Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Doll Whisperer

Sometimes when my husband is out of town on a trip and I'm here in my big old house all by my lonesome (I'd accompany him every time, but that's not always possible!), I find myself yearning for a little human companionship--especially after the sun goes down. Knowing that I'm the only one sleeping in the house--that there are dark empty bedrooms with cold empty beds in them all around me--can make me feel really lonely at times. Thank goodness for the twin porcelain baby dolls who have taken up residence in what we've always called the "guest room."

You know how they say that some people talk to plants? Well, I'm embarrassed to admit that I've found myself talking to these dolls! They are newborn-sized, with wobbly heads and weighted bottoms, and they look amazingly life-like, lying there asleep together, wearing their matching christening gowns (which would fit real newborn babies). I experiment with posing these wee ones a number of ways, so that they are nestled into one another or their arms become intertwined. "Hello, you cute little things," I'll say.

Holy mackerel, I sound like a nut job! I'm...the Doll Whisperer. It would be more normal to be one of those crazy old cat ladies; at least they talk to living, breathing creatures!

I do love these darling baby dolls, though. I made them years ago, when I was taking a weekly porcelain doll-making class. The mold for the head and hands is the work of a doll artist named Boots Tyner, and she called her creation "Sugar Britches." The first doll I ever made in my class was the blond Sugar Britches on the left, who came home with me in 1994. My dear late mother-in-law, a fellow doll enthusiast, was very interested in the whole doll-making business (she had a kiln of her own and produced beautiful ceramic angels, which now grace the homes of her children), so I made the brunette one on the right for her in 1995. I recently brought that sweet dark-haired beauty home to join her fraternal twin sister, in order to help my siblings-in-law with the task of clearing out some of the excess bric-a-brac in the family homestead.

Obviously, I like real babies a whole lot better than these porcelain imposters. Lucky for me, I get to see my eight-month-old identical twin granddaughters--living dolls if you ever saw them--in about a week!

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