I'm making a series of Papoose baby dolls. I was inspired by a film I saw recently called Babies (2010). It's basically a documentary following the births and babyhood of four children, one born in San Francisco, one in Tokyo, another in Namibia and the last in Mongolia. It's really fascinating. It very much illustrates to me how much we, in the west, are having fewer and fewer "real" daily experiences. There is a scene which cuts between a baby in San Francisco, playing indoors with plastic toys and a baby in Namibia exploring the banks of a creek with his sibling which I found particularly moving.
For a baby, those "real" experiences of the world are so important for development. By "real" experience I mean sensory experiences of the natural world. That's why I believe that the baby should be clothed in natural fibres and surrounded by things made from natural materials as much as possible. Maria Montessori wrote in her book 'The Absorbant Mind', "The child has a different relation to his environment from ours. Adults admire their environment, they can remember it and think about it; but the child absorbs it. The things he sees are not just remembered; they form part of his soul. He incarnates in himself all the world about him that his eyes see and his ears hear...the child is transformed by them."
But I digress! Back to the dolls...In the film when the Mongolian baby is born, he is swaddled tightly in a blanket that is tied up with a number of ribbons.
The next scene shows her swinging her leg over a motorbike and riding back to the yurt on what must have been the bumpiest of terrains, ouch! It was quite impressive yet also slightly unnerving.
The image of the swaddled baby has stayed with me. I have collected a few colourful, ethnic woollen garments that I have boiled up and felted and turned into these little Papoose Baby Dolls. I think they are quite adorable. I'm selling them at the St Paul's Advent Fair and on Etsy/Folksy if anyone is interested.
More pictures of the other dolls coming soon....