I would like to introduce you to Irene Bodnar, the owner of Waldorf Dolls by Iren on Etsy. She designs and sells the cutest, softest little loveys for babies and toddlers! There's so much to show you.
How did you get started making dolls?
I loved playing with dolls so much when I was a little girl, even when I wasn't very small, around 12 years old. I loved dressing them up and sewing clothes and bedding for them. My favorite was a soft rag doll that was so good to cuddle.
When I became a mother, I had difficult time finding natural soft rag dolls for my daughter. So I decided to make her dolls myself. And I've never been able to stop it. Yet, over 20 years have passed since then.
Is there another artist or person who inspires your work?
There are so many doll makers who I admire for their work. But what inspires me is the material itself. My favorite pastime is to visit shops that sell textiles, yarn and kids' socks. I just touch the materials and they start talking to me. " I need to be a baby lovey," says a super-soft plushy fabric. "I want to be mermaid tale," says a shiny satin fabric. "I would love to be mermaid hair," says a bluish cotton yarn. And socks also speak to me, each whispering in my ear what he wants to be- a superhero, a bunny, or a cute little dolly.
Do you have a favorite style of doll you prefer to make?
I love to make every style of my dolls, but the most exciting thing is to make a larger size dress-up doll especially if it's a custom doll for a special little one. I make the doll, sew her panties, clothes, bedding and I crochet booties. Then I dress her or him up ... and undress ... and lay down to sleep ... and I'm 12 years old again. And when she wakes up, I ship her and I hope she or he will be loved a lot.
Do you have favorite materials you like to work with?
My favorite material is cotton plush. It’s super soft and toys made from that are so cuddly, good to sleep with and washable.
How long does it take you to make a doll?
It depends on the design. A baby lovey or a little sock doll without hair takes about 3 hours, but a larger size dress-up doll with hair takes more than 50 hours.
What do you like most about what you do?
I am a child again….just playing with dolls….and even earning money!
What are you most proud about your business?
I'm proud of two things:
- Most of my dolls are qualified by the Hungarian Arts and Crafts Association, which means that the design gets a registration number and all rights reserved.
- My little babies can be found on all continents except Africa.
Aren't these dolls adorable and so soft. To learn more, please visit her shop on Etsy and see all of the cute loveys. These would be great baby shower gifts and she ships quickly to the U.S., too!
Let us know in the comments which doll is your favorite. I'm torn between the mermaid and the superhero ;0)
And because you made it all the way to the end of this interview-and wasn't it fun?- Irene has a discount code for you. If you click on the link, it will automatically apply the coupon and take you to her shop!
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