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 hopeful again.

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