I wanted to introduce the subject of Course Dolls. Course Dolls were made in Sasha Morgenthaler’s studio between 1970 and 1993. These dolls were made by students and under the guidance of Sasha herself or her assistant. I bought these three course dolls some time ago from sellers in Switzerland.
Growing up with dolls, and with a wonderful Mother who collected dolls, I have a love for many types of dolls. My favorite dolls, before discovering Sasha dolls, were early cloth dolls. So, it was only natural that my first Sasha doll, Gwennie, was a cloth doll with a gypsum head. Soon after Gwennie, I discovered Course Dolls on Shelly’s site and on ebay.
On the left is a sweet boy with a human hair wig. He was bought from Shelly.
A closer look at their painting and wigs. They all have human hair wigs and I do not know who made these lovely dolls.
Well, well…sweet Gracie has joined the doll gathering, of COURSE! :). Gracie is certainly the darling here at Sasha Shangri-La and she is particularly fond of the Course Dolls. It is easy to see why Gracie is comfortable around them considering their similar cloth bodies with sewn hinged legs. It is notable that they all have the same birthplace and they all have spent time in Sasha’s studio in Switzerland. As a studio bebe, Gracie’s arms are disc jointed and they pose nicely plus her face was painted by Sasha, herself. Still, she feels a kinship with the Course Dolls and loves to spend time with them. 🙂
I really like the outfits on the Course Dolls and they are very well made with mostly soft, vintage fabrics and knitted treasures to be found here and there.
Undergarments are very well made using fabrics such as cottons and linens and trimmings of lace and eyelet. The boy’s undershirt and pants are hand knitted.
A close view of the brown eyed Course Doll.
A full view of her outfit. Her collar is a very nice tatted creation. Her shoes are wool felt and worn. I really like her apron.
I was surprised today when I removed the apron to discover that there are two different fabrics used in her dress. With her apron covering most of the dress front, I was certainly unaware. I have to say that I greatly appreciate the economy of fabric used in these outfits. I also noticed that her white blouse was plain cotton on the body and linen was used on her sleeves! The sleeves show much more than the rest of the blouse.
A close view of a light strawberry blonde wig and different eye painting with straying paint on her face.
Lovely outfit made of coordinating fabrics with a fine apron and a crocheted pocket. She has very nice socks and shoes. 🙂
Gracie is about 13 inches in height and the Course Dolls are about 20 inches in height. There is some variance in my doll’s heights within 1/2 inch (plus or minus).
A close view of this lovely Course Doll. Her eye color does go well with her studio style outfit.
Her lovely hair is very, very thick and a nice color too!
I thought you would like to see her beautiful collar up close. Again, I am impressed by the practicality of this collar which by its design can be used to “dress up” different outfits or, by removing it, to “dress down” the outfits.
Gracie especially loves this girl and she calls her “Sissy”. 🙂
Gracie brought to my attention that I almost forgot the boy! His eyes also match his turquoise outfit. I love his leather shoes!
This dear child is a Course Doll that is dressed as a street child. Her wig is a pale reddish color and made of raffia. One of Sasha’s studio dolls shown on the cover of the book “Sasha-Puppen, Sasha Dolls” is so very similar to this Course Doll that I like to think that studio doll inspired this Course Doll. 🙂
The wool coat is oversized and frayed and the scarf is vital to keep out the cold of winter while living on the streets. The dress is greatly faded but warm.
The pantaloons are plain and cinched at the ankles to keep the cold air out. They remind me of a re-purposed man’s shirt.
Nice view of the back of the coat.
Close view of the navy wool socks and worn, black leather shoes (with heels).
Gracie giving a warm hand of friendship to this dear street child. Gracie’s heart goes out to her because she does not smile and her eyes are very sad. She hugs her alot! 🙂
The last two Course Dolls are very, very special and are recent finds at the Sasha Festival in Phoenix. The boy is Heiri and the girl is Laura Marie. Both of these lovely Course Dolls were made by Ann Chandler in 1993. Laura Marie is shown in the book “Sasha Dolls The History” on page 126. Ann explained that Trudi Loffler was the teacher who helped guide the students with the eye painting and the making of the clothing for the dolls. Her wig is made of raffia and the dress fabric was from Sasha’s studio.
