“Lead Paint Prompts Mattel to Recall 967,000 Toys”
In recent years, scares about lead contamination in toys manufactured in China have had a significant impact on dolldom. Small artisans like the doll artists featured in this series of posts have had to contend with legislation that would have required testing for lead levels in each individual doll – an expense most could not possibly absorb.
The chemical processes involved in manufacturing plastic princesses are part of an industrial scourge that is poisoning the water and air in China at an alarming rate. Meanwhile the sad fact remains that most of the chic fashions we buy for our dolls are made overseas by workers who are paid a pittance to do jobs that skilled workers in the U.S. would like to have. (See Black Doll Collecting for an excellent post on American made dolls).
The joyous hours we spend in our dolly worlds are a welcome respite from the concerns of our lives, but “think globally, act locally” can also apply to our doll play. Buying dolls from local artisans keeps our hard earned dollars in our own community, reduces the carbon footprint of our collections since the dolls haven’t crossed oceans and continents to reach us, and allows us to more fully enjoy our treasures by reducing the worry that the materials will poison our children or that some sister slaved in sweat shop conditions to subsidize our fun.
It was a pleasure to see so many local artisans represented at the Atlanta Doll Collectors’ annual doll show on May 7th and to talk with Cookie Patterson, who was impressively well-informed about the market for hand-crafted dolls.
P.inK – Cookie Patterson
With a BFA in Surface Design, it is not surprising that Cookie Patterson draws the inspiration for her dolls from the fabric itself. She met Martha Dudley of Fancy Smancy in a quilting class and began creating dolls four years ago. Like many of the other doll artists present at the show, she works on her doll projects in between other tasks.
It takes about two weeks to complete a doll in this piecemeal fashion, but Patterson enjoys the creative process and finds it is very relaxing. She didn’t start with intent to sell, but would like to develop sturdier designs that would be suitable for children to play with. Which is her current favorite? “every last one!”