January 28, 2012

The Secret Lives of Clothespins

So yesterday was a bit of an uncharacteristically busy day, and hopefully I'll have more to blog about in the coming weeks. For now, here's an interesting discovery I made while researching one of my, erm, projects:

Worry Dolls. A bit of a peculiar name for what could tentatively be the next big grassroots fad to displace friendship bracelets. It turns out there's a Guatemalan custom wherein kids stick small dolls under their pillows at night, serving as a sort of lightning rod for all their worries. Is it weird of me to say they remind me of a cross between voodoo dolls and Hakuna Matata?

Of course, the real reason these things caught my eye was because their construction bears an uncanny resemblance to an arts & crafts kit I got at a store way back when I was in high school. They weren't marketed as Worry Dolls, but rather as some generic girl-friendly crafty project intended to engender creativity and sharing and all that crap. I believe they might have had some cutesy name like "Friendship Pocket Pals" or somesuch.

The good news is that thanks to the miraculous preservative properties of my notoriously cluttered desk, three of these managed to survive years of schoolwork, paper pileups, hoarding and seasonal insanity.

Yes, these are more or less the very same "dolls" I made out of that old kit. Similar use of embroidery floss, drawn-on faces, and even the exact same variety of wooden clothespins that for very specific reasons are not common here in the Philippines. I guess the biggest difference is that the Worry Dolls pattern used popsicle sticks for the arms, while the kit I got came with pipe cleaners. Incidentally, Doll 1 is nursing a long-broken arm from my preadolescent horseplay.

A neat but possibly irrelevant sidenote: The first two dolls were made straight out of the package, while the third was made possibly many months later during one of the off-days at home. I am still absolutely baffled as to how I managed to give Doll 3 picture-perfect Jessica Simpson hair.

I would have liked being able to make more crafty dolls like these. Now if only these kinds of wooden clothespins were easier to find here...

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