Twelve years ago, I could move all my personal belongings (minus a bed, futon and desk) in my Mazda RX7. True, at the time, I was only 23 years old and a new college graduate. I hadn't started crafting at that time--not scrapbooking, not quilting or sewing, and certainly not doll collecting. I had books, papers, my Mac, my clothes and shoes. I didn't hang onto possessions because I didn't particularly value who I was at that point in my life. I didn't have much self-confidence or a sense of self-worth, which is not to say that the only reason we hang onto possessions is because we value ourselves. I threw things away so I didn't have to remember the past.
If I compare that person to who I am today, the owner of many expensive, hard-to-find and beautiful dolls, whose sole purpose is to be beautiful and add pleasure to the beholder, I see a sharp contrast. I still go through my clothes twice per year and get rid of everything that doesn't fit or that I don't wear. I still try to live simply. But I now have the confidence to believe that I can and ought to adorn my house--my life and my family's lives--with some beauty and art, just for the sake of beauty. Seeing my dolls, rearranging them, redressing them or letting my daughters play with them, gives me a sense of freedom and pleasure. My dolls add a dimension to my life that can't be counted as clutter or "stuff."
Though my goals over the past years may have been to pare down--as our culture seems to advise--to cut the clutter, to live simply--I also want to pursue art for the sake of beauty. And dolls--collecting these three dimensional sculptures--give me a small taste of this in my daily life. I have three main collections: a historical line of dolls, fashion dolls with an avant-garde theme, and a fairy tale line of dolls. I hope to pass the joy of art and daily appreciation of beauty along to my family, as well.