On any given day, you might find musical storyteller and doll maker Farida Dowler training for a half marathon, homeschooling her daughter, writing and performing songs and stories, making Danish pancakes, or putting the finishing touches on a Pink Heart Fairy or Red Math Gnome.
Whether she’s picking guitar strings or embroidering french knots on fairy capes, Farida seems to thrive in an enchanted world of her own making — a kind and gentle one that harkens back to the days of wandering minstrels, exults in the magic of story, champions creativity and the imagination, and treasures the invaluable human connections that blossom in the name of art.
Her Mission Statement is:
I care about each doll I sew, and hope you will find a doll in the shop that you feel is yours.
One at a time, one of a kind, full of heart.
I like picturing Farida in her Seattle home, head bent over her work, humming to herself as she adeptly draws needle and thread through felt, creating a new violet or cherry blossom friend who’ll find her place displayed on a nature table, held in a child’s eager hand as an original story emerges, or peacefully resting on a writer’s desk, a friendly companion offering quiet inspiration.
I first saw Patty’s lovely dolls several weeks ago when Etsy posted her enchanting stop motion video, “A Doll Making Story.” Instantly charmed, I was curious to find out more about the artist who was able to transform pieces of paper clay and scraps of vintage fabric into beautiful dolls with heart. All her pieces are handmade without the use of molds and are one of a kind.
The mysterious Patty, who chooses not to divulge her surname or reveal her likeness in a photo, lives in Florence, Italy, surely one of the most beautiful cities in the world, known for its rich history, culture, art, architecture, and high fashion. Who would not be inspired to create some form of art when living in the birthplace of the Renaissance? I still sigh and swoon whenever I recall standing in the Uffizi Gallery gazing at Botticelli’s “Primavera.”
I’m sure you’ll enjoy meeting Patty, who, in addition to English, speaks Italian, Spanish, French, and a bit of Russian. She named her shop “Dedalos” (“maze”), after Daedalus, the first artist and artisan in Greek mythology who built the famous Labyrinth for King Minos in Crete. I’m always fascinated by how an artist can make a doll actually resemble a famous person yet still emanate her own trademark style.