Thursday, April 14, 2016

Wooden Spoon Dolls and More - Past and Present

The Spoon Doll Image Courtesy of Deborah Darling's Tinchapel Textiles Blog.

As you're well aware I love dolls of all sorts, shapes, sizes, and made from just about anything including wood spoons.  I've made Santa's, Pilgrims, witches, bunnies, chickies, and snowmen from wooden spoons.

Wooden doll spoons have been around for quite some time and were a favorite plaything for many English and Colonial children. Today, wooden doll kits are sold by many museums, wooden doll spoons are a favorite craft for many children, and are growing in popularity amongst crafters.

Vintage sterling silver spoons are also gaining in popularity and are a favorite material for mixed media and altered art artists as well.

The Spoon Doll picture shown above is from Deborah Darling's Tinchapel Textiles blog.

She wrote about this doll in a blog post entitled "The Spoon from simplicity....." and according to Deb the doll is from the Museum of Childhood.

While wooden spoon dolls have been around for hundreds of years pictures of them are not readily available. I've been searching the various museum websites and have yet to find an online image.

Image Courtesy of Joel Lane Museum House

Making wooden spoon dolls is a favorite activity of many museums and many of them sell Colonial Spoon Doll Kits, like the one shown in the picture above from the Joel Lane Museum House.

Here's what they said about their kit: Colonial Spoon Doll Kit contains fabric, spoon head, stuffing, yarn, floss, and needle. Cloth may vary from picture. You will need scissors, pins, and glue. (Hot glue works best.)  In the early colonial period, girls and their mothers made dolls of everyday household materials, such as spools, clothes pegs, yarn, buttons, and spoons. Kit measures 5 1/4” by 6 1/2”.Ages 8 and up.

The Historical Folk Toys website also offers a spoon doll kit for sale.

Here's what they said about theirs: The Colonial mothers made dolls for their daughters from a variety of items that were available around the homestead. A wooden spoon featured a ready-made head for a doll, which could be adorned with paint for the face and hair, or with yarn for hair, or with fabric for a bonnet. The body was formed around the handle of the spoon and was probably made in numerous designs because each mother worked with items that were available to her. If the mother had a little extra time and the supplies, she might make arms, and legs and use lace. If time was pressing, she might just wrap fabric around the handle in a way that it looked like a dress. For a young colonial girl, any doll was special.

The website has an article entitled "How to Make a Wooden Spoon Doll."

Here's what they said about their article:  Sometimes an object will inspire a doll - a button is just longing to become a doll face, or a scrap of polymer clay from another project says 'torso" all over it; an antique spoon only needs arms and some hair to become a figure, or a tiny charm is obviously a hand just waiting for a charm.

In Picture the Past: Art Ideas to Recreate History for Children Aged Five to Eleven By Joan Chambers, Molly Hood we learn: Poor people could not afford to buy toys so they made their own.Dolls were made from wooden spoons and rags.  Includes how-to for making a wooden spoon doll.

The Plimoth Plantation sells the Easy-To-Make Early American Folk Dolls pamphlet shown above which includes instructions for making a Colonial spoon doll.

There is a wonderful post on the Vintage Image Craft blog about "An Elegant Hankie Doll Ornament Can Display Your Vintage Handkerchief in Style."

In that post we learned:  A Victorian Hankie Doll was a child's toy, made at home from at-hand materials. A wad of cotton or fabric was wrapped around the bowl of a long-handled wooden spoon. A fancy hankie was draped over it, and the ball was tied off to form a head. Opposing corners of the hankie were tied off to resemble sleeves and hands. Yarn and buttons were added for the hair and face. A doll born of economy and creativity!

Given the simple form of a wooden spoon I wondered whether or not you can create wooden spoon dolls that are truly unique. More like art dolls. The answer is yes.

Image Courtesy of FolkArtByLinda

I just LOVE the beautiful Pamela Spoon Doll shown in the picture above. She was created by FolkArtByLinda and is for sale in her Etsy shop.  Isn't she just the sweetest doll?  I love the expression on her face.

Here's what she said about her:  The Pamela doll was designed and made by the artist. She is a medium-sized spoon doll hand painted with non-toxic acrylic paints. Pamela has a cloth body with black, high-top painted shoes that have sole. Her clothing includes her blue, floral dress with a triple-tucked skirt, lace neckline, slip, and underwear. Her brown hair is pulled back into a bun with a red ribbon. She is 16 inches tall. Chair not included. She is signed and numbered by the artist.

Image Courtesy of The Doll Maker

Spoon dolls don't have to be colonial looking.   They certainly could be sassy like the Spoon Dolls shown in the picture above from The Doll Maker blog.  They're fabulous.

Image Courtesy of NoRulesArt

Many mixed media and altered art artists love creating unique pieces with vintage silver spoons, like the beautiful "Upcycle Altered Art Vintage Silver Plated Spoon Doll with Vintage Hankie" shown in the picture above which is for sale on the NoRulesArt Etsy shop.  I love her face and headdress as well as the vintage hankie.

Here's what they had to say about her: This is a tablespoon size doll made from a silver plated spoon. The face is polymer clay. The spoon doll is about 8" in total length, she has a wire hanger with beads. She hangs nicely against the wall. Her dress is a vintage hankie. She is my own original design, there will be no other made like her.Will be well packaged with clean, recycled materials. : )

If you like how-to videos there are several on You-Tube for creating a wooden spoon doll, like the "Wooden Spoon Crafts : Wooden Spoon Crafts: Doll Puppet" shown above from Expert Village.

Image Courtesy of CraftberryBush

Children love creating wooden doll spoons.  Skip To My Lou has a Guest Post by Lucy of Craftberry Bush showing how to make the adorable "Fashion Wooden Spoon Dolls" shown in the picture above.  

The Complete Photo Guide To Doll Making by Nancy Hoerner, Barbara Matthiessen, and Rick Petersen has a how-to and pattern for making a spoon doll on page 70.

The Complete Book of Dollmaking: A Practical Step-by-Step Guide to More Than 50 Traditional and Contemporary Techniques (Watson-Guptill Crafts) Paperback – September 1, 1997 by Pamela Peake has a how-to in their "Working With Wood" chapter for making a spoon doll. Plus, there is a wonderful project on Page 111 showing how to make an adorable mannequin spoon doll.  Very chic. Very Victorian.

The Chertsey Museum Education Service - Runnymede Borough Museum created a .pdf "Resources For...Victorian Toys"  that includes information on creating a wooden spoon doll.

Wooden spoon dolls have been around for awhile, have been adored by children for awhile, and I suspect will continue to be popular amongst crafters,and mixed media and altered art artists alike. Whether it's the past or present wooden spoon dolls are her to stay.

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