Saturday, March 28, 2009

11 is Enough, or is it?

This is me, Sandra VarleneOkay, Sasha, I know how you are. You are going to type every word I say whether I want you to or not, so I will try not to make any mistakes. Just don't start until I tell you I'm ready, okay. What do you think I should tell them besides introducing myself? Okay, I guess I'll think of something. Okay, I think I'm ready to start now. You can start typing now.

Dear Everybody, My name is Sandra Varlene. I am the last of MamaT's Sasha's to be introduced. That does not either mean I'm the least, Sasha. Now don't type that. I was answering you. Don't talk to me if you don't want me to talk to you. Now back to where we were. My name is Sandra, which is formal for Sandy, which is the kind of Sasha baby I am. How do I explain Varlene? MamaT's Mama, our Gran-Mama is named Arlene. Her sisters sometimes called her Verla as a nickname, so Varlene is a combination of Gran-Mama's name. Even though I am a foster kid here like Tasha and Shyvonne, we all have the same Gran-Mama, so we are like cousins. And I am like a twin to Margot Monique, cuz we are both Sandy dolls. But we are not identical. At least MamaT can always tell us apart. We tried switching places on our shelf and she still wasn't fooled. Problem is, I have sort of a cowlick in my hair that I can't get rid of. NOOOOO, that doesn't mean a cow licked my head when I was a little baby. Sasha, don't be so silly. I'm not going to get off track again. Also, it seems like my hair is slightly darker than Margot's even though we're both honey blonde. That would probably be hard to see the difference in a picture I'd guess. (Pause....)

So now that MamaT has baby dolls, Gregor boys, Sasha (& Cora) girls, brunette, redhead, black, and both platinum and honey blonde dolls, English and German made dolls, and dolls from every decade, '60s, '70s, '80s, and 90s, you would really think that she would have enough dolls by now, wouldn't you? In fact, our shelf is plum full—one more doll and DearDaddy would have to build us another shelf. But I see MamaT at the computer drooling over Gotz dolls like toddlers and Yamka from the modern production, and '60s Gotz dolls even more so, and then she sighs over limited edition dolls like Kiltie or Sari Sasha. Most of these dolls are in the price range where one doll would use up her whole Sasha budget for the year, so I think she can't decide who to adopt next. I mean she could pick up one, and then maybe see a deal on the one she really ALWAYS wanted ALL her life after her budget is spent. Glad it is MamaT who has to worry about all that and not me. We all like having more brothers and sisters. It's fun that way, but poor MamaT is just going to have more and more skids she'll have to sew for or buy clothes for, because almost all of us are in need of some sturdy play clothes. (Pause again...)

But I wish I had lost my shoes like Tasha and Shyvonne. I don't love to wear them. What good are they anyhow? MamaT should relate to that. I've seen her childhood pictures, and she is almost never wearing shoes. My Mama, her big sister, says MamaT's shoes were always lost, and then they would find cobwebs growing in them. MamaT says her only concern about running around shoeless was that she might wind up in Narnia unshod one day and could regret not having shoes on in that case, because you never know what the terrain in Narnia might be like. But it wasn't quite enough motivation to make her actually wear them.

(Long pause....we're waiting, Sandra V....) Well, I think that's all I have to tell them, I mean, you. I'm still talking to everybody, not just you, Sasha. For now, I am the baby of the family. We'll certainly let you know if anyone new comes along to join us. Hope you all have a super terrific day and that spring will be here SOON. (And Sasha says Amen to that!)

--by Sandra Varlene (as dictated to Sasha)

P.S. I have a website to share too. It is Cecile's. We just got some nice paperdolls from Cecile.
P.P.S. Cecile's site seems to have trouble loading, but maybe the server is just down today, so if it doesn't work today, come back and try again another day. It usually works good.

Baby twins, I'm on the right

It's the whole fam-damly
Margot, Cara, and Me as triplets!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

About Studio Dolls

Sasha Morgenthaler at workTasha's entry below makes me want to talk more about Sasha Studio dolls. I started an entry on this a long time ago and never finished, because there is so much that could be said it is overwhelming, so it's hard to know where to begin, what to say and what to leave out, because I don't want to write a whole book here.

