Cookie at 7 and she still is quick to laugh.
When did you start making your dolls?
My mother taught me how to sew when I was about 10 yrs old and I’ve been sewing ever since. In 1997, I was checking out ebay for the first time and noticed some of the most unusual and lovely dolls I’d ever seen. They looked old, worn and loved and I was so intrigued about them that I started digging a little deeper and soon realized these were created to look that way. I joined an ebay group at the suggestion of another artist and asked a lot of questions about techniques. So many were so gracious in helping me get started and it has become a lovely addiction that I’ve fed ever since.
What is your favorite type of doll, animal, human, paper clay, soft sculpture, to make and how long does it take to make one of your personality plus dolls?
I use many different mediums in creating, but my favorite is cloth dolls. In their own way, they start talking to me and telling me what they want for clothing and accessories.
Do you have a studio at home? What inspires you to get those creative juices going?
My craft room is an unfinished sub-basement that I call my “dungeon”. I take a bit of comfort in knowing I can get messy and not have to worry about ruining carpeting or hardwood floors.
In creating, I tend to get inspiration in the ordinary things. I can see a snowman in a cement block, an idea for my next Santa in a billboard on the highway … and my friends laugh about how I can get an idea and jump to grab a paper and pencil to jot it down.
What do you think makes your work so special to your customers?
I’ve heard many times from clients that my creations take on a life and gentle spirit of their own. I like to think they do, too – at least, they do for me J.
What was your very favorite piece? or the one you sold and regret.
There are several pieces that I wish I would have kept … most recently a Christmas Goose that was fashioned from a pattern by Sharon Mitchell. One day, I will make another and try to hang onto him for myself.
Another of my favorite pieces is a patriotic sailor I called “Sea Legs” – he did not sell the first time I listed him and I grew very fond of him. Not long after, a client found a photo of him and asked is he was still for sale. I do believe there are some pieces that just cannot be recreated and to this day I wish I would have kept him for my own.
Abilene is a sunflower head doll that I created a few years back. Sunflowers are my passion, so it’s no wonder that she took a piece of my heart when she traveled to her new destination.
One of my other favorite pieces is in memory of my Grandad, who always called me “Monkey”. I fashioned this girl with pigtails, clay slippers and even patterned a monkey for her to hang on to. To this day, she is patiently waiting for Santa to come and bring her adoption papers.
Tell us a little bit about your family. What are your favorite things to do?
I’ve lost both parents now, but have a lifetime of fond memories growing up in a family filled to the brim with love and compassion. I’ve been married to my husband since 1980 and we share a wonderful home with 2 Siamese rescue cats named Nip and Tuck. They did not know each other when we adopted them but came from separate rescues. I do believe my little girl, Nip had to become a scrapper to survive the shelter because she had little hair on one ear and none around the base of her tail. She would have been a perfect one family cat, and did not warm up to Tuck, much to his dismay. To this day, she tolerates him and every so often he will chase her around the house just to show her that he could be boss if he wanted to. We love them both very much and they are the children we were never able to have.
My husband and I love to ride motorcycles – our first trip was 2 weeks long and we left Kansas City and headed to Wyoming, through the Grand Tetons on to Yellowstone Natl Park, riding through Montana to Glacier Natl Park and further north to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. We traveled 500 miles each day and came home via Sturgis SD. I fell in love traveling by motorcycle and to this day would prefer that to any airplane or car trip.
What is somthing you feel very strongly about, what is important to you?
My faith in God is the very core of all I believe in and from that, all else resonates out. I feel very strongly for our country and our people but mostly, my heart goes to the lost and suffering. Being motherless at a very young age, I find myself very sensitive to the needs of our youth. My husband and I served as youth leaders for many years and to this day, many of the teenagers who now are married with families of their own still keep in touch with news about what is going on in their lives. We feel our lives are nothing if we are not missional minded, and belong to a motorcycle ministry called Bikers For Christ. We always try to look for ways to reach out to others, whether visiting nursing homes, centers for orphaned children or going into the inner city to try to be an encouragement to those we meet who are hurting – our goal is to be used by Jesus Christ as He sees fit.
Finally what makes tdipt a special place for you to be a part of?
I have been in several artisan circles and from the time I joined TDIPT in 2006, I have met the most caring and compassionate group I’ve ever encountered. This group of ladies is always ready to help each other, to pray for each other and stand beside each other through life’s bumpy road. I consider them my extended family and love each sister dearly.
I can't agree with you more Cookie! And can't wait to see what your next offerring will be coming up!