There are so many wonderful cloth dolls being produced, by some incredibly talented artists right now. Many of these dolls are marketed as “waldolf inspired”. But what exactly does this mean? And do these dolls really conform to the ethos behind steiner teachings?
A Waldorf doll (also called Steiner doll) is a form of doll used in Waldorf education. Made of wool and cotton, using techniques drawing on traditional European dollmaking, its appearance is intentionally simple in order to allow the child playing with it to improve or strengthen imagination and creativity. For instance, it has no facial expression. Its legs and arms are flexible, allowing natural postures.
Traditional Waldorf dolls are made from cotton interlock knit fabric and wool stuffing. They are often entirely natural. Typically the trademark long hair of a Waldorf doll is made of mohair or boucle. Some doll makers use alternative hair material such as wool, rayon, and cotton. The facial features of a Waldorf doll vary with the maker. Most Waldorf dolls have small suggestions of noses, their eye and mouth colors are generally varied with each doll.
For me a true traditional Waldorf doll is beautifully simple, limited facial features no decoration, and no complicated clothing. They often have a velour body suit or just a simple dress.
So can a waldorf inspired doll be categorised as a waldorf doll?
Waldorf dolls are created to feed a child’s imagination, to become a friend and to be a comfort.
Some would argue that by adding more facial features and creating amazingly detailed clothing for these dolls differ from the underlying purpose of a waldolf doll.
I however don’t necessarily agree. The world is by far a more complex place than it once was, children are bombarded with more advanced animation, iPhones, apps, games, breast feeding dolls, dolls that pee to name a few! In many homes children are encouraged to waste away hours staring blankly at flickering tv screens rather than building the best ever corner shop out of cardboard boxes and the contents of their parents kitchen larder.
I think a little nose, or a suggestion of a chin is not going to damage any child’s imaginative play, do you? Oh and of course who wouldn’t want those amazing clothes!
I would love to hear your thoughts on this!?