Meet Dolly Jane, my first attempt at making a Waldorf-Inspired baby. She is weighted with sand and infused with lavender. She began as many parts in a bag and left with me at the end of a fun filled day, holding her proudly.
The South Shore Waldorf School and Kindergarten hosts an amazing weekend each year,” Waldorf East.” The weekend is packed with lectures, songs, workshops, fantastic food and a learning environment like no other.
There is usually a special guest to lead the weekend who starts the event with a keynote speech on Friday evening. Our keynote speaker this year was Dawne McFarland. Dawne is a storyteller, Waldorf teacher, dancer and writer. She is a longtime member of the Storytelling Toronto community and current editor of “Pippin.” A faculty member with the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto, she is the Chair of the Storytelling Department and teaches “The Art and Craft of Storytelling” to Waldorf teachers. She is the Coordinator of the Professional Development for Waldorf Teachers part-time program. Dawne was an instructor with University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, teaching “Modern Storytelling; creative writing and storytelling.
If that was not enough, we had another special guest, Mary Hirsch-Jones.
Mary Hirsch began making dolls in 2000 when her daughter started her journey at their local Waldorf School. Mary became mesmerized by the beauty found in the kindergarten and like many parents, she wanted to create a similar environment in her home. This prompted her to learn felting, doll making, lazuring, and puppetry. Since that time, Mary has made close to 1,500 dolls, striving to obtain and use organic materials made in the U.S. and Canada. She is the sole provider of Heavy Babies (TM) to Bella Luna and has sold her dolls to A Child’s Dream Come True, A Toy Garden, and a number of other smaller stores. Her dolls can be found in dozens of Waldorf Schools across the country and her customers are based around the world.
What excitement there was when we found out Mary was offering a full day doll making workshop. It is due to the generous sponsorship of a very special lady (and Mom of one of my students) that I was able to be part of the group.
On the day of the workshop I found myself totally out of my depth as I worked beside several much more clever ladies as we watched our babies come to life.
The doll did not come easy. It seems my patience for children does not lend itself to sewing. With much encouragement and a few false steps I managed to keep up, keep my cool (almost) and finish my task.
Mary (our instructor) with her infinite patience, kindness and knowledge allowed us to create a doll that will become someone’s very special friend.
The question becomes, do I take her to live in my classroom in September, or keep her here in my office with me, to remind myself that I can accomplish things that seem impossible.