Hi! This is Stanley. He was my brother’s childhood doll. I don’t know where Stanley came from or why my brother had a doll?? I rescued him from my father’s house years before a fire destroyed everything he had. Stanley now has a permanent home in my studio. My niece thinks he is scary and does not like him. I love Stanley and let me tell you why.

Stanley is not the most beautiful doll in the world. He doesn’t have his original clothes and his hair is vinyl. He has lost some of his eyelashes but his eyes still open and close. So what’s to love you ask. Well he represents a different time in my life and the world. A time when the world was still a little bit innocent and not so violent. There wasn’t all the technology. Certainly there was not as much hustle and bustle. Things were slower and calmer. Family was everything!

We lived in the country and rarely went to town. That meant we had to occupy ourselves. This included me and my two brothers and one sister. We had cats and dogs. Dad had a cow he milked and hunted venison in the winter. We didn’t know it but we were very poor. I remember a neighbor gave us a bag of used clothing  and we thought we hit the jackpot. I dug out a brown wool skirt and a tan vest. The zipper in the skirt was broken but I pinned it together. The vest covered it so no one knew. I had a really nice white blouse with a tie and put my pretty A pin on it. I thought I was wearing something really special!

I think this is why I love learning and using the old crafts…spinning, knitting, crocheting. It takes me back to this time when I sat next to my aunt and watched as she magically knit one stitch after another. Soon one row turned into another and before you could believe it she had a sleeve done. I could not wait to open her gift at Christmas time! Inside I knew there would be a new set of hat, mittens and a scarf. We all got a new set every year and proudly wore them to school all winter long.

As I approach the beginning of my retirement I am reminded of this time. I look forward to sitting on my porch or by my coal stove in the studio knitting or hand sewing. It does not matter as long as I can do it by hand. In my occupational therapy class I talk to my students about William Morris. He was credited with founding the Arts & Crafts movement. He felt we were losing perspective as the industrial revolution was becoming more prominent in our lives. He felt as humans we should get back to making things with our hands. Pride in our work made for a healthier individual. I tend to agree with him. I always feel good when I have completed something I made my hand.

img_0031          squirrel-quilt           felt-flower2

What childhood inspirations do you have? I would like to know.

Happy creating! Anita


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