Worry dolls originated in Guatemala and are said to take your worries away. They may have very crude drawn dots for eyes or faces, or they may be entirely faceless. Either way they are said to help calm the fears of children.
According to The Information Please Girls' Almanac By Alice Siegel - Page 148, "Worry Dolls - These are tiny dolls from Guatemala. You tell one worry to each doll, place the dolls you've told your worries to under your pillow, and by the morning they've taken your troubles away."
If you would like to see or read more of this article please click here.
The Utah Museum of Fine Arts created a wonderful Folk Art Dolls .PDF tutorial. The .PDF includes an introduction into "Doll Making As A Folk Art Tradition" and tutorials on making 4 different types of Folk Art dolls.
According to the tutorial, "According to folklore, the doll will worry in the person's place, letting the child sleep peacefully. The child will wake up without their worries, which will have been taken away by the dolls overnight. The dolls come in sets of six and the Guatemalan tradition is to use one of the six worry dolls each night. After six nights the worry is gone. The dolls are usually 1/2" to 2" tall and handmade using wood or wire as a frame and cotton fabric or thread for clothing."
Included in this tutorial is a section on Page 14 & 15 on How-To Guatemalan Worry Dolls, like the doll in the picture to the right.
If you would like to see and read the Folk Art Dolls tutorial please click here.
According to the University of Minnesota article on The Legend of the Worry Dolls by Sara McDonnell, "The indigenous people from the Highlands in Guatemala created Worry Dolls many generations ago as a remedy for worrying. According to the Mayan legend, when worrying keeps a person awake, he or she tells a worry to as many dolls as necessary. Then the worrier places the dolls under his or her pillow. The dolls take over the worrying for the person who then sleeps peacefully through the night. When morning breaks, the person awakens without the worries that the dolls took away during the night."
If you would like to read that article please click here.
If you would like to make a worry doll of your own there are many websites showing how using wire, tie twists, clothespins, popsicle sticks, toothpicks, pipe cleaners, etc.
There is a How to Craft a Worry Doll tutorial by Dale Cook on the Snapguide.com website showing how to make the faceless worry dolls, shown in the picture to the right.
If you would like to read this How to Craft a Worry Doll tutorial please click here.
The Crafty Teacher - Crafty Ideas for Pre-K-12 Art Projects, Recycling, and Educational Demonstrations blog has a wonderful Make Your Own Worry Dolls or Toothpick People tutorial showing how to make the faceless worry dolls, shown in the picture to the left, from toothpicks.
If you would like to read the Make Your Own Worry Dolls or Toothpick People tutorial please click here.
Worry dolls have become extremely popular in the last few years and have definitely come into the 21st century as Neopets.com even ran a worry doll contest. The rules were as follows:
Your challenge for this week is to create worry dolls. These should be of a favourite character on Neopets.com. Please tell us what you used to make your doll and also what character your doll is of in the description. We're judging the dolls on beauty, cleverness, and overall awesomeness.
Some of the worry dolls submitted had faces, some did not. If you would like to see pictures of all the participants and the winners please click here.
The University of Wisconsin Extension program generated a terrific 4-H Afterschool International Program - It's A Small World Guatemala activity plan tutorial showing you how to make both faceless worry dolls, like those shown in the picture to the right, and worry dolls with faces.
If you would like to read the It's A Small World Guatemala tutorial please click here.
Heidi Boyd has a tutorial on her Crafty Inspiration blog showing how to make a faceless worry doll from pipe cleaners. If you would like to see this tutorial please click here.
Angela Michelle Rousseau makes the most incredible faceless 2 1/2" toothpick dolls which are all art forms unto themselves. In her skilled hands she turns her toothpick dolls into beautiful and elaborate art doll creations.
She created a 6-part tutorial on her Angela Michelle Dolls - The Elegant Toothpick blog showing how to make the beautiful faceless toothpick doll shown in the picture to the left.
If you would like to see and read her 6-part tutorials please click on the links below:
Toothpick Doll Tutorial #1: Supplies & Bodies
Toothpick Doll Tutorial #2: A Dress & Some Arms
Toothpick Doll Tutorial #3: A Shoulder to Lean On
Toothpick Doll Tutorial #4: Finally a Head!
Toothpick Doll Tutorial #5: Toothpick Salon
Toothpick Doll Tutorial #6: Finishing Touches
The faceless toothpick doll shown in the picture above and to the right is Emeline, Lady de Couer-dents (Lady of Toothpicks).
The faceless toothpick doll shown in the picture to the left is Rapunzel.
Here's what Angela posted in her blog as to her Rapunzel toothpick doll, shown in the picture to the left, "I am a doll maker. You can make dolls out of all sorts of things - clay, cloth & porcelain are the usual suspects. I use toothpicks. Look closely at Rapunzel here. Imagine the head stripped down to a single toothpick. Under the dress are two spindly little toothpick legs (thank goodness for floor-length skirts). Each arm is two pieces of toothpick, attached to look bent at the elbow. Everything added to the toothpick skeleton: the head, the body structure, the gown, the hair, the flowers, is all embroidery floss, or thread. Yes, I'm nuts; yes, I love it."
Not only does Angela make faceless dolls out of toothpicks, but she decided to challenge herself even further by making tiny faceless "Penny People" like the doll shown in the picture to the right out of string and tiny wires in the arms.
I think Angela's doll are just amazing and hope you would agree.
If you would like to see more of her dolls please visit her Angela Michelle Dolls - The Elegant Toothpick blog here or her Angela Rosseau - Angela Michelle Dolls Flickr account here.