Photos and Synopsis by Pat D.
Carol gave a marvelous presentation to the club with a large display of her own Sashas. She described the differences, sometimes subtle, and told us of her recent journey into collecting and loving these sweet dolls. There is a great deal of history and I could not keep up with all the fascinating information so it’s detailed below from the sashadoll.com website. Thank you Carol!
The information below is from the Sashadoll.com website and there is a great deal more, such as, tips on restoration and repair, knitting patterns, doll books, bulletin boards and links. Sasha® Doll is a trademark of the Inheritance Community of Sasha Morgenthaler. The website is designed, built, and maintained by Susanna Lewis. © Susanna Lewis 2014. Sasha Doll website was launched January 5, 1997.
The next Sasha Festival will be June 21-24, 2018 in Bloomington, Minnesota and is hosted by Diane Nyberg. The 2019 festival will be in Cincinnati, Ohio and hosted by Heidi Wheeler.
What are Sasha Dolls?
Sasha dolls were created by the late Sasha Morgenthaler (1893 – 1975), a Swiss artist and artisan. She was also a humanitarian and a keen observer of all the world’s children. Her vision was to create dolls that represented and reflected the spirit of children of all races and cultures during their age of innocence.
A protégé of Paul Klee and a contemporary of Karl Geiser, Sasha had formal schooling in painting and sculpture, married the painter Ernst Morgenthaler, and was active in European artistic and social movements. Beginning in the 1940s until her death in 1975, Sasha created one-of-a-kind 20″ cloth, gypsum, and plastic dolls in her studio. She travelled the world extensively, studying children of all racial, cultural, and economic groups to portray in her dolls. These dolls are considered museum-quality works of art, created by an artist who turned to doll-making to portray her vision. During her lifetime, Sasha’s dolls were sold from her studio and through the Heimatwerk shops in Switzerland. In the USA, Marshall Field & Co. in Chicago exhibited and sold her dolls.
But the dolls Sasha created for children to play with, were too expensive for most families. Her dream was to make an inexpensive play doll that would have universal appeal for all children. Her dream came true in the mid 1960s when she developed the design for the 16″ serie play-dolls, manufactured in Germany and England, that became so popular around the world during the 1960s – 1980s. These serie dolls possess some unique features: they have beautifully stylized body parts that are in quarter scale, asymmetrical, and in realistic proportion, like real humans. They are perfectly balanced and can assume many poses without a doll stand – they can even stand on their heads! Their skin colorings are blends of all skin colorings, to represent all the children of the world, and they have individually hand painted faces with receptive expressions, each one ready to reflect whatever mood its child will give it.
There have been three productions of serie Sasha dolls, made by two different companies. Götz-Puppenfabrik GmbH of Rödental, Germany made Sasha dolls from 1965 – 1970, and again from 1995 – 2001. Frido/Trendon/Sasha Dolls Ltd of Stockport, England made Sasha dolls from 1966 – 1986. The dolls from the three productions have similar vinyl bodies and heads, with rooted nylon hair and painted eyes and lips, but differ in style and face painting. The German Sashas from both productions are marked on their backs and necks with the Sasha logo, while the English dolls are unmarked. All Sasha dolls wear wrist tags on their right wrists – a string with a little medallion bearing the Sasha logo. The early German Sashas are more plentiful in Europe than in America, while the reverse is true for the English dolls. Dolls from the most recent German production can be found everywhere.
In the past, Sasha’s one-of-a-kind studio original dolls from her own personal collection were housed at the Sasha Morgenthaler Puppenmuseum, in the Bärengasse Museum in Zurich, Switzerland. Now, the Sasha collection has been closed, and is being exhibited from time to time at different venues, until a new permanent location can be found for the collection. The book Sasha Puppen / Sasha Dolls by Stefan Biffiger pictures the dolls that were housed at the Puppenmuseum, and also contains essays about her life and work.
And a big thank you to Ev S. as well for her delightful travel doll table display and the little moving turkeys she gave each one of the “kids”.