The materials I use are ordinary: a variety of colourful cloth called feutre; raphia (strong paper ribbons); pipe-cleaners; cotton balls for heads; wool; thread and discarded bobbins; banana and coconut fibre; palm leaves; bamboo; pieces of wood; small boxes and similar throw-away items. Gold and silver threads make a variety of jewellery. Sometimes I make use of small ready-made toys or art pieces such as a sewing machine or a harp. Tiny props used to create an environment have a story on their own. Thread and gum hold the figure together.

The following pictures visually show the doll-making process:

The basic raw materials.

Approximately 215 different shades of colors of flannel have been used for the creation of the variety of dolls.

1. Pipe cleaners - thin flexible wires with cotton around, used to clean the inside of smoking pipes- are used to shape the skeleton of the doll. One or two pipe cleaners for the center -spinal cord-, and three pipe cleaners for both legs and arms will hold the skeleton together.

2. If the doll is to be a standing figure dressed with sari or lungi, a plastic empty bobbin cone or other is used instead of pipe cleaners for the legs.

3. The pipe cleaners for arms and legs are fixed on the center pipe.

4. Wool is turned progressively around the arm to give shape to what we could call the muscles.

5. Not only once but twice or trice do we turn wool around the whole skeleton to give it strength and shape.

6. A strong muscled base has been created.

7. Skin will cover the muscles. Skin colored pieces of flannel clothe are cut and stitched on the 4 members of the body. Notice that the extremities to become hands and feet are kept open for time being. Plan what will be the front side of the doll in order to do the stitching on what will be the back side of the doll.

8. Surgical cotton or other is used to give shape to the body of the doll.

9. Two pieces of skin colored flannel clothe will cover the body, one for the breast and center part of the body and another for the neck part for which a little hole is made to pass the piece of clothe through the pipe cleaner. This will shape the neck part.

10. Both flannel pieces are stitched on the body.

11. If the doll is to represent a woman, pearls are stitched on the body.

12. Here begins the dressing. The blouse piece is cut to adjust on the body.

13.The blouse piece is directly stitched on the body.

14. The body is now dressed with the blouse adjusted on it. Additional shape is given to the thighs by fixing some surgical cotton.

15. The head is a ready made compact paper ball with a centre hole to insert the pipe cleaner. Again a skin colored flannel piece of clothe is stretched and pulled around the head ball. The stretched cloth is stuck with gum on the paper head. The excess flannel behind is cut in order to give a correct rounded shape to the head.

16. This shows how the wool is cut and then carefully sticked with gum on the scalp part of the head. If the doll is to be male, the wool covered head is enough for the hair.

17. Ordinary stitching thread is used if the doll as shown in the picture here is to be a female. The thread bobbin unrolls in an up and down movement crossing in the middle.  

18.The unfolded thread is carefully placed on the wool covered head with the cross line covering the middle part of the head.

19. The doll is being dressed, with skirt as shown in the picture or with pants, all stitched on the body.

20. Now only the extremities of the arms and legs are checked and shortened if need be before stitching them and giving them a shape of feet and hands.

21. The head is now fixed with gum on the body. Some jewelries are added if wanted and a shawl is being stitched on the body.

22. The fully created doll presents the completed figure.

23.  Here comes the ‘Dreamscapist’ placed on the mountain top.


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