Poliblog wrote such a cool review of Doll God–as a poem!
Tag Archives: doll
(Cross-posting this on The Family Kalamazoo under a different title)
Thanks to a comment by Robin (be sure to check out the stories on her blog), I was reminded how handmade doll clothing can be more meaningful than the dolls themselves. Sewing doll clothing for me is how my grandmother Marie stirred my love of dolls. Grandma was the Head Fitter of the 28 Shop at Marshall Field’s flagship store in Chicago for years and an artist with a needle.
From the time I was born, Grandma sewed me beautiful dresses. But I first paid attention to her sewing on Christmas the year I was four. As we opened gifts, Grandma leaned down toward me, with her pearls swinging, and handed me a huge box. The blue eyes of a doll my size stared back at me when I pulled up the lid. I named her Bonnie, after one of my favorite records, “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.”
Grandma handed me another large, but more beautifully wrapped, box. I untied the grosgrain ribbon and discovered she had sewn an array of beautiful dresses trimmed in selfsame bows and flowered beads. The beret Grandma created for Bonnie matched the pink satin-lined pale blue velvet coat.
When I was eight, Grandma sewed me a glorious trousseau of clothes for the imitation Barbie (Miss Suzette) my parents had given me. My doll didn’t have the requisite zebra-striped swimsuit or the Enchanted Evening gown and fur stole, but she had a copper satin cocktail sheath covered with a copper rose point lace outer skirt. Both were trimmed in copper seed beads. The wedding dress of white satin was heavily beaded with real seed pearls. A lace trimmed slip fit underneath and the veil was matching lace and beaded with the pearls. I looked for stitches to see Grandma’s tricks, but they were invisible as all good magic.
When I was away at college, my mother gave the Barbie clothes away. While Bonnie has always sat on a chair in my bedroom, for a long time I kept Bonnie’s clothes in a small suitcase in my closet, away from dust and sunlight, and reveled in the knowledge that I had preserved these treasures. After moving to my last house, I decided to put them away more securely.
Then I forgot where I put them! For years I thought they were lost. Finally, last year, I found the clothing. The only piece missing is the velvet beret. All I have left of the Barbie clothes are the memories as I don’t have a photo of them.
All these years later, my parents have given me my grandmother’s German porcelain doll and the clothing she made for her.
These doll clothes represent all the beautiful clothing my grandmother designed and sewed over the years. Clothing, Art really, which is long gone.
My recent doll posts:
I wasn’t going to post until next week because I’m trying to concentrate on my manuscripts. But I just got a notification from WordPress that it’s the one year anniversary of this blog. So I thought I’d pop on here for a moment to say Happy Anniversary to me, um, Writer Site.
While I’m on here, I thought I’d make a few more points about dolls. This time it’s history, not creepiness.
- The word doll may come from the Greek word for idol: eidolon. This reminds us that one of the purposes of early dolls was in religion.
- Most ancient and modern cultures have had dolls, although they were not always children’s toys.
- Dolls have been made from every material you can imagine.
- No dolls have survived from prehistoric times, but there are museum examples from the major ancient cultures, such as Egyptian, Greek, etc.
- Any model of a human being can be viewed as a doll of sorts.
- Technically, stuffed animals are not dolls, but when I realized that Koko the Gorilla views stuffed gorillas as dolls, I saw how human-centric our thinking is.
- Dolls look as different from each other as people do from each other.
- Here’s a link to a basic history of dolls.
Since I was very young, dolls have fascinated me. And I don’t mean that in a creepy I’ll-rip-your-head-off-pretty-dolly kind of way. I was one of those good kids who put clothes on their dolls. I felt uncomfortable if my doll wore a dress and had no underpants underneath.
I have a very large and fairly traditional doll collection, and I store them in my guest room. Many guests are completely creeped out by dolls. You should see the looks they give me when I show them the bed they have to sleep on–with a big wall of dolls staring at them all night long! For me, though, most of them are beautiful and not so very creepy.
But as an adult I realize that dolls have a lot more potential than I had credited them with before. They can mean all kinds of things to us: good, bad, creative, destructive.
My poetry manuscript contains a surprising amount of poems about dolls. I wrote one and then I wrote another and then the doll voices and stories kept coming at me. Through writing the poems I’ve uncovered a lot I didn’t know about dolls. As I wrote the poems, I began to realize the creep factor of dolls, as well as all the different ways dolls speak to me. It’s impossible, though, to sum up here what is shown with more vividness in the poems.
Since I’m working on the manuscript now and in honor of Halloween, I’ll share a few creepy doll images with you.
A few years ago I found this wonderful doll art on the internet. They apparently were created by Kelley Richardson. Her out-of-date blog is found here.
One of those doll dioramas is the subject of a poem I am including in my manuscript. Can you guess which doll/shadowbox I wrote about?
Here is the link or just click the photo above.
As a nod to tradition, here is a photo taken by my grandfather’s uncle over 100 years ago of some children, presumed to be relatives. The two girls are clutching their dolls.
I guess it’s a little creepy to realize the dolls might have outlasted the girls.