We've just completed an ethnic themed doll swap at Art4Mail and I decided to make a pueblo storyteller. Storyteller dolls have been a favorite of mine since I discovered them once we had moved to Arizona. Since I have so many to study as I made mine, it wasn't too difficult to come up with a concept. The doll body was fairly straight forward; however the most difficult part was her hair. I wanted her to be a Hopi maiden with the butterfly whorl style at each ear. This is a beautiful style and I would love to see the real deal in person as I have only seen them in photos. I named this doll Yongosona Wuuti which in Hopi means Turtle Woman. Since the Hopi culture were originally nomadic people who followed the availability of good land for crops, they were continually on the move. The women. responsible for all things domestic, were expected to pack up the household belongings and carry them to where they would next dwell, hence her name. The children are Guatemalan worry dolls that have a culture and tradition all their own in that country. I did not want to stop and make all the dolls that would be needed for this storyteller, so I borrowed these darling little dolls that are made from sticks that are wrapped with colorful floss and have drawn features.
This doll became very precious to me and it was hard to send her off, but she went to Jan, who lives in Boulder City, NV, and who has strong ties to the Navajo Nation. This was one of the reasons I was so pleased to send her off.
My research shows one of the first modern Storyteller dolls was made in the 1960's by a Pueblo woman in New Mexico, honoring her grandfather who was a storyteller. These dolls are always depicted with open mouths because they sung their heritage and history. They also have the eyes closed. Turtle Woman is a real treasure. If you look closely at the photo, over her left shoulder is a glimpse of another storyteller doll that was used as background for the photo.