• May 25th, 2019
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‘Doris’ the hand-made doll charms at the Sunday market

 Donna Collins

With the festive season countdown almost upon us, market goers are being spoilt for choice as rows of stalls offering hand-made items and unique crafted goods makes early Xmas shopping for the perfect gift, a breeze.

This past Sunday’s Green Market, held in Swakopmund not only brought out the sunshine, but tables laden with everything from mouth watering treats, beaded ornaments, and lots of arty bric-a-brac all rolled into a flea-market type atmosphere. A stand out, was the needlework stall of Ilse Vermaak, who is a teacher by day and creative craftsperson in her spare time. She is an avid market supporter, and has been exhibiting her delightful variety of her items at the Green Market for over two years.

The stars of the show were undoubtedly her two large, floppy “rag dolls”, which she sews together, hand stitches, design complete outfits and decorates from scratch.

 Nevertheless, Doris and Annabella are not like the average dolls you buy in the shop; they are “proudly Namibian.” Each doll has its own unique charm when completed, which includes the adorable brown doll she added to her range, to appeal to people of colour. Vermaak explains that she could not understand why all dolls in the shops looked the same, saying each little girl wants a doll that they can relate to and call their own. 

Both Doris and Annabella are soft, cuddly material dolls dressed in colourful hand-made clothes, with happy hand-painted faces, all a top with wavy black curls, and accessories such as earrings, beads and bows. “No two dolls look the same when they are finished, and each one has its own name,” says Vermaak who usually makes them in the holidays, which takes up to two days to complete. The process includes cutting or style their hair. 

It works out that Vermaak made her first ‘rag doll’ for her pregnant daughter-in-law at the beginning of the year, and she has been going flat out with orders ever since. “I also sew and design dresses for Barbie dolls which I import from the USA, and bring in a lot of brown-toned Barbie’s because they are so pretty and very popular,” she said, adding they are the more fashionable of her doll selection.

The question is which dolls are more popular?
“The Doris and Annabella rag doll range are really something special, even tourists are charmed by these sunny Namibian characters to take back overseas with them,” she said.
“And whilst these dolls are made with little girls in mind, many adults also buy them as a decoration pieces for the house because they are so whimsical and enchanting.”

New Era Reporter
2018-10-05 10:18:10 7 months ago

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