Each month around the full moon this blog will be featuring the work of doll makers/ artists around the world. The handmade dolls are very different from the mass production dolls. Behind every doll is a creative person who puts her or his energy, care and love in each doll and we would love to know more about them. Gladly, Joti Marra -creator of the amazing FOREST CREATURE DOLLS– kindly accepted to be our first doll maker featured on the instagram account dollmakers .Please read below to know more about her and her exquisite work.
– Can you describe your dolls in one sentence?
FCD: I use my hands, cloth, and thread to make dolls that I hope embody joy, imagination, and an innocent sort of magic.
– When did you start making dolls?
FCD: I’ve been making dolls most of my life! I studied fashion design in college and even considered changing my major to toy design. I opened my Forest Creature Etsy shop in 2007 but Forest Creature dolls as you know it, with these patterns, is about 1 year old.
– What motivated you to start your own brand?
FCD: Staying home with my daughter! I wanted a little something creative I could do to help contribute to our family. Also having a baby gave me the permission to really delve into doll making in a way I never allowed myself to do before.
– Which part of the process you enjoy the most?
FCD: I love embroidering doll faces! It’s the last thing I do and they become so individual and magical once those final touches are added.
– What makes it challenging for you? / What challenges you?
FCD: I think pricing is the hardest part. In America we are so conditioned to think things should be cheap cheap cheap! Tied for most challenging is the simple fact that I don’t have enough time! Being a mom to a wonderful baby girl is my first priority so often sewing gets done at night after she falls asleep.
– Favorite materials/ tools/ fabrics/ suppliers, etc
FCD: I love natural materials! I love my little gold snipping scissors. My most treasured tool is my pair of hemostats for turning long skinny limbs.
– What do you consider to set a fair price to your work?
FCD: Time, labor, and cost of material… But I also look at the prices of my contemporaries and try to stay in roughly that same ball park.
– What´s the soundtrack to your doll making process?
FCD: My husband is a fantastic musician so I’m lucky I get to listen to his guitar songs while I sew. If he’s traveling then it depends! Sometimes pod casts. Sometimes audiobooks. I love Sufjan Stevens last record. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Beach House.
– Any advice to other fellow doll makers?
FCD: Don’t under price your work! Your time is precious and you should get paid for it. Also… Take the time to find your own unique voice. You owe that to yourself and you owe that to all the other hard working creatives out there that have done that very thing.
– Extra: social media, online shop, email where people can reach you, etc.
*Thank you so much Joti for sharing! We love your work as you are one of the biggest inspirations in this community *
Ah! and did you know that Joti has one of the coolest cloth doll collections in the world? Here is a part of it 🙂