With all of the new doll makers popping up, that is a question I am asked a lot lately. To fully understand what a Waldorf Doll is, it helps to understand what the Waldorf Method is.
Simply put, anything Waldorf is derived from the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, a German-Austrian educator that lived in the latter half of the 1800's. Steiner firmly believed in the specific, developmental stages of the child, and that subjects such as arithmetic and reading should be introduced to the child in a living way that speaks to the child's developmental stage. Each thing is presented through direct experience and is usually augmented with art, poetry, music, drama and movement. The teacher’s aim is to draw out the children’s inner capacities and abilities by creating an atmosphere in the classroom that fills the children with interest, wonder and enthusiasm. A Waldorf-methods school will typically include handwork classes, wood working and other “practical arts”, music classes, two foreign languages and eurythmy (movement) classes.
(We did not have access to a Waldorf School when my kids were young, however we were blessed to find Montessori education which has a very similar philosophy. I was fortuate to be able to complete a work shop for Assisting in the Montessori classroom and had the opportunity to help in the classroom and with the children on many occations.)
A Waldorf Doll is a doll that would be used to enhance early Waldorf Education. It is designed to capture the child's attention. It will always be made from materials that are found in nature: Cotton for skin, wool for stuffing and hair. A Waldorf Doll's facial expression is always simple, this allows the child's imagination and creativity to flourish. The child can look at the doll and the doll immediately assumes the emotion that the child needs for a fulfilling experience. Yes, a doll can do all that!
Anyone with a lot of patience can make a Waldorf doll that their child will love. I have always said there is nothing like a mama made doll. Selling dolls is another thing entirely. There is not a lot of profit in quality doll making... I put 16-20 hours into each and every doll I make. I use only organic cotton for their skin. I put only the finest wool into my dolls, wool that comes from family farms where the sheep are not only treated humanely, but really cared for like pets. They are allowed to graze naturally. My dolls smell good, fresh and clean. Wool is naturally antimicrobial so the doll won't go "stale". It absorbs the smells of home so a child can carry that safe feeling with them. The dolls are stuffed carefully and firmly (this took A LOT if practice!!) to avoid the lumpy look that can develop as the wool compresses. The hair is something that is really special to me. I have a passion for beautiful yarns. They must be natural, and they must be soft. There are faster, easier, cheaper ways to do hair, but that won't do for me. I make each doll as if it was going to be for my child, so it has to be special. Each doll has between 600-1500 strands of individually applied hair. I do the hair in a way that it can be "repaired" if a doll gets a little too much rough love. Using these methods assures me that I am making dolls I can be proud of. I have been creating dolls for about 7 months now and have loved every doll that I have made. It is truly a labor of love.
Thank you for choosing Apple Tree House Dolls for your family!
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