Rag dolls are some of the oldest-documented children’s toys in human history. In direct contrast with their plastic and mass-produced counterparts in the modern age, these dolls are made by hand from scraps of material or rags. Each doll is, therefore, unique and made with love and care.
Sharon, owner and creative behind CuddlesomeCuties, is a stay at home mom whose children are now all grown up and she has, therefore, found herself at a bit of a loose end. With all this new time on her hands she has started sewing rag dolls and has launched CuddlesomeCuties. Sharon started by making toys as gifts for friends and donated a few to charity. Her inspiration is found in her love of rag dolls, but also the pieces of fabric, ribbons or other materials she uses in her creations. When Sharon begins a new doll she starts without any idea of what it may look like – it just takes form as she works. She aspires for her dolls to be cuddled and loved and to make people happy.
Sharon’s range of rag dolls includes humans, mice, otters, bunnies and anything you can think of. I think one of the most inspiring dolls she makes are those who reflect people of colour. I have always been gobsmacked by the fact that there is such a paucity of dolls like this. In a country like South Africa it is counter-intuitive that, while the vast majority of the population is black, a black doll is about as elusive as a Knysna elephant. It may seem unimportant, but when children play with dolls they are simulating the lives and roles they see around them. During play, children are dreaming of what could be and identifying where they fit into the world. Surely, all children should have access to toys made in their own image and reflecting role models within their own communities and cultures. This situation seems to be an unfortunate by-product of our Eurocentric world culture. Sharon is doing her bit in filling this gap.