An Invitation to Create…

Worry Doll Make

“Now, what do I make with my straw?’

‘Ladies’ bonnets?’

‘Fine ladies’,’ said the person of the house, nodding assent. ‘Dolls’. I’m a Doll’s Dressmaker.’

‘I hope it’s a good business?’

The person of the house shrugged her shoulders and shook her head. ‘No. Poorly paid. And I’m often so pressed for time! I had a doll married, last week, and was obliged to work all night.”

-Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend.

Traditionally, in Guatemala, worry dolls are given to worried or anxious children. The dolls are given to a child to tell their worries to, or to place under their pillow at night. The idea is that a problem shared is a problem halved, and by morning, having relinquished their troubles to the doll, the child wakes to a new day where the worry is not entirely gone, but seems less ungovernable than previously.

In their country of origin, worry dolls are usually made from scraps of fabric, wire, and wool. They are small enough to fit under a pillow, or to be held in a child’s palm. Drawing on the “green” elements of this tradition, here are a couple of worry doll makes inspired by volumes from our Natural History collection!

All of these makes allow for a worry to be attached by peg to the doll, and for it then to be removed when it is alleviated. These dolls can either take on the role of an objective listener, or can be displayed as a comforting decoration.

Happy Making.

Bethany Howell, Saturday Activities Coordinator