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The Doll Artist

My name is Eusebia. I donít know if you can call me a doll artist but I have been making dolls since 1989. I am a nurse and I injured my back while lifting heavy patients in a medical floor so I move to the Pediatric Department of the Hospital where I worked. I had to work nights, that was the only opening shift for me. One night as I was making my rounds I heard my young patient crying. She said her mother forgot to bring her dolly and she canít sleep without her. I told her to go back to sleep and I promise to bring a doll just like her dolly when I come back to work. I usually keep scraps of fabric in my locker for my quilting hobby. When the fabrics were in front of me I realized I donít know how to make a doll. I never made a doll before. The promise that I made to the little girl motivated me to make the doll. Armed with paper, pencil, and a pair scissors I started to cut out the pattern of my doll. I embroidered the facial feature of the doll then sewed the entire doll at home. The following night when I went back to work the girl was waiting for me in the nurse station. As I gave her the package, the child hugged and thanked me for her doll and disappear into her room. The smile of the child as she saw her doll inspired me to make more dolls and my quilting was pushed aside. Soon our nurse station was decorated with my dolls. There were elves, super heroes, witches, hanging up the ceiling. Pocahontas and John Smith in the highest shelf. Pilgrims and Halloween dolls were in the counter. Doctors, coworkers, patients, visitors, nurses and other hospital staff came to see my dolls on display. Some of my coworkers ask me to make a doll or two for their bed. Some brought pictures of their children and ask me to replicate their faces in the doll. Soon my doll making became know in the hospital. Everyone wanted to buy my doll. Even my decorative displays were bought.

I learned sewing from my mother very early in life. I just love to sew. By the time I was 13 I was sewing my clothes. Soon people in the community started to ask me to sew their clothes according to their own design. I was having fun designing and sewing clothes as I found new ideas how to make it better. Then I had to stop sewing to start a career in nursing.

I donít have a proper training in doll making. I have not attended a class or read a book when I made my first doll. It was necessity that give me the courage to make the doll. There were mistakes in my first doll. In an attempt to correct my mistakes I keep making the dolls. The most intricate work I did was to design the shoes. The twist and turn were challenging and in the end I got it right and a child will never lost a shoe again while playing with her doll. My experience in dress making became useful in my doll making.

In 1996 I retired from my nursing career. I made plans to travel and the first place I wanted to visit was the island where I was born and raised in the Philippines called Maripipi. What I saw when I arrived in the island was sad. People I know who were middle income when I left are now living in poverty. The aluminum and plastics have replaced the clay products they produced that give them their livelihood. I remembered about the dolls I used to make in the hospital, the dolls that gave joy to the people who saw them as the pass by the Pediatric Department of United Hospital.