Making dolls and puppets

The first dolls I ever made were made from vegatables from our garden, then I started making dolls from my mother’s fabric scraps. As I grew older, I had to take home economics in school; I learned how to follow a pattern and this allowed me to make rag dolls. As time went on, I started making dolls from paper mache, wood, clay and mixed media. After we moved to Israel, the girls were little and I made puppets for the girls to play with. My fabric puppets, evolved into mixed media puppets and now I;m making mostly felted puppets. I taught myself to neelde felt a few years ago. Needle felting is like sculpting, its additive and subractive like clay.

 

fabric handpuppets

 

mixed media bride doll
rag doll mermaid

 

dolls for boys

 

small felt dolls
bundle baby doll

I still play with dolls!

 

My mother's bisque doll

  Today I make dolls; I love to make dolls and I’m not sure why. Before I started to make dolls, I played with dolls, then I collected dolls and then I bought dolls for my daughters and every now and then I’d buy a doll for myself. Most of the dolls I’ve collected were my mothers. She treasured her dolls and when she gave them to me they were in mint condition. I played with them alot and now they are very used.

embroidery detail

 

antique Shirly Temple doll in her original dress

 

antique Russian doll
Sally Ann doll
sleeping baby from the 60's

 

antique doll dress pattern

 

My grandma Burch used to make dolls for me and my sister and I’ve kept all of them. This is Raggedy Ann, she’s 30-some years old!

My grandmother made my Raggedy Ann doll
Raggedy Ann and Andy rag dolls

This is Andy, Raggedy Ann’s friend. Raggedy Ann and Andy are characters from the Series of books by Johny Gruelle. These dolls are well known by American children.

My grandma Burch had a good sence of humor; she used to make funny things sometimes, like this Dammit Doll.

Damn-it doll

The tag that comes with the doll reads:

When you think you want to climb the wall or stand right up and shout,

 Here’s a little Dammit Doll you cannot be without.

Just grab it firmly by the legs and find a place to slam it.

Then as you whack it’s stuffings out, yell DAMMIT…. DAMMIT…..DAMMIT…..

I remember one of the first dolls I made myself, she was made from a gourd that I picked from our garden. Her body was a gourd, and her arms and legs were toothpicks and my mother made a summer dress for her. I have a photo of myself as a skinny little girl of 7 or 8 years old and my doll in front of our house in Greenfield, Indiana.

rubber flea market friends
little plastic guy
praying doll

This was my doll from the 1970’s. She recited a bedtime prayer when you pulled her string. My mother taught it to me and we used to recite it every night before bed, on our knees.

I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee lord my soul to keep. If I should die, before I wake, I pray thee lord my soul to take. Amen

Indian string doll

We bought this tiny doll in India for something like a penny. She’s about 3″ tall and she’s made of wire and thread. How simple and cute.

Nighty-night