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Aunt Emily’s Dolls


Born in Washington, D.C.-- lived in P.G. Co. all my life. Am President of Riverdale Park Art Council and member of the Washington Dollology Club of United Federation of Doll Clubs worldwide since 1972, past President of Maryland Doll Club. Made my first doll at about 8 yrs old, a hickory nut doll for my doll house as my parents did not have the money to buy me the Nut Doll in Mt Vernon's Gift Shop. Dad said you have a hickory nut tree in the back yard - go home & make it. I did. She still lives in my doll house. Began restoring antique & modern dolls in the 1960s, forming Aunt Emily's Doll Hospital, as well as lecturing throughout D.C., Md., Va., NY. Had small doll shops off and on for 50 years of which I have been in Riverdale Town Center for 18 years. Attended the Corcoran School of Art summer classes studying human form. Developed the Star Child doll collection which are ethnic sculpted life size knit dolls with gesso faces. Developed a form of Woodland Art which is making dolls from nuts, armature bodies, native plant flowering hats, leaf/nut doll carriages in late 1800s design,etc. Currently I teach the art of early 1800 Bed Post Doll making to children in our town along with fashion dress styles. Dolls are made from wood finials, drawn/painted faces, handmade mohair wigs from goats & sheep. Wood limbs are made by a friend for my classes. Through a grant from ATHA, Michelle Burns & I along with Mia Enns are making a Riverdale Park Art Council collection of children's costumes era 1812 from official Kannick 1810 patters from 100% cotton fabrics of the Regency era, with bonnets, India gauze shawls which we are tinting them with red/yellow onion skins & other natural native plant dyes and mordants. Children will watch & learn the dyeing process. These costumes will be worn by doll club children (age 8-14) to programs & festivals at local historic homes/places. They love to dress up like Jane Austin & pretend with their beloved doll that have have spent many hours making. They look forward to a Doll Tea each year at an historic home with all the trimmings.

Artist Statement/Focus

All my adult life I have been designing & making dolls. For 50 years I have been restoring dolls for tearful children and grownups. I believe there comes a time to turn around & give back to your community in volunteer work the things you enjoy most - and do it for free & with grants as you can reach more children that way. Creativity of the mind is one of the cornerstones to inner happiness. I broke down this adult Bed Post Doll Class into tiny one-at-a-time steps with close supervision doing the face. If one does not bond with the doll face, one cannot apply themselves to follow through & finish the doll with a smile & pride. As the doll's face begins to talk to each child (as no 2 faces are alike), the child knows this is their special artwork and their self esteem begins to grow which propels them forward over and over to finish and show everybody. Unknowingly, the child has increased the development of their life skills of patience, attention to detail, coming up with their own ideas, developing better motor skills, bonding, peer critiquing, peer acceptance & respect for one another etc.

E-mail ourdollmom@aol.com
Phone 301 864 5561
Web Links
Location 6220 Rhode Island Avenue
Riverdale Park
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Entry Added ByEmily Manning Fanning | Entry #303

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