Saturday, May 31, 2008

Enter Sasha Doll, #2

Well Hello to you all! My name is Angela Karinne, and Sasha has given me a turn at the computer to tell my own story, but first I should tell you how MamaT came to discover me. She'd probably hate to admit it, but I think she pretty much forgot all about Sasha's for a few years there. But in 1999 after she'd be working at her career for several years, it dawned on her one day that she could finally afford a companion doll for Sasha. She was disappointed to learn that the Trendon dolls had gone out of production way back in 1986. She searched on-line and found very little information on Sasha's, but came across a contact for Gotz and ordered a catalog. She then called a couple numbers in the back of the catalog and got referred to Dorisanne Osborn's Crow's Nest store, which is where I was living at the time. MamaT was delighted to find such a knowledgable Sasha lover out there in the world. She told Dorisanne that she had most hoped to find the redhead white dress doll from the 1980's, so Dorisanne recommended me. Of course, Sasha dolls were no longer selling in the $50-$100 range that they had sold for in the 80s. Retail costs were closer to $300 for non-limited edition dolls, and I cost $270 which was a good deal. So MamaT splurged a little and bought me as a birthday present to herself for her 34th birthday. She also bought a replacement "Kilt" outfit for Sasha who had still been dressed in her purple wrap-around sleeveless dress until then.

But we're not discussing Sasha here. I'm introducing myself. I am known as a modern Gotz Sasha doll. I was one of the first dolls produced when the Gotz company began producing Sasha dolls in 1995, the first since Trendon stopped production in 1986. I have red hair, gray-blue eyes, and a lovely white dress, a little like the doll on page 46 in the book on Sasha studio dolls. Sasha Morgenthaler dressed many of her dolls in lacy white dresses. MamaT pulled a little of the hair away from my face into a ponytail in back when I was first arrived, and we both think it looks much better that way. More recently, she trimmed my bangs just the tiniest smidge because they always cast a shadow over my eyes. I was named Angela at the factory, and Karinne by MamaT. I answer to both names, since I am called one just about as often as the other.

All of my stringing is white, although that's not really an issue with modern dolls. Stringing color is used to help date the older dolls. However, I am strung a bit tight (physically—I hope that's not my personality), and I've got some slight caving of my chest just around the neckline. This is said to be common among Angela dolls. I don't know if it happens with many of the other modern dolls. I've heard that if the caving gets severe, the sides could eventually split, which sounds a little scary if you ask me. But mine is just slight, so we are just watching it for now. Apparently, modern dolls are more complicated to restring than the older dolls, so MamaT doesn't dare mess with my stringing herself. Kelly Wenarsky can restring modern dolls, and maybe she'll send me there if my caving gets worse. I will post a link to her site. It is a great site with lots of great photos of Sasha dolls from all eras, including studio dolls and Kelly's custom repaints. If anyone else out there knows how to restring modern Gotz dolls, feel free to post a comment on this note.

I was produced in 1995, but dolls like me were produced in both 1995 and 1996. A limited edition line of Angela dolls was also produced, which as far as I know only seem to differ in that limited edition dolls are numbered. It's the only case I've seen where a limited edition doll looks almost identical to a non-limited edition. Modern Gotz Sasha dolls were produced between 1995-2001. A wide variety of different dolls were produced, including babies, and the only toddler dolls that were factory produced. Both pale and dark skin tones were produced, and different nationalities and socio-economic classes were represented. Many of the dolls are similar to one or more of Sasha M's studio dolls. In 2001, the Morgenthaler family pulled the manufacturing license from Gotz, and Sasha dolls have not been produced since. I don't know the details of why they pulled the license, but there was something in the quality they disapproved of. MamaT's favorite modern doll (besides me!) is Yamka, an American Indian doll, patterned after the studio doll on page 100 of the Sasha-Puppen book on studio dolls. She was a limited edition from 2001 and not in our household budget. It would also be kind of cool to have a toddler in the family.

