Playing Again!

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I absolutely LOVE this photo.  When I took all of these photo’s, it was just to experiment and I had no other intention than to just grab a few and post a tiny story.  I had no idea’s, I just took pictures to see how the room looked and the lighting effects with sepia tint.  What I got was a playful story that seemed to grow in a way that I did not expect.

Look at that bear!  I found her in a thrift shop ages ago.  I am not overly fond of stuffed animals, but I thought the tiny size would be fine as a doll’s teddy bear.  And she was to be Rosey’s bear, but she is coming out in a way that I did not expect.  The interplay between them makes me light up with playfulness.  How a tiny bear can have so much expression just amazes me.  Today, as I was putting the remaining photo’s together for Rosey’s story blog, I noticed that the conversations came easy and I sensed a direction that this can all go in. 

I cannot help but be influenced by fairy-tales and children’s story books.  These tales are all imbedded in our brains, I am sure.  So there will mostly likely be touches of this story and that, as it really is never truly about the story, but about the relationships.  I know the story of them waking up to all the ‘’stuff’ was a touch of the Little Princess, but it was a heck of a lot easier than finding an explanation for it.  In a way, this is how children play anyways, taking a story they know and ad lib’ing.   I was so entranced with Mary Poppins when it first came out that I insisted on playing Bert the chimney sweep on our school playground.  My friends and I had so much fun making up the story as we went along, it did not matter if it was true to the original story or not.

I see Meredith taking on a strong lead, a sort of parental role over Rosey which will not be easy as Rosey is so much larger than her.  Of course, it is not that Meredith Bear is stodgy, she herself has a weakness for a books and stories and wants to believe in the magic as much as Rosey does.  But she wants Rosey to grow up properly and I see that this will be the contention between them as Rosey has no intention of growing up!

One of the downsides to story telling is finding the right presentation.  I have usually been the narrator, writing the story and bits of dialogue beneath the photo.  That is one way to do it.  The thing is, that anymore, I don’t feel the story is within me to tell.  Playing around with the text balloons is an approach that is growing on me.  It allows the photo to stand on it’s own, even if separated from the story.   It is a bit more free flowing in that multiple conversations or thoughts can happen at the same time.  Today, I discovered another direction, that is the audience participation, by having Meredith Bear do an aside as they use to call it in the theatre.  For me, that is pulling ‘’me’’ (or you) into the story.  I am not just the viewer, but pulled into their world.  I took the above close-up of Meredith Bear to test the camera, but oh, how she came alive in that moment!  I think it will be fun for Meredith to get so frustrated that the direction she is trying to take with Rosey gets shared with the viewer.

But I don’t want to get ahead of myself, I will let it all play itself as it comes about.  That’s the fun of playing with dolls! (…and bears!)

Meredith Takes a Stand

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I don’t know why these things don’t always come to me, but I was wishing Meredith Bear could stand on her padded feet and thought she needed shoes.  Well, I had a bag of stray shoes and clothes that did not fit anyone.  How strange they fit Meredith Bear!  And wowzers….she STANDS on her own!  I found a pair of knitted tights, a knitted cap, a few shirts, a pinafore, under-things and a rain slicker.  But it is those shoes…..she clomps around until my ears go numb!

2012-10-04 061 Rosey’s wig needed to be brought forward, it was sitting too far back on her head.  I always wash wigs when I remove them to get the water based glue off.  I trimmed her wig a bit shorter since now it was sitting correctly on her head. 

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And although I am sure Rosey would protest, I thought since she had her wig off for a moment, I would let you see a Schoenhut noggin.  This is before I gave her a good head wash.

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The wigs were nailed on originally, it seems Rosey has had several wigs in her day, I filled in the holes with filler (the white spots).   I really like lashes on her, someday I will replace these with softer ones.  I don’t want to change them yet, I am experimenting with how long they last and if they become annoying or anything.  These are a bit heavy for her.

I had such a nice morning walk, I thought I would share that too:

Just What is a Companion Doll Anyways?

Perhaps some of my ambivalence with my other dolls is the result of my companionship with my Schoenhut.  A most unexpected development.  This relationship feels different.  It sprung not out of my “desire” for a perfect companion doll, but from a need that was much more basic.  It was much more child-like and in a simple and uncomplicated depth.   I am in love with the most imperfect doll I have ever had!

