Not long ago Elsie started to show an interest in mothering her toys more when playing. I’d catch her tucking bunny up under a blanket or feeding her a bottle, kissing her on the head and rocking her back and forth. Wanting to embrace her maternal instinct and nostalgic about the memories I have of my treasured doll when I was little, I decided to give her a baby waldorf dolly. I found the perfect doll from Jennie’s etsy shop Wild Marigold. Jennie designs and makes all the dolls she sells and their clothes. She takes huge amount of care to make each individual dolly unique and perfect, they can even be customised from skin tone and hair to clothing and eye colour. We chose a design that would almost mirror Elsie – with peachy skin, blue eyes and fair hair and we’ve named her Maple.
Maple’s design is very simple, in keeping with Waldorf tradition. Nothing is overdone so as to promote the child using their own imagination when playing. Her hair is made of mohair and can be fashioned into bunchies, pigtails or let loose. She has a tiny nappy which can easily be removed or put back on with simple velcro tabs, a pair of vintage style bloomers, a floral bonnet and a sleep suit and some pretty dresses to wear. Elsie is smitten and I have to say I am too. I’ve really enjoyed playing together with Maple and watching the nurturing side of my daughter bloom.
I was thrilled when Jennie said I could interview her here. I wanted to find out more about the process of making dolls and what inspired her on this journey.
How long have you been making dolls?
I made my first doll when I was maybe 13 or 14 years old. I didn’t know
hardly anything about sewing, and everything I have learned since then I
have taught myself! My first doll is still one of my favorites, even
though I have improved greatly in my doll construction since then! Her
name is Indigo, and she was made with long, dark brown hair and a
bright, grass green dress. Every stitch in her was truly made with joy
and wonder as I watched her come to life beneath my hands. Every time I
look at her now, it reminds me that the soul of a handmade toy always
shines through, even if she is not perfectly made!
The happiness and satisfaction I found in making Indigo, many years ago,
now, is one of the reasons I wanted to create patterns for others to
make their own dolls. Soon I will also offer kits in my shop, to make it
even easier for those who wish to try their hand at doll making to
source the materials they will need!
What inspired you to get started?
I wanted to start my own handmade business and was aware of the
opportunity that etsy provided to do this! I have a great love of
children, so I knew that my shop would sell items for children. Right
now I mostly sell custom made Waldorf dolls, but I have lots of ideas
for future products that I would like to make as well.
I also started my shop because I wanted a source of income that would
give me maximum freedom to also pursue other dreams of mine, such as
becoming a foster mother! It is wonderful to be able to work for myself
and to make dolls that will be cherished by children. I just received a
note from a customer who bought a doll from me when I was just beginning
my shop, about 2 years ago. She wrote to say that her daughter has
slept with the doll every night since then, and now her younger sister
wants her own! Receiving this kind of feedback from my customers
inspires me greatly.
Why waldorf dolls?
I love the simplicity, gentleness and beauty of their design. I love
that they are made out of all natural materials (cotton and wool) and
how warm and soft they are to hold, cuddle and play with. Also, Waldorf
dolls are designed with simple features in order to allow the full
imagination of the child to be expressed when the child plays with the
doll. I have a special place in my heart for all handmade things, and
especially handmade toys. As a little girl, I loved my own dolls very
How long does each doll take to make?
A long time! Many hours of sewing, stuffing, crocheting, and embroidering go into the construction of each doll! Because so much time goes into the making of each doll, as well as the
high cost of materials, the dolls can be expensive for some people. So
this is another reason I sell patterns… if someone is unable to afford
a finished doll, they can make one themselves!