In 2012, whilst living in Australia, I was approached by the Australian Childhood Foundation who commissioned me to design a series of sensory dolls for use with children in counselling. The project was funded by GUCCI. I designed four character dolls, each with their own concept and therapeutic purpose. After returning to the UK I continued my work with ACF, designing a further set of animal dolls with indigenous inspired designs and concepts. In 2016 ACF asked me to make 600 of the dolls for use in their therapy centres across Australia. After some consideration I agreed to take on this mammoth task. I sourced the fabric and materials, made a budget and planned a production schedule for making the dolls in batches of 50 at a time, periodically shipping the dolls to Australia. It was a year long project that I am immensley proud to have being involved with. The Australian Childhood Foundation have gone on to develop a therapy training programme based around the designs.
This sensory doll represents transformation. The caterpillar transforms into a butterfly when it’s wings emerge from a pouch in the back of the doll. The wings are decorated with a variety of textured fabrics and trims, designed to be tactile and visually stimulating.
This cat character doll is designed around the concept of dreams. The eyes can open and close and a fabric concertina with removable dream images is hidden insode the dolls head. The images can be attached to the concertina with velcro in any order, for children to invent their own narrative.
The monster doll is designed to help children talk about their feelings through play with facial features and accessories which can be arranged in a multitude of ways on the monster’s body, attached with velcro. The monster doll has a puch in the back for safe storage of his features when not in use.
The concept of this doll is food as a source of comfort and memory. The monkey has a zip mouth pocket, inside are are food items made from colourful and tactile fabrics.