Louie Louie Bebe’s Handmade Waldorf inspired dolls
An introduction, or : How it all began
When my sister and I were little, we loved playing with dolls. A big part of the game was dressing and undressing them and since at the time, ready made doll clothes cost a fortune, and were not on our budget, my mother taught me how to sew and I made clothes for the dolls. As my family and friends keep reminding me, I also used to spend hours drawing pictures of fancy clothes for the dolls. To be honest, the simple clothes I made were not as elaborate as the sketches, but we had vivid imaginations that helped turn them into fabulous ball gowns.
We had an old armoire in our bedroom, and my creative mom took out its’ doors and tuned it into a dolls house.
My sister and I made furniture for the dolls from scraps and found objects. An old cigar box was decorated and turned into a bed, a shoe box became the dolls’ wardrobe, with real doors that opened and closed. A candy tin was a perfect dining table.
To this day, we both remember those olden days fondly. We smile when we think of our young selves, so innocent and easily pleased.
Perhaps this is what fascinates me with Waldorf education, and Waldorf dolls in particular. They don’t have to be sophisticated in order to make a child happy, and this simplicity, that is the core of Waldorf respects the innocence of children, their mysterious, magical world where everything is possible.
Waldorf dolls, a Love affair
After a long career as a fashion and costume designer, I finally found my passion on a cold winter evening, at my sons’ Waldorf-education kindergarten. Parents were invited for a doll making extravaganza. We all sat on tiny wooden chairs and made little star and little bunting dolls for our children. It was a lovely, fun evening and it could have well ended at that but then, someone pulled a Waldorf doll out of nowhere and I took one look and fell head over heels.
I spent the next couple of weeks glued to my computer, frantically trying to figure out how to make these dolls. I ordered every book I could find and bit my fingernails with anticipation.
But by the time the books arrived, I was already making dolls.
I love making dolls. It is a long process and my fingers constantly ache from the pulling and tugging and sewing, but I love to see how people react to my dolls. I am constantly thinking about new dolls, searching for better techniques, different material, but in the end, the beauty in making Waldorf dolls is the simplicity of it all.
A bit of natural wool roving, cotton thread, embroidery floss and a bit of mohair wool, and voila! A doll emerges.
Over the years, I have learnt many new skills, like spinning, felting, needle felting, etc. I love how making Waldorf dolls allows me to explore new techniques and crafts. Making dolls also introduced me to new communities and people, and I promise to write more about that soon.
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Where does it all happen
I work at home, in a lovely, spacious studio adjacent to the children’s playroom, which is where quite a few of the dolls and toys end up, smudged in chocolate and bananas, after enduring some, err, heartfelt affection from my 6 years old daughter, Sophia. (She is 11 now..) She likes to ‘test-drive’ my dolls and if I am not careful, I will end up with absolutely nothing to sell. 🙂
My 8 (now 12!) year old son, Luca, enjoys helping mom operate heavy machinery. He comes into the studio and we have little chats about my work and the machines, shipping stuff, packing stuff. He is into scissors nowadays, so he likes to see me cut fabric and help me make Thank you cards.
About my dolls:
All of my dolls are meticulously hand crafted. I use the finest natural, organic materials and pay great attention to detail, and a lot of love.
All of the doll and clothes patterns are my own.
I knit, sew and make everything myself, unless otherwise stated.
I spend many hours making each doll, knitting, sewing and creating the accessories.
Thank you for reading and thank you for visiting.
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©Louie Louie Bebe 2017