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Which Came First?

The icons or the motifs? Let's figure it out together.

April, my little spring-like doll, was created in 1975, a year after our move to Vermont. Creativity must have set in when we settled here in our big stone house with two little girls and an orange cat named Marmalade. The little blue flowers were plucked from her arm fabric and embroidered with little leaves as eyes and eyebrows on her face. This little girl took off immediately. It wasn't all about flowers, as other motif dolls were designed and named -- most without noses, notice -- Melanie and Jenniferwith balloons followed. Then came more flowers like Agatha's and animals like kitties and geese.

Here's where the icons come into the mix. A dozen years ago I became a serious gardener through daughter Kate who bought me my first perennials and later gifted me with a bulb garden. It was then that I began collecting little statues and icons - some cheap plastic figures and others cast iron for life, mostly from tag sales. Sometimes one is placed in the garden as a surprise by a friend. The objects and gardening did lift me up from long, hard, busy days working at SCA. Weeding the flowerbeds with the objects smiling back at me released my stress. We have as many objects as I have designed dolls with "thing" eyes -- probably seventy. I can attest that many match -frogs with Freda, bees with Honey, and Bernadette's butterflies. So the gardens and icons did play an important role in motif designs.

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My friends Marlayna and Laurel helped me wash and dry my objects in preparation of their being placed in a weeded garden. The 6 year-old tactfully suggested I get rid of a couple, a rubber pig face for one. I did. But I cannot get rid of my motif girls ever. These are my dollmaking trademarks, that which makes my dolls so original. Are children afraid of them? Not if they see the whole body of work. Actually it is little ones who notice the eyes are different and who wouldn't adore Kimberly's rainbows!

So grandmothers, especially, come meet both the objects and the dolls. During July and August on Tuesdays and Thursday, we will be serving tea and cookies in the gardens as our mid-week Vermont special. Bring a grandchild's picture and receive 10 percent off on your purchase. Who said I was silly collecting those icons? Inspiration is not silly.

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