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Part of it may have come with all our downsizing, our constant moving and shaking.  I needed stability, a sense of home, a something that represented what I missed and felt close to.  When Evie was my companion doll, she brought me a sense of new possibilities, a new direction.  She opened my imagination to photo-stories and sewing in a new way.  I will always be grateful for my time with Evie.  I daresay that every doll that has crossed my doorstep had the potential of being a companion doll.  And as in human relationships, sometimes the losses and regrets, the unfulfilled wishes can keep us dolly nuts continuing to reach for that shining star, whatever it may be, whatever we are seeking in that very next doll that sets our imagination soaring once again.  Rosey came in with her simple self, her old  fashioned self, her history and stability, her earthy woodiness….Rosey came when I needed doll to just be a doll.  A doll like my childhood doll.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately.  This intangible love of dolls.  Certain dolls can make me squee with delight.  Some can make my mouth hang open in amazement.  Some open my imagination in a new way.  Some make me cringe, some look downright creepy.  Some make me shrug my shoulders in disinterest.  I really don’t know why I stopped playing with dolls as a child and then took the interest back up as an adult.  I look back on it for clues, but all I remember is the strange denial I went through and semi-embarrassment.  It was around 2003 that the interest picked back up and it was important to explain my interest in sewing or historical costuming…and it took awhile to give up the pretence and admit I liked dolls as dolls….as an adult.

Rosey brings me a sense of home and the past.  These days, I am reaching for something deep within me, something I recognise, something I know instead of reaching for the star.  I think returning to Europe opened up that long supressed thing inside me.  I really want to explore this…but not right now.  My intent in writing this all today was to gather around me, the ideas of what changed about my idea of a companion doll and why that affected my relationship to my other dolls.2012-10-01 045 When I see Rosey like this, I see a connection to my own childhood.  A little girl talking to a companion.  That is me.  That is my daughter.  That is my granddaughter.  It may have been my mother and my grandmother too.  It is ageless and timeless.  It’s not created, it exists.

It really clicked to see the resemblance Rosey had to my childhood Chatty Cathy.  Clicked in a way that had me sit up and take notice.  I spent the other evening looking at Chatty Cathy’s and trying to figure out what was going on in my thoughts and my heart about it.  My heart was certainly thumping…a sort of excitement, as though I really did find Chatty Cathy again.  Or was that just a spark of hope and remembrance?

As I looked at the Chatty’s online, I tried to imagine having one.  It’s certainly not impossible to bring one home.  In fact I kept telling myself I could bring one home at the click of a button.  That’s all it would take.  Yet, that same hesitancy I have always felt when close to considering it, and that is “you can never go back to what it was by bringing home an imitation”.  So I looked at Rosey.  The resemblance is there and in other ways it is not.  Rosey has a upturned nose, teeth showing, dark hair and brown eyes.  But she is not Chatty Cathy as I see her, but as I remember her inside.  I think that is what the difference is between what Evie was for me and what Rosey is for me.  Evie was the utmost in my ideal of a doll and I wanted her as my companion because it was like finding a gemstone in the sand.  I wanted to know every facet of her.

Rosey is not what I see, but what I feel when I see her. When I think of all the dolls I have brought home and then rehomed because of this or that flaw or feature I did not like, it turns out that as many imperfections as Rosey has, it does not matter.  Rosey brings me the remembrance of my love of my childhood doll companion, but she is also her own self.  I tried calling her Cathy to try it on and it was laughable.  “Do you see a pull string in my neck?”  I smiled.  Rosey has the charm of Chatty and the spirit of Evie.  Perhaps Rosey is a little bit of every doll I have ever loved or wanted.  And embracing all that, a Schoenhut who was carved and pressed and put together in 1918 or thereabouts.   She is herself before anything else.

2012-10-01 013 I don’t want to make this into a dramatic undying love homage, lol.  I just have been wrapped up in the changes, the nuances and feel to my dolly world as I settle down and relax and realize that nothing is the same as it was.  My relationships and intentions with the dolls I have so loved, have shifted.  Perhaps they will shift again.   This is what keeps the imagination thriving I guess!

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And this little one has life in every wood splinter.