I realise that many people will be pretty freaked out by a baby’s head sticking out of a box, but I am immediately drawn to this somewhat freaky display and love a good handmade example of weirdness+usefulness. Will the Orphan Doll cabinet be your new nightstand?
Yes that’s what it is. A nightstand, or a jewellery box, a place to store your crafts, toys or whatever you like. You pull or push the baby’s head (gently!) to get to your treasures.
A short history of my personal doll experiences
Honestly, I’ve always found dolls scary as hell. As a child I didn’t like their heads, hard like rocks, their wonky necks, the sad looking eyes, the immature little legs.. What was the fun in playing with this? I was definitely camp Barbie.
Later on in life it would kind of freak me out to see young children caring for these dolls as if they were poo-ing, peeing, crying, food-needing real babies. (This was probably around the time manufacturers actually came up with dolls that were capable to do all this, s-c-a-r-y)
Since I saw Mike Kelley’s More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and The Wages of Sin at the Modern Art Museum in Amsterdam in 2012, I am even more confused about stuffed animals, dolls and discarded toys. The artwork is a collection of found stuffed animals, sewn together on a wall mounted canvas. The handmade toys part of this collection creates questions about too much love or too little. All sewn together it’s pretty intense to see up close.
I love a good thrift store, and I always kind of linger around the second-hand stuffed toys and discarded dolls bin. Like the Holyscrap team, I started a bit of a collection when I found my best furry friend’s sisters, in two different stores.
One I bought in Amsterdam, though she had lost half her vision, she still cost 1,40 (The so called ‘Amsterdam induced inflation’). She is the one in the middle. And a few months later I found another sister, in a clearly neglected, but good enough state, which I took home for one euro. That’s the one that is clearly somewhat depressed, on the right in the family photo. Though these mass manufactured ones (I got my teddy bear at a a supermarket..) create different questions than the handmade toys used in Mike Kelley’s work, I find it equally compelling. Sad, maybe a bit scary, but very intriguing. Knowing especially how much love and attention my teddybear has received throughout the years, I wonder; what has happened to the others?
And while I’m still looking what do do with my bear collection, I’m happy to see that these orphan dolls get to relive and be useful again. Uplifting upcycling if you ask me!
The Orphan Dolls
The collection of ‘orphan dolls’ that were the start of this project, has been growing since Marieke van Genderen en Edwin Booms found their first plastic doll in the trash along the road. The duo, a furniture maker and interior designer, together are Made Up Interior Works. Since starting in 2005, they not only collected loads of Orphan Dolls, but also a large collection of scraps of wood. Time for some re-use!
“Watching Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland made it clear. The famous line of the Queen of Hearts in this movie told us what tot do. “Off with their heads” and that’s exactly what we did, together with the legs and arms.”
The cabinets are made from OSB or birch plywood. There are roughly small, medium and large sizes available, but as they have been designed to fit the doll, exact measurements can differ.
Now, as you may have noticed, the dolls are armless. What will happen to the arms? Holyscrap, very cleverly, explained on facebook that we should stay tuned for more..