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Travel out the scenic Bodega Highway and find a tiny gem in the valley that lies on the edge of the Sonoma Coast: the quaint hamlet of Bodega Bay. Forever famous for serving as Alfred Hitchcock’s the Birds' film set, Bodega Bay is home to a handful of charming antique stores. Bodega also has its very own Artisan's Cooperative where a hand painted sand which board calls out “Meet Today’s Artist”. Venture into a clapboard cottage and awe over the unique works of local artisans, including German doll maker Christine Schreier. Christine’s dolls demonstrate fine skill and profound intention, earning recognition of the highest order among craftspeople.



What is a Doll?


Christine believes that a doll can be many things to different people. For a child, the doll is also a child – offering an opportunity for children to practice mothering or fathering by nurturing and caretaking. Following this belief, children only need one special doll as it is nearly impossible to parent dozens of “children.” An elderly person nearing the end of their days, may also relate to certain dolls. Knot dolls, or those with floppy limbs and a large head may reflect an elder’s form who finds while his mind may still be sharp, he has lessing control over his limbs. In one elder’s case, holding a doll provided comfort while moving through the process of dying.

Skills: Fine Hand Sewing, Knitting, Crocheting, and Embroidery



Handcrafted in the Waldorf tradition, Chirstine creates gnomes, finger puppets, and forest folk. Her dolls are “suitable for any age, from the very young, to the young at heart.” Created using bits of recycled cashmere sweaters, sheep’s wool stuffing, and finely knit exotic yarns and colorful threads, Christine Schreier’s dolls exude a tangible, ethereal quality which calls on you to pause and pick one up. Each piece is hand sewn or knit and embellished with her trademark crocheted collars and touches of embroidery.

While finding a doll that speaks to your soul is best done in person, such as by visiting the Artisan's Cooperative or finding Christine vending dolls and fine knittery at one of the many local Waldorf Faires, Christine recently made her dolls available through Etsy and her on-line Puppenstube (German for doll house) store.  Her dolls make excellent gifts for all! 

In fact, you can support Christine's work and join in her noble efforts to generate funds to support Haiti by purchasing a Valentine's Doll for your sweetie today.  See enchanting Valentine dolls here and give the double gift of helping others and surpising someone you love with a truly special doll.

Intention

Many respond to more than just Christine’s hand work. “My dolls speak to people’s souls by connecting to an innocence and reminding us of a gentler time.” Christine intentionally keeps her dolls form and expressions simple, crafting what she describes as a pared down "gesture of love" into the shape of the body and arms.

“I encourage people to look at an object they are considering buying and to consider asking oneself: What does this object convey? What is put into this doll that may surface in my life?”

As an artist, she puts a bit of her own spirit into everything she crafts - and what a strong spirit she has!  Honoring her self proclaimed gypsy blood, she lives with humble materials means, but enjoys the riches of a free conscious and purposeful living. For 30 years, Christine has found ways to survive and thrive while keeping to her doll maker’s path. While Christine may live a modest life – at times making a home for her family in tiny spaces such as a yurt or converted garage - she’s also managed to travel back to Germany, spend a year living as a part of a Russian Anthroposophical Community, and attend Waldorf-inspired conferences such as an upcoming event in Hawaii.

“As artists we have to initiate the change. If we choose to have fewer things, and to pay a bit more for higher quality items, we’ll set a new way of living in motion.”

Recognition

Those discovering Christine and her dolls are often fascinated with her creations and personal story. First featured in the original Ark Toy Store, today she’s enjoyed sharing her crafting with national audiences through renowned publications such as Living Craft. See her forest people or star baby pattern and more in past Living Craft issues.

Others proclaiming Christine’s magic, including the Berkeley Waldorf School who works with Christine to offer doll making classes, A Small Tribe blog, and the and Waldorf Mama blog.


Driving home with a delicate, winter girl finger puppet in my lap, I found myself reveling in Christine’s magnetism. I clung to the little angora puppet and tried to imagine it healing me… or at least passing on some of Christine’s impressive consciousness. After all, I’d like to preserve what’s left of some of my own childlike wonder and awe for life. I’d like to make a living doing what I love. So, I’ll keep this little doll near me to remind me of what Christine shows is possible!

Visit the Bodega Artisan's Coop to marvel over Christine’s works. Then wander about the store to see hand-crafted leather boots (sure to knock the socks off your Ugh’s), felted caps, hand-spun yarns, sterling silver necklaces, paintings and more. You’ll be glad you made this stop, and be sure to return again for more Artisan Coop discoveries on future journeys to the Sonoma Coast.

3 comments

  1. Sono-Ma: Holly White-Wolfe // February 8, 2010 at 7:02 AM  

    I just discovered a second post written by A Small Tribe about Christine. Check out these amazing up close photos of Christine teaching her doll course! Warmth and magic are all Christine!

    http://asmalltribe.blogspot.com/2010/01/waldorf-dolls-learning-from-sage.html

  2. Marina // February 8, 2010 at 8:20 AM  

    What a wonderful article which so captures the warmth of Christine and the magic of her handwork! Thank you for linking to my blog post about this wonderful woman and her work!

    Blessings~
    Marina

  3. Cara @ Natural Family Crafts // March 7, 2010 at 3:44 PM  

    Too cool! I'm originally from Sebastopol :)
    Cara
    http://naturalfamilycrafts.com

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