I am a maker, a teacher and a parent of two sons and a daughter. I have always been drawn to handwork, I love the calmness it brings and the satisfaction of making.
It makes me happy to see people smile as the doll emerges from their own hands. Its quite special to be able to give a child a doll that you have made which, I think, far surpasses a bought doll, whatever imperfections it may have. It is an object that holds within it the makers time and love.
The dolls are traditional European cloth dolls, often called Waldorf dolls as they have been used in Steiner kindergartens for the last 100 years. They are made from natural materials and have simple embroidered faces on heads that have been formed by binding string around wool stuffing. The faces are kept intentionally simple to allow open ended play.
I believe dolls should be given to both boys and girls and try to keep some of my dolls gender neutral for the child to create the character they wish.
It is important to me to use natural, ethically sourced and local materials as much as possible.
I often use hair wool from Garthenor in Wales which is undyed and organic. The clothes are often recycled or waste fabric, I recently found bundles of cashmere offcuts in a Scottish wooden mill .
Wool will absorb warmth and the smell of home, it will repel damp, is biodegradable and renewable. While it would be cheaper to use synthetic stuffing, I use natural sheep's wool from Rosewood farm in Yorkshire where the sheep “live entirely on our synthetic fertiliser and pesticide free pastures, lamb naturally without human intervention and require no routine medication or synthetic pesticides, meaning a residue-free fleece and an entirely sustainable and natural end-product” All good to know if your child is cuddling their doll to sleep at night.