Students in Ms. Ashworth's Craft & Design class had a special guest speaker in class this week (via Zoom). A Doll Like Me designer Amy Jandrisevits spoke to the students about her mission and her craft. Jandrisevits designs dolls for children who did not have anything in the store that look like them.
She wanted children with physical or medical differences to be able to see themselves in the toys they played with, so she started A Doll Like Me, making one-of-a-kind, handmade cloth dolls that reflect the amazing spirit of each child who receives one. She has made dolls with a missing limb, a hearing aid, scars, and prosthetics.
"Medical costs often make 'extras' out of reach for families, so this is a very practical way to offer help," she says.
Ashworth's Craft and Design students will take inspiration from Jandrisevits and make "good JuJu" dolls this quarter. Ashworth asked the students what they want to overcome this year. Do they have a weakness or a place they'd like to be better academically, athletically, personally? What do they want to attract into their lives?
"The doll does not have to look like them," Ashworth says, "in fact, one student a few years ago made a seated buddha because she wanted to be more calm."
Once students have done the personal reflection to decide what their doll represents, they begin the multi-step process of creating the doll starting with designing a pattern. Students will learn embroidery, stamping and bahtik, using those mediums to embellish the surface of the doll they're creating. The doll will be hand stitched. But before that final stitch is made, students will make an amulet out of clay that goes inside the doll which will represent their core.
We will be following the progress of this project throughout the year.