January 24, 2009
A is for Annabelle
Meg and I took a little trip to the library today. We picked up some books I had on hold and trekked through the toddler section for a while. Meg loves books more than any child I know and at almost 2 years old will spend hours reading to herself or having others read to her. People comment on it all the time. She's a great little bibliophile.
While I was waiting, the children's librarian came up to me (we know each other from lots of story time's at the library) and told me there was a special story time and exhibition in a few minutes and we might enjoy it. After prying Meg's books from her hands while she cried so that I could check them out, and then giving them back to her, we went to the conference room to hear the story.
There were about 5 or 6 older women in the room, all working on doll clothing and some had dolls in boxes next to them or on their laps. It was a meeting of the county doll club and it was about the book A is for Annabelle. As it turns out, this Annabelle character has somewhat of a cult following. The sweet lady giving the lecture had brought her Annabelle display with her. All items she had handmade for an antique French doll about 14 inches tall. She had reproduced every single dress and outfit from the book, every detail down to the locket and handmade leather doll gloves. It was amazing, stunning, and I about lost my mind. I can't keep my dishes done and some days my baby doesn't get dressed all day. (Maybe that was a confession I didn't need to make.)
This lady was amazing at what she did. She used period fabric for her clothes, antique buttons and tatted collars for dolls dresses. She told stories of sending some of her work to Haiti because there was a lady there who specialized in miniature embroidery work and then, later, flying there with her dolls stowed in the cockpit of a commercial flight to meet the woman and the village. She had a journal for the doll and pictures of the amazing places she had taken the doll, including the White House. My head was spinning. I guess if you are going to have a hobby, you should have one that takes you places.
As it turns out, she's not the only one with this hobby. The Annabelle Doll Club seems to be an international sensation among doll enthusiasts. I found this blog about one in New England. I wonder if in 50 or 60 years people will understand the Pokemon phenomena?
I don't have the book yet, but now it's in my library cue.