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Saturday, March 31, 2018

African Grandmother

This is my first commission for 2018. This is a gift for my customers friend. Her friend is retired and along with her husband and another woman spend 6 weeks a year in Tanzania “teaching the most destitute and poor in the African continent. The people in the area they travel to, are stricken by aids and new orphans that continue to accumulate every day.” The two women created a charity called “African Children’s Bookbox Society and they have a website with the same name.

The woman being gifted with this art doll has just received confirmation that a book she’s written for children, will be published.

When I received all the information I immediately thought of an African grandmother sitting and reading to a group of children. That was before I finished reading the email, lo and behold at the end, the customer described exactly what I had envisioned, so I guess that’s synchronicity. ;o) Here are the pictures and details. This is an original design by me.

I spent time researching to get the right look and when I checked on the costuming for this project, I was very happy to see the mix of colours and prints. I knew that they generally wear loose fitting flowing garments due to the heat. This costume is made with three different cotton batik prints. This little lady sits approx. 9 1/2” tall measuring from the table.

The sandals she’s wearing are more like flip flops. I saw all kinds of styles and colours, so many options. I decided on a simple pattern of circles for the pattern, given how tiny they are. I made the book box out of small popsicle sticks, and gave it a rough paint job, I wanted it to have a more natural appearance. The base is stained with one coat of wood stain and roughed up with sandpaper.


From the back you can see that I’ve used a wooden stump. I’m glad I saved some small rounders from the wood pile. ;o) The head covering is brought to the center and secured.


For her jewelry, I had a few options. The ladies I saw in the research pictures, often stretch their ear lobes top and bottom and use a lot of beads and chain etc. I didn’t make ears for this art doll, and with her head dress under the other head covering, they wouldn’t be seen. The beads for her earrings and the square pink ones in the necklace, just by chance came in the mail about three weeks ago. Who knew I would be using beads that came from Africa on a commission for an African art doll, especially so soon… ;o~



To fill the box, I made a stack of mini books, made to represent the book that’s going to be published. I thought it would be cute to have those as though she is going to give each child a copy of their own. The last bit of jewelry is just a couple of beaded bracelets for each wrist. So that’s it except for a couple more pictures below. Now on to some personal sewing for a couple of days, then back to the doll world.  Enjoy…..




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