Christine's Story

I was born and raised in Germany, but there must be some gypsy blood running in my veins as I have lived in so many different places by now. Packing and moving on has almost become a habit, although one I do not necessarily enjoy. The good thing is that I can take my work with me wherever I go, and there is a good chance you will see me at a fair or sitting in a meeting or such, with knitting in hand or working on some project.

I always enjoyed handwork in school, but was jealous of the boys when they went off to woodwork and craft class and we girls to "only" handwork. I wanted to do both! I have not always been a "knit whiz" though. I remember my mother's words in first grade, "One could kill somebody with your knitting, it is so tight!" I also remember my stitches not moving on those No. 2 ( now my favorite size) metal knitting needles because of my sweaty fingers. No nice handmade wooden needles like the children make in Waldorf schools! My mother also was, and still is (at 86 years old), knitting all the time. As a child I was dressed in knits during the weekdays and only my Sunday outfits were sewn by a seamstress. After I had outgrown a hand-me-down from my sister, my mother would unravel it and make something else out of it. Knitting and crocheting has always been a big love of mine, and if things go crazy I will sit down and knit to relax.

I apprenticed as a Pharmacy assistant and later trained and worked as an esthetician. I lived with my husband in Switzerland when our son Florian was born, and I quit my job to become a full-time mother. I made my first soft-body dress-up doll for his first Christmas in 1976. The face was a plastic form with fabric glued over it and facial features painted on it. It is really difficult to get the eyes to look alive, and I had an artist friend do this part for me. Because of this, I never felt it was "my" doll. Still, I made more and started selling at Artists Markets in Zurich till we moved to San Francisco in March of 1981. By summer I had created a good stock, and I attended the "Burlingame Art in the Park" Festival, my first and only one in a long time. Children did not even look at my wares! It was the time of the Miss Piggy fad, and my things were not anything like it! Oh, what a disappointment! I do remember clearly, though, two older ladies coming by to look, examining everything closely, and commenting, "Oh, does that not look exactly like home?" to each other. They did not realize that I understood them perfectly – they were speaking in Swiss German.

When my son entered first grade at the San Francisco Waldorf School in 1983, I learned to make dolls with the "Waldorf head" from a parent leading a workshop group "Doll Making" for the school’s Christmas Festival. I found it much more to my liking, but slow and cumbersome. We were sitting there stroking and forming the head for almost an hour until she told us that that was plenty, and we would not get anything done if we didn’t speed up a bit! She was a very accomplished doll maker and had made many, many dolls to sell to raise funds for the school.

In 1985 we moved to Gainesville, Florida, and at a University Christmas Market in 1988, I was "discovered" and invited to join the local Artisan's Guild as a new member. About the same time, 'The Ark', a toy store at the San Francisco Waldorf School opened and started selling my creations and, shortly after, I was contacted by the Sunbridge College Bookstore in New York. I have sold dolls and offered workshops at Rahima Baldwin Dancy's "Waldorf in the Home" Conferences in Ann Arbor, Sacramento and Boulder since 1993.

I was also involved with Waldorf during my daughter Francisca's kindergarten time in Tennessee. When she started first grade at Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm in Santa Rosa, California, I volunteered in her class for handwork and painting. I managed the school store for a time and organized the vendors for Christmas Fairs. I still volunteer at the biodynamic Farm there now.
Our journeys also took us to the Whidbey Island Waldorf school in Washington, were I taught a 5th and 6th grade handwork block in my favorite subject: knitting socks.

At 'Gorka', an anthroposophic community in Russia where my daughter and I lived for 9 month, I delved into sacks and sacks full of unprocessed wool: washing, carding, spinning, knitting and felting. I also set up a little cottage industry for them by employing local women to spin yarn and then knit socks from it. I brought many pairs back with me to the US to sell for them. I remember Babushka Clava, 94 years old, being thrilled of knitting socks in exchange for her daily milk. I still wear a pair made by her. A rainbow colored pair of mittens I knitted with yarn I had spun from roving they had, inspired many of the young members to pick up their knitting again during our daily handwork sessions.

Back in California, I helped a friend manage the front office of her anthroposophical clinic. But doll making called me back again! And again after a short detour to Erie, Colorado where I was instrumental in bringing the phone rings http://www.lightlifetechnology.com/Phone-Rings-s/214.htm at IX-EL.INC into being.

Now I am back in California, enjoying walks on the beach and hikes in the redwoods whenever time allows. I especially look forward to spending time with my two grandchildren, Cody and Madeleine, when they are around for vacation breaks.

I am very interested in mindful and sustainable living and building - cob, straw bale and light clay - and my dream is to build my own cob/hybrid house. I am also a dowser and energy worker and am interested in various, sometimes far-out healing methods. If I had free time on my hands, I would love to garden, actually have a farm, make cheese, work with bees, relax at my spinning wheels, learn to turn wood, learn more about subtle energy and healing, and read all day long!

I want to express tremendous gratitude to my daughter for stepping in and helping me with the set-up of this new website and with all the computer work and the patient tutoring she gives me (over and over!), as well as her pep talks when I was ready to quit! I could not have done it without her! Also, I appreciate her selling for me at fairs when there are too many for me to handle or I am off gallivanting around the world!

I also want to say a big THANK YOU you to all my customers over the years for the support and trust I have received. I am glad I can serve you.

Love, Light, Blessings and Joy to all of you

Christine

Sebastopol, March 2009