Goodness, I've sure rattled on here, but you never know when Sasha will let me have another turn on the computer. So I wanted to tell you all about the modern Gotz Sasha's while I had the chance. I'll post another link to Susanna Lewis' page that shows photos of the modern Gotz dolls. Dorisanne Osborn also still has catalog sets for sale. MamaT just got a set from her. Seems like there was one other thing I wanted to share, but it's slipped my mind, so I will stop here and post the link's to Kelly's and Susanna's pages.
--Angela Karinne

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Growing up with Sasha

Hello, MamaT here, as Sasha appears to have dubbed me. Sasha has graciously allowed me to insert an entry into her blog. I wanted to add in just a few comments about what it was like to grow up with Sasha from my own perspective. In any childhood picture where I am holding a doll it is always Sasha. I owned other dolls such as Velvet (as in Chrissy and Velvet with the retractable ponytail) and Gabbigale (for a short time—until her voice box failed), and we played with our Dawn dolls a lot, but it was Sasha that held a special place in my heart above all the others. I remember once showing her off to a friend from school and was shocked that my friend thought it was strange that she had blonde hair and brown skin. I thought it was one of the things that made her so unique and wished I could have a blonde, tan-skinned baby of my own one day. (At that time I had never seen a Sasha with any other hair color.) I even confess to once having a crush on a boy based primarily on the fact that he was blonde and olive-skinned. Later, at least 3 of my sisters bought their own Sasha dolls as adults in the 1980s. I was still in high school/early college in those years and could only drool over the catalogs wishing for a redhead in a white dress or a brunette in a dancing blue dress. I admit I neglected Sasha in my teen years and have to credit my oldest sister with rescuing her from the toy box. Unfortunately, her original clothes were all long gone by then, but she was stored in a cedar chest until shortly after I finished college when I was ready to reclaim her. Being no seamstress, I cut 3 holes in a piece of a fabric for arm holes and made a wrap around dress for her, with a matching belt and hair ribbon. I also worked to retame her bangs that wanted to stand straight up, and I curled her hair with rag strips. I hope she feels better taken care of now then in those days.
--MamaT

Saturday, May 24, 2008

What's in a Name?

Today, I'll give you a quick introduction to the rest of my Sasha family, and later I'll let them introduce themselves in more detail. The first sister I acquired is a 1995 Gotz Sasha doll named Angela by the factory. MamaT named her Karinne, partly after one of her best friends in college, named Karen, and partly because it just sounded like a good name for a Sasha doll. However, the Angela name stuck with her until MamaT finally realized she needed both names, and her name became Angela Karinne.

Next to join our family is 1980-1986, Trendon boy, named Gregor Vaughn. Being the first Gregor in the family, he had to be a Gregor. Vaughn is because MamaT's husband is a 4th generation of names beginning with V: Victor, Valentine, Valentine Jr., Vance. It is also for MamaT's middle name, which is Yvonne. She also has a little Welsh ancestory, so that fits too.

After Gregor, we got a 1972-1974 Trendon baby black girl, named Cara Linnea. A later version of the baby black girl was named Cara, so we used that name for her. Her name is partly after Carl Linne, the father of taxonomy, who later changed his name to Carolus Linnaeus. You have to understand MamaT is a botanist, so she likes Latin names. The twinflower, Linnaea borealis, was named for him and is one of the cutest flowers ever. The name is also a play on her own last name, Carolin.

We got 2 more additions to the family just this year. First was a red-headed 1982-1986 Trendon Gregor, named Patrick Terrence. We can't have 2 Gregors in the family, and we have a lot of Irish in our family, so a redheaded boy needed a good Irish name. Patrick is after a great-great grandfather, Patrick Carolin, (Victor's father) who was the first in his line to immigrate to the States from Ireland. Terrence is yet another play on names, partly after MamaT's name, Tara, and her husband's middle name, Terry.

The most recent addition to the family is a 1981-1986 Trendon honey blonde baby named Sandy at the factory. She is now named Margot Monique. MamaT and her sister, Natasha (which is a great name too, I think. It's Russian for Christmas child which Natasha was.), used pen names for writing letters at one time. MamaT's pen name was Margot, and Natasha's pen name was Monique. So that's where the Sandy baby got her name.

