On April 11th we had the privilege to start a monthly feature dedicated to the original, great and awesome work of Carol, the creative mind with magical hands behind Anacardia Atelier. Her work is truly fresh and inspiring. Every doll from her tells a story and will make you fall in love. They are so playful and have such a personality. It is a delight to know that these little handmade and unique friends are coming to life thanks to the talent and imagination of this amazing Brazilian artist. Thank you so much Carolina for inspiring this community so much and for sharing with us part of your doll making journey.
– What would you like to share about yourself?
CAROL: I’m Brazilian, from a city called Franca. I’m not great at writing in English, but I’ll try… lol
When I was a child, my favorite dolls used to be little sticks that I found on the floor of my grandfather’s farm and dressed them in flowers and feathers. This memory is very present in my life. I think I’m still playing with them when making my fabric dolls.
I’ve always enjoyed drawing and I studied architecture. Since I was a child, I remember watching my mother sewing, but I only learned it when I was more than 30.
– Can you describe your dolls in one sentence?
CAROL: I think they are a piece of childhood. We all have a child inside us. I love when an adult holds my doll and says that makes them feel like a child. I like to think that this is my doll’s role: To awaken and embrace the child within us.
– When did you start making dolls?
CAROL: I was 32. My mother and I were making a baby bedroom wich had a doll as part of the decoration. At that time, I used to design the bedroom and the whole decoration and my mother would sew all of the fabric pieces. She made a fabric doll and I fell in love. I had to learn how to sew because I wanted so much to make my own dolls. So I got my grandmother’s sewing machine as a gift, and my first doll was a Frida that I still keep. Besides that I feel in love with the whole process and since then, I can’t stop making dolls.
First doll by Anacardia Atelier
– What motivated you to start your own brand?
CAROL: When my second son was born, during my maternity leave, I started making some handmade gifts, just to pass the time. But as I love making things and drawing, I thought maybe this would be an opportunity to stay home with my kids and make things that inspired me and made me feel good.
– Which part of the process you enjoy the most?
CAROL: I like so much to make the faces. I love it when they seem to look at me, their little face seems so full of emotion… it’s magical. It´s so much fun making their hair. And I also am an enthusiast about the experience of making tiny dolls.
– What makes it challenging for you? / What challenges you?
CAROL: There are a lot of challenges if you want to make a living from doing what you love. I think that choosing a fair price is always challenging. Is also difficult manage the time. Everything here is made by me, I have to package, take pictures, edit pictures, write posts, go to the post office, buy supplies, there are lots of things I must do.
Other challenge is that your hands are much more slow than your head can think. I have so many ideas that I can’t materialize, sometimes this is quite frustrating.
– Favorite materials/ tools/ fabrics/ suppliers, etc.
CAROL: I like cotton fabric, linen, cotton lace, woolen yarn, fabric prints, stripes, paper flowers, buttons. I try to be aware of what I already have in my studio to use it in my dolls. They are so tiny, that I shouldn’t need to buy supplies very often…lol. But I love buying a new fabric or piece of wool sometimes…
– What do you consider to set a fair price to your work?
CAROL: This is really the hardest part. Each project is unique and it is always complicated to set a price. The main value of a handmade product is the time you dedicated to it. Everything is quite slow, all the process take so long that we have to take this into account. And there is so much love involved in this kind of work, that it makes even more difficult to put a material value on the product.
Besides, I believe that all work originally made by women is undervalued and we need to fight against this thinking.
I’ve been lucky, because normally most of my clients can see the difference between a handmade product made with love and care, an industrial or serial product. They give me a lot of support and because of this I feel encouraged to follow my dreams.
– What´s the soundtrack to your doll making process?
CAROL: I love Music. I’m pretty eclectic. I love some movie soundtrack like Amelie Polan and Frida. Lately, I’ve been listening a lot to Nina Simone (my son always complains hearing “feeling good” again!). I also love Brazilian ‘MPB’ music, such as Marisa Monte, Lenine and Chico Buarque.
Sometimes I work listening to my older son studying guitar, he loves playing rock 🙂
– Any advice to other fellow doll makers?
CAROL: I’m not sure that I can give any advice… I think it’s important listen to your heart. Each person has different needs and paths. I always try to be in touch with the child I was. From time to time I need to experiment new things, new patterns, another kind of sewn. Sometimes I want to express myself, other times I just want to play with forms and colors. What I’ve been trying to do while making dolls, is to respect my wishes and feelings…
Carolina’s cloth doll collection: