Growing up I had Barbies and a Cabbage Patch Kid. I could spend hours at the toy store picking out just the right plastic, decal encrusted accessory set to spend my allowance on. But I also had a handful of dolls made by my mother and grandmother which were very special to me. They had names, of course, and outfits that my mom would help me sew (although to be fair, she did the lion’s share of actual sewing), I made them little beds with their own little quilts under which to tuck them in tight at night. They were special, and more than any of my other toys, I felt they were my friends.
When Faye was born I wanted to make her some special friends. I had been making dolls for the children of my friends, and to sell in my first Etsy shop but I didn’t really know what ‘my style’ of toy making was… I would see a vintage doll and try to reimagine it but it wasn’t quite…authentic to me. When I thought about my own child being born and what I would make for them, how I would want it to wear and evolve over time, it clarified my vision and the first Lucy doll came into being. At the time I was also kicking around an idea for a button-jointed giraffe made of linen and I thought I might as well just finish it up. It was the first toy my daughter had any interest in whatsoever and now, at almost 6 months old, he is the most beloved, most spitty, most crumpled of all.
One of my favorite books is Cheryl and Jeffrey Katz’s ode to well-loved toys, Dirty Wow Wow and Other Love Stories. It is filled with photographs of “the threadbare companions of childhood,” many of whom have lost their stuffing, their glass eyes, or have had their sweet faces loved off completely. That is what I strive for, to make something worthy of holding onto long after it’s perfection fades, perhaps even after it is a faceless, stuffingless fabric mangle, a true friend.