The Ballet, my Muse

Emili and the Little Ballerina in white (needle felted)

 I love to make dolls and puppets more than anything else, so it makes sense that the ballet, my muse has inspired me to make needle felted ballerina dolls. Before I started to make the white ballerina doll, I watched the video: Etoiles, Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet  by Nils Tavernier. It was interesting to listen to the thoughts of the young ballerinas, these dancers were living their dreams and their lives were only about ballet. They spoke in terms of their passions needing to be fulfilled, it was like they were addicted to their craft. I wondered how many people are able to experience something so overwhelming and meaningful in their lives. The ballet dancers spoke of a very ego-centric life and of the loneliness that went with it.

Needle felted Little Ballerina in white

 The dancers in the video were nimble, twisty and bendy in ways that I can only dream of being; these virtues attributed to the many flexible joints that I gave the Little Ballerina in white.  

needle felted doll parts/joints

 The many joints gives the doll the ability to move like a ballerina. If you hold her by the waist and jostle her, it looks like she’s dancing! 

The ballerina dances

To say “it’s my life (ballet), nothing else matters” , as one of the dancers stated in the video, is a profound statement. It makes me wonder about the line between throwing yourself into your work and the point where your work becomes you. It makes me think about how an artist, who is a parent juggles their priorities and how much self control one needs to have not cross the line of artistic passion, so as not to be consumed by it.

Needle felted Little Pink Ballerina, satin and tulle ballerina outfit

 The little pink ballerina has more movable joints than the little white ballerina (elbows and knees) which makes her more suitable as a marionette.

Needle felted V doll ballerina

The simplest of the ballerina dolls, I call this little ballerina a “V” doll because of her shape. The legs of this needle felted doll are indicated, but not made and attached separately like the arms. There are only three shapes needed to make this doll (circle, long oval, V) and four pieces (head, 2 arms, body). The tutu is made from a piece of gathered felt. This doll is a Waldorf inspired toy, made from the natural material, wool and felt.

face detail