Some dolls look better in the snow

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

I was wandering through a big box store, when something caught my eye in the toy department. I didn’t take the time to investigate but when I got home, I did a quick search using the two words that had registered in my brain.

“Wipey Dipey.”

When I was a kid, dolls were fairly simple. Several of them had eyes that opened and closed. Others writhed around when a string was pulled, and some had hair that “grew” when you yanked at it.

Nowadays, dolls have become much more complicated. 

Case in point… the Little Mommy Wipey Dipey doll.

This is a toy created for ages 3 and up and just writing about it is yucking me out a little. From what I can tell, you give the doll a bottle and wait. But here’s the thing. The bottle has no actual liquid inside, and what comes out the other end is an electronic illusion. Depending on the output, yellow or brown light shoots out from the doll’s crotch – the reflection of which can be seen in the diaper. A special wipe turns off the light so the fun can begin all over again. 

I’m not making this up. 

Dolls who wet themselves are nothing new. I remember seeing advertisements for playthings that peed, though I never had one of my own. Mind you, I didn’t bother with dolls much as a child. Instead, I chose to bury them in the snow and wait until spring for them to reappear. The only exception was Thumbelina, a small baby whose curls I twisted so obsessively that she eventually developed a receding hairline.

And if you think I was hard on my dolls, you're wrong. I was super mom compared to the artists presented below. Be forewarned... viewing their creations will make you wish you were instead surrounded by those strange motion sensor dolls that say "Mama". 

Jon Beinart is best known for his notorious Toddlerpede sculptures. They are made of up discarded doll parts and have evolved over the years to imitate insects and mythological creatures. And, by the way, Jon needs a ridiculous number of plastic baby dolls to build a series of giant Toddlerpede sculptures so he asks that you please donate yours.

Jon Beinart
Jon Beinart

Then there's Allyson Mitchell,  a mixed media artist who created an installation piece called “Brainchild” featuring a snake-like army of bonneted, big-brained porcelain dolls marching towards a crocheted “mother” brain. The message here is that women continue to struggle for understanding and respect. Also, too many dolls together in one place is scary.

Allyson Mitchell
Steampunk is a way of combining the past and the future. It began as a literary genre involving Victorian era settings that incorporate elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Lately, it has become a popular in crafting circles where makers use lots of gears and goggles in their work. Let me illustrate...

This steampunk doll is comprised of a porcelain baby doll head with metal hat; porcelain and wood arms; wood body; pressed tin wings, vintage jewelry findings; and a metal and wood base with motorcycle chain trim.  Made by Artistprovocateur, he is available to whoever will pay to release him.

Meanwhile, Elnora is a steampunk chick with goggles made of watches, joints made of bolts, rough stitching and antique doll glass eyes. According to her creator Elizabeth Hubbard from Bonanza Oregon, “She is wondering how she came to be on a lonely sheep ranch and is longing for the day that she can venture out into the world.” Yes. I'm sure she is.

Elizabeth Hubbard
When I wasn’t looking, I found an Etsy shop where creepy married bizarre and then had a baby.  Rebecca from Kansas City, you're altered dolls are making me thirsty. Enough said.

Rebecca from Kansas City
And finally, when I thought things couldn’t get any more disturbing, I stumbled into the morbid world of surrealist/visionary artist Shain Erin. I’ve always been weirded out by porcelain dolls and now – thanks to Shain - I won’t be able to come close to one ever again. 

Shain Erin

No, really.

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