A stitch here, a thread there, and before you know it, a personality emerges. Margaret Fessenden makes one of a kind dolls, an art form she used when studying art and design at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas.
Fessenden grew up surrounded by women who sewed and created handwork of all kinds. Her first efforts with needle and thread began at an early age with instruction from her mother and grandmothers who taught her simple embroidery. Through these early experiences, she became aware of how fiber and fabric could be transformed into quilts, household linens, beautiful clothing and dolls, and led to a lifelong love of fabric and handwork.
Crafting dolls has allowed Fessenden to explore many areas and media. She began by making playthings for her children using commercial patterns. Soon she was designing her own dolls. This led to a collaboration with Pat Waelder of Hannibal’s Hickory Stick Quilt Shop. Fessenden designed several doll patterns that were published under the Hickory Stick logo and sold worldwide.
Fessenden’s current creations are constructed of linen with embroidered faces, felted wool hairstyles, and cotton frocks. She works with contemporary commercial fabrics from her favorite designers along with vintage linens. These materials and Fessenden’s whimsy come together to create her “girls”, some sassy, some shy, some starstruck. Each seem to have a story to tell, a story of simpler, gentler, quieter times.