MarlankieRoseEm by Mary Flower
It is April 24, 2002. It is the middle of the night, after the third day of my
doll class. I slept for a little while but awoke thinking about the things that
have happened the last few days. I have asked myself many times, these last few
days, why learning to make dolls has been so important to me. I was not quite
sure until today.
The last three days have been filled with much excitement, some sadness and some
joy. I began the class with 12 other ladies on Monday April 22 2002. On Sunday
evening I kept getting a mild rush of adrenaline whenever I would even think of
the class beginning. I had been signed up for this class for a very long time
and have looked forward to it with great anticipation.
We have each sculpted,
with Marlaine's guidance and instruction, a head, hands, and feet or shoes. Each
head was painted with special attention to color and detail. As I watched each
head come to life, I was excited but felt insecure with the personality my face
was seeming to take. I wanted a fairy(a good fairy). I was afraid that mine was
too different from the rest. I was feeling a little insecure about my urge to
be flamboyant. I was hoping that it would be fun, different and somehow.... me,
only without all the stupid stuff about myself.
By Wednesday night I was feeling
very tired. I had been going on too little of sleep because I was traveling some
distance to and from the the class. Other things were pressing me when I would
get home as well. About 9:30pm Wednesday night, I was feeling a desperate need
to sleep. I got into an unexpected argument with my 13 year old daughter. It became
a little ugly and it caught me off guard. I was not really listening to her. I
was not very patient with her.. As a result, I ended up staying up much longer
that I had wanted to. We did not want to go to sleep angry. Things were not completely
resolved, but we both went to bed anyway. I have never slept well if I have had
a recent argument with someone very close to me, especially a family member. My
insecurities about my doll making had also made me wonder if I was spending too
much of my time with something that I wondered if I could ever improve upon anyway.
I went to sleep angry with myself for not being a better mother. My dreams that
night were all full of sadness and also anxiety about my doll. Thursday morning,
I woke with 2 ailments, WWMS (world's worst mom syndrome) and WWDMS(world's worst
doll maker's syndrome). My eyes were red and whenever I cry, it makes my contacts
more difficult to see through. I was hoping that I could just get through the
class without anyone seeing that there was anything wrong with my eyes or with
me, for that matter.
Thursday morning's despair turned to little ray of hope when I saw all the beautiful
heads together finished on the cookie tray. All were wonderful! All were beautiful!
All made me happy to look at. Maybe, I thought, even my own.
All heads together: a real piece of art
more pictures below
Ankie was nearly finished with the major sewing of the costuming we chose and
cut out together with her magical scissors (as she would profess).I began to feel
As each of the pieces were brought together for each student, the room was filled
with a continual flow of excited oohs and aahs. My costume was one of the last.
Again, doubt was creeping in. My costume was not seeming to come together like
everyone else's. Ankie and Marlaine kept telling me to not to worry and that it
would come together. Their encougement was appreciated. As I waited for more instruction
from Ankie, I walked about the room admiring each doll and the beautiful costuming
that was going on with each. Each and every doll was magnificent. I only hoped
that mine would not be so odd that I would be embarrassed. Ankie seemed to work
miracles in color and design for each and every creation in that room, but I feared
that mine was so strange and yet too plain with my choice of color and design,
that there would not be enough inspiration to save it. I hoped that I could justify
the time, effort and money I had spent to come to the class. I also kept thinking
of my beautiful daughter and how I had let her down. I kept working away hoping
that my sadness would not over take me. I kept hoping that Ankie could save some
of her magic for me.
It was nearly time to leave. I went one more time to Ankie for instruction and
inspiration. We kept rearranging the pieces to see how they would work. Suddenly
they did!. A beautiful and unusual doll began to emerge from a costume that was
like a fantastic opening flower. I could not help it, the tears came down and
I could not stop them. I thought I must look so stupid to cry over a doll. But
as I looked around, I saw some of my fellow doll makers with tears as well. Why
was I crying? Why were they crying? Why was a doll so important to me and to them.
Ankie hugged me. She seemed to know. I was not sure what was happening. It was
not until I left that I realized. I knew then that from the heart of every true
dollmaker was a doll that would be worth making. It is the dollmaker alone that
makes the final decision on that. I have struggled for many years to learn, with
much discouragement with my own abitlities. Oh how horrible it would be if everyone
knew how many dolls I have thrown away or hidden away at the bottom of a deep
box. I kept struggling to get it more right than the time before. I have tried
not to compare myself with those that have "arrived". Here was a room full of
dollmakers with the same dreams as mine. I pray that each will leave with the
hope that they too can make it happen.
I am naming my doll "MarlankieRoseEm" I want to put it in my bedroom on my best
shelf. Each time I look at it, I will remember a room full of happy and excited
dollmakers, wanting to make a doll worth making. It will also remind me of two
wonderful teachers that were full of life and inspiration. Marlaine and Ankie
have helped me believe that I may still yet make many more beautiful dolls. Marlankie
is their name combined. Most importantly, it will also remind me that I can be
a better mother and a better listener to my children. Rose is the middle name
of my youngest daughter, Megan Rose and Em is a short name for my second daughter,Emily.
It will remind me that I can improve in motherhood making myself, with God's help,
a mother worth being called Mom. Maybe next time I make a beautiful doll, my joy
or pain will somehow be imbedded in it's making.
April 29,2002. I am sitting here in front of my computer again and I am thinking
back again about my doll class. I consider the doll class with Marlaine and Ankie,
a turning point in my life with dollmaking. When I came home with my doll, my
husband was very amazed. He saw how happy I was and what a good job I had done
on my doll. His comment to me was "This class has really made you believe in yourself,
hasn't it?" I can say with pride and confidence say, "Yes!" I want to take this
class again. No, I mean to say I "will" take this class again!
Ankie Daanen explaining
Deborah Williams and her doll
Dena Hansen and her doll
Faith Hansen and her doll
Gayle Mohatt and her doll
Helen Lindenmuth and her doll
Kathy Ravenberg and her doll
Kim Browns doll
Linda Scharf and her doll
Mary Flower and MarlankieRoseEm
Merribeth Hill and her doll
Michelle Dornan and her doll
Pat Nelson and her doll