She’s less than 10 cm tall, but this tiny doll is inspiring joy and creativity in everyone who meets her.
With no hair, a wooden bead head, and string arms and legs, the biggest thing about Wacky Wendy is her smile – and it’s contagious.
In the past few months, she has turned children into eager builders, interior designers, and furniture makers. She’s even brought joy to an older woman facing a disruptive and uncertain future.
I first made the little dolls as a fun extra to offer shoppers at our Wacky Workshops Wonderland sales.
Someone suggested she’d make a good Wacky Workshops mascot and so Wacky Wendy was born.
THE MAGIC OF THE WACKY WENDY SMILE
The plan was to sell her and raise money for a charity. I found I couldn’t resist handing her out to happy children who visited our art exhibition and sale in April. Also to the lovely shoppers who found lots of fun goodies to buy.
I had no idea of the power that huge smile would have and the joy it would give to so many.
Naturally, I gave one of the little dolls to each of my five granddaughters. The six-year-old wanted to build her a special house. And that’s where the magic started.
The tiny one-story home featured a bedroom with a piano and a pet cat.
Her sister and cousins decided to make their own versions of Wacky Wendy homes. One designed a rooftop garden with a tree and a swing
Just like Wacky’s private students, the grandkids leave their creations in the studio until they are finished and ready to go home.
The students saw the creations and wanted to make their own Wacky Wendy homes. At one stage, there were 15 tiny houses in various stages of completion sitting in the Wacky studio.
The designs became more and more elaborate. One with a water slide from the rooftop leading into a lake with a boat. This student wants to create an entire forest for Wacky Wendy.
And the inspiration wasn’t just enjoyed by the female students. One boy saw the fun building occurring and decided to make an amazing farm shed and another, a Minecraft-themed cave.
HOW A TINY DOLL HELPS TO BUILD CREATIVE THINKING SKILLS
As always in the Wacky studio, I encouraged the students to use recyclables to create the houses and their contents.
Cardboard boxes, probably destined to sit in stacks in overflowing recycling warehouses for possibly years, became the walls, floors, and roofs.
Cardboard scraps became lounges, kitchen cabinets, beds, bookcases, and desks.
Material scraps became bedspreads, pillows, lounge covers, curtains, and rugs.
The students turned wooden beads into sweet vases, champagne corks into stools and tables, marker lids into pencil holders, and paper scraps into tiny books.
The creative thinking that this project inspired was awesome.
One student made a laptop for Wacky Wendy’s desk. Then she created a charging cord to plug into the wall and a tiny waste basket made from a plastic lid.
Another made a tiny easel from sticks and created tiny clay pots. Her Wacky Wendy was an artist. Well, that was her hobby. This Wacky Wendy’s job was to work in the cookie and ice cream food truck, specially made to size for her.
Someone else made a luxury private airplane, so Wacky Wendy could travel the world.
The only new thing included in the wonderful houses, aside from the Wacky Wendy dolls, is a set of tiny fairy lights and a tea light candle.
The kids come up with the ideas themselves and I am just a humble apprentice, in charge of cutting cardboard and hot gluing when necessary – things I don’t allow Wacky students to do for obvious reasons.
I encouraged the kids to create art for Wacky Wendy’s walls – Wacky Workshops is known as an art school after all. ☺️
Some students were inspired to become hairdressers and gave Wacky Wendy some pipe cleaner locks.
It has been the most amazing experience to see how this tiny string doll is sparking imagination and promoting creative thinking.
Each week, the students arrive at the studio, eager to see the latest additions to other students’ houses. Even the parents are feeling inspired by the creations.
WHETHER YOU’RE 3 OR 92, WACKY WENDY IS THE GIRL FOR YOU
Aside from inspiring kids to become builders and decorators, Wacky Wendy has had a very important role to play for a special older lady – my Mum.
She has recently had to move into a nursing home as the demon of dementia takes hold of her beautiful brain. The move has been distressful and disorientating.
I gave Mum a Wacky Wendy back in March when I started making them. She absolutely adored it and had it hanging from the dashboard of her car.
On the way to the nursing home, she was playing with the little string doll in the red dress and telling me how much she loved it.
We made sure to bring her up with Mum to the new accommodation. Though the day was confusing and frightening for Mum, she smiled every time she looked at the tiny doll.
The next day, I took some red ribbon in so Mum could wear Wacky Wendy around her neck. Every time she looks at Wacky Wendy, she smiles. 😊
If you’d like to meet Wacky Wendy, come to our Wacky Workshops Wonderland Christmas Art Exhibition and Sale, right outside Wacky’s Glenbrook studio on Saturday, November 19 from 9 am until 2 pm.
Who knows what wonders she’ll inspire you to create?
Have a gleeful week, Tamuria