What a Doll!

A col­lec­tion built upon a mother’s love and de­vo­tion to her fam­ily and friends

More of Our Canada - - Collectors - by Corinne Erick­son, Cal­gary

For as long as I can re­mem­ber, my mother Florence has proven her­self to be an artis­tic, car­ing and cre­ative in­di­vid­ual. As a grand­mother of 25, a great-grand­mother of 13 and a mother of five, she has gone to great lengths in mak­ing sure ev­ery­one gets a spe­cial piece of love and de­vo­tion from her. Grow­ing up, she made us, her chil­dren, mouth-wa­ter­ing breads and buns, pro­fes­sional-look­ing spe­cialty birth­day cakes and in­cred­i­ble chil­dren’s Christ­mas toys, all cre­ated per­fectly with taste and tal­ent. Things were tougher back then, and money was tight. In or­der to help pro­vide for her fam­ily, Florence also worked full time. It was a ne­ces­sity of life for her to make these spe­cial cre­ations, but as time passed on, it be­came some­thing more. The crafts and bak­ing be­came gifts of love to fam­ily and friends.

In­spi­ra­tion for Mom’s orig­i­nal hand-knit­ted doll came with the de­sire to cre­ate some­thing spe­cial for my mom’s hus­band. A pat­tern for a knit­ted green frog doll caught her eye, and so be­gan the tra­di­tion of hand-knit­ted dolls that have grown over the past 15 years. Her dolls are now cher­ished, per­sonal keep­sakes that have come to mark each spe­cial oc­ca­sion in her chil­dren’s and grand­chil­dren’s lives. For birth­days, grads, Christ­mas, recitals and ev­ery oc­ca­sion you can think of, she has made her in­di­vid­u­al­ized cre­ative dolls for the event. They are rep­re­sen­ta­tive of her heart, soul and love of friends and fam­ily. It is fast-be­com­ing a trade­mark col­lec­tion that her loved ones will re­mem­ber her by.

It is not just fam­ily that has ben­e­fited from my mother’s tal­ents. Re­cently she made a doll for an in­ter­na­tional univer­sity stu­dent who was not able to go home for Christ­mas to be with her fam­ily. Florence wanted to make sure that she had some­thing spe­cial to hug over the Christ­mas hol­i­days! She has also do­nated dolls to the Fes­ti­val of Trees for kids who are in the hospi­tal over Christ­mas.

The hand-knit­ted dolls come in all sizes, shapes and colours. My favourite is a Cin­derella doll that my daugh­ter re­ceived when she was play­ing the part of Cin­derella in a high-school mu­si­cal. For my wed­ding an­niver­sary, she made a bride and groom, and for each grand­child’s grad­u­a­tion she made an owl don­ning the grad cap with a diploma in hand, with the year of grad­u­a­tion in­scribed inside. Given the size of our fam­ily, you can see the level of her com­mit­ment. Each doll can take any­where from a few days to a few weeks to cre­ate, and the level of de­tail is in­cred­i­ble.

My mother’s dolls hold a spe­cial place in the heart of ev­ery­one who has re­ceived one. We all look for­ward to the next spe­cial event, and can’t wait to see what new cre­ation gets added to the col­lec­tion! ■

Great-grand­kids Naomi and El­yse–and a few pals! Corinne’s niece Carolyn at her grad­u­a­tion fes­tiv­i­ties with a hand-knit­ted “nurse” doll from Grandma.

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