this is the primitive doll.
upon first peeking glance into booth 288 at my local flea market, i was unable to decide if i should sprinkle the ground with holy water or, quite simply, run for my life and my soul. my mother and i had met to do some perusing through this maze of dusty antiques, homemade crafts, and miscellaneous oddities but i ended up staring and sorting through (carefully and respectfully) every single object that booth 288 had for sale: dolls, wooden handiworks, paintings, strange-looking antiques, and other old things. my mother “got bad vibes” and left immediately to search for black leather purses (which her closet is full of) and kitchen things (which her kitchen is already full of.) i, however, got the best kind of vibes and decided to stay. have you ever felt drawn to an activity or hobby that seduces you with it’s defiance of mainstream trends and, at the same time, has this sort of underground following and ambiguous network of fellow artists/performers? this is exactly how i felt. i was back within the week to purchase my first primitive doll and i have never regretted spending those thirty dollars.
in case you are wondering what all the hullabaloo and talk of “holy water” is about, please take a peek below at the sort of doll i’m referring to . . .
creepy, eh? i can’t lie to you, followers, i slept terribly that first night. when i finally would slip into slumber, it was uneasy and tossy-turny. i dreamt of the doll slowly coming to life and scooting around my room and onto my bed, like a demented version of toy story. i admit, growing older certainly hasn’t cured me of some of my more childish fears.
i first contemplated choosing the scary number with the green and brown dress in the bottom right corner but the awkward open-mouth-situation was not something i wanted to see every day. as you can probably tell, i took this picture around halloween last year. that’s the other thing i forgot to mention, booth 288 is constantly changing, usually based on the holiday or season. [i can’t help but picture the house where these things are coming from, this gal must have hundreds and hundreds of these dolls- filling her closets, bookshelves, and bedroom.] one thing i learned, after attending a local craft fair in the high school i graduated from, the community of primitive artists is a tight-knit one. not to eliminate the allure of it all, but it is also moreso about business than voodoo. specific artists will craft these things [sometimes from patterns which they will also sell to other crafters] and distribute them to flea market booth and store owners.
it’s primitive wholesale.
not all primitives are strange and unusual . . . if you search for them in your internet browser, what typically arises first through google images are pictures of worn shabby-chic furniture, raggedy ann-type dolls, and antique housewares and farming tools used for decoration. my interests lie in the more artistic side to the world of prims- the extreme prims. yes, that is actually what they are referred to as. these are the creations that are one-of-a-kind and much, much harder to find.
i suppose you just have to be the right type of person to love this sort of oddity. be it any other alternative lifestyle: piercings/tattoos, burlesque/exotic dancing, the macabre and grotesque forms of art, having more than a few pet snakes in your home; it’s these other forms of human expression that truly add a layer of intrigue and mystique to our sometimes cookie-cutter existence. a simple appreciation of another person’s interests, albeit different from your own, can make a huge difference in how you view humanity and all of it’s struggles to learn cultural [and religious] tolerance [and acceptance.] let’s all just be a little more open-minded and see how much our lives are benefitted by doing so.
the only other doll i have gotten since the first is not so much a doll as it is a floppy-eared, one-eyed bunny rabbit. although i am enchanted by the early 1900’s feel of the craft, i am still not wanting to jump into collecting them like i have blue ball mason jars. somebody, please keep me from coming home with any more jars! they are such a wonderful shade of blue and my container obsession can sometimes be too overwhelming for me to handle!
here’s the little bunny and so far, my last installment. . .
link to featured image: ryan mcginness