It's evening as I write this, and I need to prepare for a storytelling gig tomorrow at the Children's Museum. Saturday I have a gig at Ravenna Third Place Books, and then next weekend, I have two birthday party gigs. I'm glad that the storytelling business is picking up again. Even with the economy the way it is, it's unpredictable. You may wonder how I have time to sew! Hint: it's the only work I successfully do while taking care of my daughter at the same time. She provides lots of opinions, and sometimes even gets the urge to try a little stitching. When that happens, I drop everything and work with her on simply getting used to pulling needle and thread in and out of the cloth.
I've started making more dolls based on folk and fairy tales. Currently in the shop is a Briar Rose/Sleeping Beauty storytelling set that features Briar Rose as both a 15 year old and a baby:
About 10 minutes before I started this post, I listed Vasilissa's Doll:
If you are unfamiliar with the Russian fairytale of Vasilissa the Brave and her encounter with the terrifying Baba Yaga, please visit Sur La Lune to read the story. The little doll that Vasilissa's mother made for her before the mother's death is one of my two main inspirations for dollmaking. (The other is M.B. Goffstein's Goldie the Dollmaker.)
Yesterday, I spent a lot of time making a Snow White doll with a little felt box containing representations of the comb, the laces and the poisoned apple. The colors are based upon the dress Snow White wears when she flees through the forest in the Nancy Eckholm Burkert version. Lucia does not want this doll to go into the shop. She wants the doll for her own. I understand. (7/25 edit: She now has a Snow White doll made to her specifications, though she said, "The hair doesn't have much of a part." The doll is white and yellow with blue roses, pink wheat-ear stitching, and a pinch of dried lavender inside.)
Here is the Snow White doll with the felt box of storytelling props:
The Vasilissa and Snow White stories turn me inside out. It is one thing for the hero of a story to start out with parents who have died, but in both Vasilissa and Snow White, the reader gets to meet the mothers briefly and know of their love for their daughters before they die. Trina Schart Hyman's depiction of Snow White's mother in particular gets to me. In her face is so much expectation and longing for the baby she will never get to hold, and who will have such a hard life as a result of the mother's death. Fairy tales are often meant to be two-dimensional archetypes, but the details in these two stories are so rich with significance that I find the Disney version of the movie a little hard to take and hope that no one ever attempts a mainstream version of Vasilissa without consulting me first. (Ha!)
Let us end with light. While Santa Lucia Day is not until December 13, I plan to list this Santa Lucia doll with her accompanying Star Boy sometime in the next few days. (Edit: here is the listing.) May the person who goes looking for it actually find it. While the Swedish Santa Lucia is depicted as a blonde, the girls who dress as Santa Lucia for the procession have all kinds of hair colors. That's why my first Santa Lucia has brown hair:
If you are interested in looking at the listings of Snow White and Santa Lucia dolls when they become available, you are welcome to subscribe to the shop feed here.
P.S. Sometime in the past 24 hours, someone became the 100,000th visitor. Yay! I wish I'd had a screen-capture for that.