Since everyone else had 2 names, MamaT thought maybe I should be given a second name too after all these years. She thought of several ideas, but nothing seemed to be quite right. She thought of her favorite cat she had growing up which she loved just about as much as me. The cat was named, Kaylee, but that wasn't quite right either. Then she thought by switching a few letters, I could have a name partly after Kaylee, but partly all my own that contained all the letters in my box name, Kilt. And so I became Sasha Kaelita, which works. But in truth, I will always mainly be just Sasha.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Multi-lingual Girl

Idday ouyay owknay atthay Iay ancay peaksay ivefay ifferenday anguageslay? Robablypay, veryoneay niay ethay orldway owsknay Igpay Atinlay. Atthay asway ethe irstfay econdsay anguagelay Iay earnedlay.

Dobues abunyobune rebumebumbebur thebu tbuvbu shobuw Zobuom whebure webu lebuarnebud RububibuDububibu labunguabuage? MabumabuTbu's fabuvoribute Zobuom chaburabuctebur wabus Maburabu, bubut mbuy fabuvoribute chaburabuctebur wabus Beburnabudebutte, whobu coubuld twiburl hebur arbums.

Lopatoperop, wope learopnoped tophope lopanopuagopue ofop Opop wophoperope yopou inopsoperoptop anop opop afoptoperop evoperopyop coponopsoptopanopanoptop anopdop sopayop evoperopyop vopowopelop. Itop wopasop a soplowop wopayop topo wopropitope nopotopesop bopacopkop anopdop foporoptophop inop topyopinopgop coplopasopsop.

Tonghonge Asonianong vongerongsongionong ofong Opong isong Ononggong. Tonghonge rongulongesong aronge alonglong tonghonge songamonge, exongcongepongtong youngou songubongsongtongitongutonge ononggong fongorong opong.

Oops! MamaT just caught me on the computer typing this. I couldn't finish that last sentence fast enough before she walked in the room. But I'm happy to say I didn't get in trouble after all. She thinks it's “cute.” She says she's going to tell all her Sasha-loving friends about my blog. I hope that doesn't leave me tongue-tied. She also says I have to let the other dolls have a turn now and then too. I WAS planning to introduce them—eventually. She took a picture of me at the keyboard.... By the way, my 5th language is English, of course.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

My Story

In the fall of 1969 MamaT's parents were out doing their Christmas shopping. I actually don't know where they found me, but I have always imagined it was at the Teddy Bear Toy Shop at the Sherwood Gardens shopping center in Salinas, California. The center had a rustic wood porch and inside the front door of the shop was a larger than life (at least 5' tall) teddy bear. MamaT thought the place was almost magical, even better than visiting “The Sugar Plum Farm” near Gilroy. And how could a place with a name like that NOT be exciting when you're 5? Anyhow, MamaT's daddy caught sight of a Sasha doll like me in the store window display. Although I was a bit on the expensive side for a play doll at the time ($17), her Mama agreed, and they picked me out and took me home to put under the tree on Christmas Eve. I wore a plaid skirt and white sweater and am known to Sasha collectors, as a "kilt" doll (not a very romantic name, I know). I was manufactured in England by the Frido doll company and was packaged in a "crayola tube" shown in the video below. That was back in the days of the 8mm silent home movies, and MamaT has a video clip of the moment she first opened my crayola tube and pulled me out. I love seeing the smile that flashes across her face when she first sees me. MamaT's daddy labeled the film box. "Christmas 1969--the year that Sasha came". It was like I was an additional member of the family. MamaT is the youngest of 6 girls in the family, and somehow she was the only one privileged to receive a Sasha doll. That didn't prevent the whole family from falling in love with me. In some ways, I was like MamaT's little sister and the real baby of the family.

I've posted the video-clip below, but before you get your expectations up, I'll start with an apology. The film was taken as a Super-8 home movie, and it was always a family favorite for repeat viewing. A decade or so ago, MamaT's sister, AuntieN, transferred many of the old home movies to VHS video format by projecting them on a wall and videotaping the projection. From this version, MamaT used a digital camera to capture this clip by filming the television screen. Through all of this the quality of the film has gotten quite poor and dark, so we apologize for that. And possibly the quality was never that great to begin with. We also had the VHS version professionally transferred to a DVD, and I think the digital camera version is no worse than that. In the film, you can see AuntieN (who was 8 at the time) is as excited about me as MamaT and very eager to "help" her with me. The video includes a clip of another baby doll that MamaT got that year just because it's a cute scene, but the baby doll is long gone and never got to become real, while MamaT swears she would never part with me at any price.

