Needle Felted Wool Dolls and Other Sculptural Works of Fiber Art

My soft sculptured character dolls were inspired by real people that I have either known personally or simply noticed from afar. They are not meant to be exact replicas but are instead altered egos of "familiar others".

Monday, April 12, 2010

'Martha Rita' the Little Worry Doll

Inspired by Guatemalan worry dolls

Often times I get inspiration from catalogs, magazines and the like. In one of the several catalogs received just before Christmas I came across a set of little Guatemalan style worry dolls. They were so cute and colorful I had to try felting them.

Guatemalan worry dolls date back to Mayan times. Traditional worry dolls were simple little amulets less than an inch tall and were made in groups of six that fit snugly in a brightly colored woven pouch. Fashioned from scraps of various materials – fabric remnants for clothing, pieces of wood for bodies, etc. – they were created as a distraction for children who needed comforting in the night. Each night the child would take one of the dolls, whisper a worry in its ear, place it under their pillow and sleep soundly with assurance the worry would be gone by morning. I wonder why only six dolls were made instead of seven? Were there only six days in the Mayan calendar week?

My "Martha Rita" is about 4-inches tall and one of a kind. She is needle felted from Norwegian C-1 batt, Merino top, and other wool fibers. My other worry dolls are about 3 inches tall and felted from the same materials. I use found objects - beads, threads, ribbons, etc.- as embellishments.

Thanks to fellow 'Kindred Spirit' Lucy Elmore for sharing her original snapshot of my Martha Rita. I used Photoshop CS to manipulate the background, taking out the holder's lap, the floor, and other such distractions and adding the background colors so the doll stands out for presentation here. I love Photoshop! It is so much fun! By the way Lucy is a fab photographer. Visit Lucy Elmore's PBase photo galleries

Update June 27, 2010: More Little Worry Dolls
These little ladies are so much fun to make!


  1. I love this doll. It is so cute and colorful.

  2. Petro thank you for your very kind compliment. I am glad you like my doll and am very sorry it took me nearly a month to acknowledge. Life got busy and I got behind, that's my only excuse.