Meet Christina - The Woman Behind the Handmade Dolls
17 years ago my dollmaking obsession was sparked by developing an interest in Rudolph Steiner's philosophy (the founder of Waldorf education) around toys and dolls. Steiner believed dolls should be made with natural ingredients and dolls should have a neutral facial expression so they can reflect what the child needs in his/her play. I read everything I could about Waldorf dolls - sourcing books from Germany and Japan - I could not get enough info about these magical dolls. Around the same time we found out my sister in law was having a baby, I was intent on finding her a doll, the perfect gift from her aunt and uncle in Canada. Well, I searched and searched but the dolls were either too traditional or commercialized and homogeneous, like they had no soul. Back then Etsy didn't even exist and finding dollmakers was much harder. So armed with a book called 'Baby Dolls and Their Friends' I made my first doll and was hooked. I still remember making that first doll, my breath was shallow as this little doll came together, and I worked into the wee hours until she was done. I remember how hard it was to figure out what to use for skin and my trip to the wool shop asking for stuffing. I was so proud of her, Lillian.
I couldn't believe that out of fabric, wool, and yarn this doll had been born. Something was ignited that evening. I felt as though I was on a high, in a bubble where time and space didn't matter, in the 'flow'. It was pure magic. From there I started making dolls for other children, selling them to friends, local Farmer's Markets and stores. When Etsy started in 2005 I was one of the first shops selling Waldorf dolls and with lots of wonderful press and happy customers things started snowballing. By 2009 I had 3 sewing mamas and we couldn't list dolls fast enough. Now in 2014 - we employ over 50 women, have over 34,000 active fans on Facebook and have redefined 'cottage industry' by stitching community into every piece of the company. I've grown the business slowly with integrity which might annoy my accountant but has only led to a strong foundation. Just like our dolls Bamboletta is something I hope to see passed on through the generations so I've taken the time to build it right. I have so many plans and ideas for the future - workshops, DIY kits, handmade wholesale dolls, it's exciting to see how everything is coming to fruition!