In a follow-up to my last post, I’m really embracing the idea of using hand dyed fabrics in the production of my dolls. It adds another layer of craftsmanship and creative control. And thinking ahead to marketing, the customer base that is interested in handmade dolls is often also concerned about exposing children to the harsh chemicals in fabric dyes.
With a turmeric-dyed headwrap, hibiscus-dyed felt lips and a white tulle-ish dress, my latest doll moves in a different direction with its color palette. We are entering summer legitimately here in Riyadh with a high of 108 degrees Fahrenheit today. It’s the kind of weather that changes your plans for you when you open the door. The last couple of days the doorknob to our apartment has been too hot to touch by 7:30 am. I really want to escape this weather and I know this is only the beginning. This doll, with her canary turban, reminds me of a breezy, late spring day. I guess it’s my way of holding on the mild weather I love so much, even if it isn’t a reality for me right now. Or perhaps I’m looking ahead. Next month we are going on vacation in Germany. I’ve been consumed with planning for the trip and I’m already daydreaming about the temperate weather.
It’s been a while since I posted a new doll. I had another structural set back, of my own doing. I bought a couple of meters of a dark brown fabric, which I thought I would use to make some dolls with a different skin shade. But I didn’t account for the heavier, stiffer weight of this new fabric. I got about half way through making a doll in the stiff, brown fabric before I had to give up completely. It was virtually impossible to turn the arms and legs inside out. Once again I’ve learned the lesson that every change counts in production. When I picked up that fabric it didn’t even occur to me to consider the difference in weight and weave. That incident spurned the idea of experimenting with natural dyes and as I continue to explore dyeing, I’ll try some tea, coffee and onion dyes for different skin colors.
As you can easily see in the last photo, I’ve changed my pattern each and every time. I’m telling myself the next round of changes will be my last…at least for a little while.