Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Dolls of all nations

I'm temping again for part of the summer, same place as the last few years.  Right now, I'm only doing 3 days a week, and using the other two to continue working on building inventory, so that I don't go into the fall show season depleted, the way I did last year.

So far it's working, except inventory has been getting depleted by my co-workers.

Which is not a bad thing.

One of the women in the office saw my cloth dolls, and asked if I could make a custom one for her granddaughter.  She gave me the colors her granddaughter liked, and asked if I could put her name on it.

I did, and within a few days, she was back.  "I've got a neighbor," she said.  "She's Liberian.  My granddaughter loves her.  Can you do a doll that looks like her?"

So this was her most recent purchase - a doll costumed in my version of an African wax print (it's not; it was just a really cool thrift shop dress reminiscent of African prints).

There's been a new request: another neighbor is from Laos, and could I make one in something resembling her traditional costume?

Her theory is that by the time her granddaughter gets to nursery school, she'll have a collection of multi-colored, multi-cultural dolls and a firm understanding that friends come in all colors and costumes.

There are worse ways to raise a kid, right?

The most difficult part of this doll wasn't the costuming, it was the skin color.  I have a light brown that I use for African American dolls, but she asked for a darker color, something closer to her Liberian neighbor's skin tone.

I had a darker brown in stash, but when I tried using it for a doll face previously, it was so dark that the embroidered features just didn't show up well.  I was biding my time until the right color appeared, and not long after she made her request, I was in the thrift store and this brown scrubs top appeared.

Turns out it was the perfect shade, and a large enough size that I can get another half dozen dolls cut before I run out of fabric - with the exception of a scrap I can carry with me, so that I can color match when I next visit a fabric or thrift store.

Coming soon, Ms. Laos.  Just as soon as I find a sparkly fabric for her dress.

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