The Sasha link I'd like to share with you today is Cecelia's page. It features a couple of kilt dolls just like me, and even shows an original sales receipt. Now you can see what my original outfit looked like. My own was long lost over the years, and I am wearing a replacement outfit which was produced in the 70s and not quite exactly like my original skirt. Here's the link:
  • http://www.dcai.com/sasha/

  • And now for the video clip, click the box below...(if nothing happens with the first click, click again.)

video

Friday, May 16, 2008

So just what IS a Sasha doll anyway?

I suppose the first thing I need to explain to you is just what it means to be a Sasha doll before I go much farther. Sasha dolls are those designed by the Swiss artist, Sasha Morgenthaler. She made and sold dolls beginning in the 1940s until she passed away in 1975. We Sasha dolls are exceptional in being proportioned like a real child right down to the facial and body asymmetry found in real people. Because of this, we can portray a wide variety of moods with slight adjustments to the tilt of our head. We intentionally have a nuetral expression so we can be sympathetic to all moods of the beholder. The studio made dolls are exceptionally beautiful and are made in the likeness of children from around the world. In the 1960s, Sasha Morgenthaler's dream of having her dolls mass produced, so we could be available and affordable for common children was realized. First the Gotz doll company in Germany and then the Frido (later Trendon) company in England began production. Trendon continued producing the dolls through 1986, and Gotz manufactured them as collector dolls from 1995-2001. We factory dolls have a dark skin tone that was intended to be a blend of colors of all the children in the world. And if I don't say so myself, we dolls are incredibly well proportioned and balanced, so that not only can we stand easily by ourselves, we can even stand on our head or on one foot and one toe. I have to admit my brother, Gregor, is better at this than I am as his stringing is in better shape. There are a number of web sites that already have good Sasha doll information, so I won't go into more detail here. The first Sasha doll site I am going to recommend to you is by Susanna Lewis. It has the most comprehensive Sasha information of any site I've seen. I will probably point out different parts of it that MamaT refers to a lot in future blogs. The site can be found at:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My name is Sasha

Hello World! My name is Sasha. I am a real doll. Do you remember the story about the Velveteen Rabbit and how it was loved so much that it became real? Well, I was loved so big that I became real too. I arrived in my family on Christmas Day in 1969. My Mama's name is Tara, but we Sasha dolls call her MamaT (T for Tara, you know). She was only 4 ½ years old at the time. She's a little older than that now, (I won't tell you how much), but you can probably do the math. She still loves me though, and that keeps me real.

I have been thinking about blogging for sometime now. People have a hard time guessing what we're thinking, but we dolls, since we don't sleep much, we have a lot of time to think. Unless we're put in storage and then we go into something akin to hibernation. Anyhow, I got left here by the computer, and while no one else is around, I thought I'd try out this blogging thing that everyone is talking about these days. I hesitated about this, because I come from a relatively small Sasha family as far as Sasha families go (there's only 6 of us right now), so we don't have lots of pictures of all the different kinds of Sasha's there are, but there are a lot of lovely Sasha Mama's out there, and some have really cool web sites, so I can insert links, so you can see more pictures and learn more about Sasha's than I can tell you.

So my plan here is to share various tidbits of information about Sasha dolls in general, a little about my own life story and that of my family which I'll introduce later, some nostalgia about growing up in the '60s and '70s, and maybe some occasional contemporary comments. I'm sure this will evolve as we go along, but I've got several thoughts to write about already brewing in my head. You know, if you ever met me, you would think I was the quiet type, and I am, especially around people I don't know well, but I like to write, so if you put a pen or a keyboard under my hand, you'll have a hard time shutting me up. Thus the danger of leaving me alone next to the computer. HaHa! UhOh, I think I hear MamaT coming in the door upstairs, so I gotta wrap this up. Do feel free to comment on any of my blog entries if you feel like it. Who knows where this blog journey might lead us?