Old World Primitives

It is finally December, which means that Christmas is just a few weeks away. To celebrate, I will be sharing festive cheer each week, starting with my first ever maker of the month Stephanie Baker.

I found Old World Primitives on Etsy whilst I was looking for Christmas decorations and predictably was drawn to the cats and creatures dotted throughout the online shop. My favourite pieces are the spun cotton ornaments with Victorian scrap paper animal faces, especially the cat holding the tiny Christmas tree!

I spoke to Stephanie about her style and what she enjoys most about Christmas.

CB – Describe your work.

Stephanie: I make primitive folk art dolls – both cloth dolls and cloth dolls with sculpted Paperclay heads, spun cotton ornaments, and chenille holiday ornaments.

CB Tell us about what inspires you.

Stephanie: My style was inspired by a childhood spent growing up in homes built in the 1700s, where I was surrounded by antiques and pieces of the past. My “clubhouse” was in a barn that contained the ruins of a centuries-old blacksmith shop. Weekends were spent at flea markets, garage sales, scavenging off the roadside, or digging in the yards of old abandoned houses. Our Christmas tree was decorated with antique and homemade ornaments. My work reflects my connection to the past, and is made to look like something I might have found in the barn or the attic at one of my childhood homes.

CB What materials do you enjoy working with and why?

Stephanie: I use cotton cloth and batting, chenille, Paperclay and crepe paper to make the major elements of my dolls and ornaments. I also really enjoy working natural materials like cinnamon, tea, coffee, pine cones, sweet annie, and dried flowers into my work to give it a more earthy, organic look.

CB What is your most treasured possession?

Stephanie: I have an antique child’s stepback cupboard from the 1800s that I am especially fond of. I discovered it on eBay years ago as the “most watched” item in the Primitive category one week. Normally I would never bid on something that I felt would be so hard to win, but when I saw it, it spoke to me, and I just HAD to have it. And I did win it!

CB What is your favourite thing about Christmas?

Stephanie: My favorite thing about Christmas is the anticipation – the decorating, cookie making, holiday scents, having the Christmas tree in the living room and sitting next to it each night looking forward to Christmas day. I’m already immersed in my own little “Santa’s workshop” making Christmas dolls and ornaments here, so it makes the anticipation even more fun.

You can find Old World Primitives on Etsy here, but be quick if you want to order in time for Christmas!