So first, one paragraph about Sasha Morgenthaler. Sasha (a nickname) was born as Mary Magdelena Alexandra von Sinner in Bern, Switzerland on 30 November 1893. She studied painting and sculpture in her late teens/early 20's and married Ernst Morgenthaler, an artist, in 1916. She had 3 children, 2 sons and a daughter and made cloth dolls and animals for them when they were young. Sasha was trained as a mid-wife in 1934, and began doing commissioned art-work in her late 40's. She was 50 when she trained a team to assist her in production of her studio dolls. Sasha traveled all over the world and worked to aid refugees and children around the world. While her studio dolls were beautiful and popular, they were necessarily expensive because of the labor involved. She had a dream to have her dolls mass-produced so they might be affordable for all children to enjoy. This dream was realized in 1964/1965 when she signed manufacturing licenses with Gotz and Frido. She continued making dolls in her own studio and teaching doll making courses until she passed away 18 February 1975.

And now one paragraph on the studio dolls. Do you think I can do that? Sasha's earliest dolls had cloth bodies. Over time she experimented with different materials, such as gypsum (fiber reinforced plaster), wax, and early synthetic plastics. Sasha hand painted the faces on all of her dolls. The faces and even limbs are slightly assymetrical, and they do not have grins plastered on them. Because of this, the dolls can reflect a wide variety of different moods and emotions with a slight tilt of the head and can be sympathetic to any mood of the owner. As a child, Sasha once tried to scratch the grin off one of her dolls when she was feeling sad and her doll was not sympathizing with her. The dolls are proportioned like real children and are well balanced and free-standing. Sasha selected the fabric for each doll's clothing. Most dolls wore simple play clothes similar to what their owner's might wear, but some also wore lovely white dresses (which real little girls sometimes wore too). She made dolls representing all nationalities in the world and all socio-economic classes. Many represented street urchins. She also made commissioned dolls representing real individual children. The studio dolls were made in all different skin tones, though her signature brown-toned dolls were common. Most of the manufactured dolls were made in this brown tone which was intended to be a blending of the colors of all the children in the world.

Okay, one more paragraph. Sasha studio dolls are often identified with a letter and a roman numeral, e.g. Type C III. The letter represents the body type. A is a non-jointed cloth body. B is a jointed cloth body. C represents molded, jointed bodies of reinforced gypsum or synthetic molding. D refers to cloth babies, and E to synthetic or gypsum babies. F babies are similar to E, but the legs are straight and are sometimes called toddlers. The face types are harder to describe without pictures. I is a squarish face, and II is a rounder face, III is an oval face and probably one of the most commonly used, where IV is more of heart-shaped face. Most dolls were signed by Sasha on the sole of the foot. The signature would include Sasha's name, a molding code, the sequential number of the doll for a given year, the year (065= 1965), the body and face type and a code for the molding material. Sasha made roughly 150-200 dolls a year for over 30 years. She also instructed doll making workshops for many years, and her assistant, Trudi Loffler, continued teaching workshops until 1993. The dolls made in these workshops are known as course dolls.

If you want to know more, I recommend Sasha Dolls through the Years by Dorisanne Osborn and Sasha Puppen Sasha Dolls Bentali Verlag Bern mentioned in my entry on Sasha resources. That is where I got most of this information, and they both contain a lot more plus you'll get wonderful pictures besides. MamaT says she will probably never own a studio doll, but has thoroughly enjoyed their pictures in books, magazine articles, cards and on internet web sites. She says she is really grateful Sasha Morgenthaler designed these dolls that give so many people enjoyment, and we dolls, well we wouldn't exist otherwise, so we are REALLY grateful too.

Oh yes, and today's link. For a few more studio dolls, see Kelly's site:
And for a new site I haven't sent you to yet just for fun, see Lorraine's site:
Here's a sampling of few dolls in the Sasha Puppen Sasha Dolls book. I think the girl in the lower right corner was the inspiration for Yamka.

A few of my favorites--okay they're all my favorite