelters which are then give to a woman who has just been beaten, raped, or abused.

According to Pat Winter, "I know some may think making dolls to give to a woman who has just been beaten, raped, or abused in some way is like putting a band-aid on an amputation. Well, I see it as sending a message of hope,love,and encouragement. A gentle hug,a smile,a nudge to go forward and see there is sunshine behind the mountain.

Imagine a woman being handed a beautiful handmade doll with a message of hope attached. This doll ,from a stranger whom she will never meet,yet makes this connection of love and caring from one heart to another. A stranger who can imagine, if not know firsthand where she has been and hoping she will have brighter days ahead. The woman carries this doll in her purse, pocket, or perhaps pinned to her lapel, knowing someone cared enough to think of her. When she needs strength, she strokes it or admires it and her lips turn up with a smile and her heart warms. Yes, I am a dreamer but I do think this will happen. Actually I KNOW this will happen. Won't you join me?

In 2010 Pat passed the baton for the Comfort Doll Project to Brenda Hutchings and she has wonderfully continued that initiative to this date.  According to Brenda, "I can't wait to get started, and I look forward to our future of helping women to move out of the darkness and fear of abuse, into the light of hope and courage."  

If you would like to visit the new Comfort Doll Project blog please click here.  If you would like to visit the Comfort Doll Project Facebook page please click here.

I think you all know that I, personally, love faceless dolls. Victorians, primitives, colonial, prairie dolls, rag dolls, or country style dolls. It doesn't matter. I love them all.

In fact, I created a video to reflect my feelings about faceless dolls which is: "Beauty lies not only in what is seen, but what is imagined. I believe the essence of a dolls faceless beauty should determine her personality."

Please CLICK HERE or on the video below if you'd like to view my "Linda's Faceless Beauties" video.

Why do I love the faceless doll so much?

Because I think by being "faceless' the doll can be anything you want him or her to be. You create the dolls personality to be exactly what you imagine it to be. Their personality, therefore, reflects your creativity and your feelings.

And, as we've seen from the above mentioned articles the application can be heartwarming, meaningful and beautiful.

In researching doing the research to update my History of Faceless Dolls article I was thrilled to see that there are hundreds of artists and crafters who are now creating various types of "faceless" dolls in all different medium.  I couldn't be happier to see all these wonderful new applications for faceless dolls.  I'm hoping you all will agree.

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