I think Heiri looks like a young Harry Potter! His wig is made of raffia. I love his suspenders!
His bag has leather straps and holds a wonderful sweater with metal buttons. He also has his own police car to play with which is nice since there are mostly girls around him! 😉
A close view of his leather Swiss sandals.
A close view of Laura Marie’s studio style shoes and pink socks!
Gracie is right at home with this delightful pair!
Gracie, Laura Marie, and Heiri want to thank you for visiting us and they extend happy wishes to you for a wonderful week to come!!! xxx
Thank you Ginger for this very interesting post on course dolls. I have been keeping an eye open for one for quite a while now and nearly bought one at the beginning of the year, seeing these lovely examples has made me want to own on even more.
Little Gracie looks very at home with them all and just like their little baby sister. :)xx
Thank you Dee!! I am so glad you enjoyed this post. I really love Course Dolls! I hope you find one!
They wear studio doll size clothing too which is extra nice if you want to mix and match outfits. The photos today show the Course Dolls wearing the outfits they were wearing when I bought them but it’s nice to know there is clothing available for them if you want to change it up a bit.
I thought Gracie looked like their baby sister too! She is just a precious addition here 🙂 xxxx
Laura Marie was named for Laura Knusli and her daughter Marie and Heiri for Laura’s son. Laura was instrumental in our taking the class in Sasha’s studio to make Course Dolls under Trudy L’s guidance. It was a great week!!! The fabric of Laura Marie’s dress can be seen on a Studio girl shown in Stefan Biffiger’s book and if I remember correctly it was once Trudy’s nightgown.
Thank you Anne for the information about Laura Marie and Heiri! It is greatly appreciated! How wonderful that you were there at that time in Sasha’s studio and making a course doll. It is a dream of mine to be able to visit Switzerland and see the museum and the area where Sasha lived. Maybe one day! xxx
I have really loved your post Ginger and have just enjoyed looking through with my early morning cup of tea. I love the clothes of them and the love that has gone into making each one but my favourite has to be the street child, wow you are so lucky to have her wander into your life and I hope she stays put!
Thank you Janet! This was the longest post to date and I had hoped it wasn’t too long! I am happy you enjoyed it and the street child too! xxx
Hi Ginger really enjoyed your post on the course dolls. My favourite is the street girl. Gracie looks happy with her big Sis as well. Theresa xx
Thank you Theresa and glad you liked the post! Gracie is very happy!! xxx
An absolutely fabulous post Ginger and a delight to read this rainy morning. Your Course dolls are simply delightful and very special indeed. I love the street child as well, but my favourites are the boys… Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful dolls with us.
You are most welcome Lorraine! It is so nice that you enjoyed seeing the Course Dolls! I knew you would like the boys best of all. 😉 xxx
Nice dolls, and did you know the blue dress with two different fabrics is the traditional costume for workdays for the region of Zürich?
Thank you Brigitte for writing and educating me too! No, I did not know it was the traditional work day costume for the Zurich region. I have loved the outfit’s colors and especially the unique collar and apron. It is very nice to now learn the history too! xxx
Ginger, thank you so much for such an interesting post on the Course Dolls, and your collection in particular. They are really really interesting and I’m quite amazed at how it’s unmistakable that these are part of the Sasha family. The eye painting on cloth is brillaint. I also think their outfits are really interesting, and the use of fabrics and the style….they’re lovely. I am not into dolls with cloth bodies but I certainly love to see other peoples photos of them. And of course I always enjoy seeing Gracie, such a lovely baby and so obviously well loved in your home! Thanks again for such a nice start to my Sunday!
Big hugs Sharon xxx
You are very welcome Sharon! I enjoyed spending the time with and featuring the Course Dolls on the blog. I feel like I have neglected them a bit though they are very visible in my room and I see them daily.
Gracie is just the dearest, sweetest little poppet and she has won the hearts of everyone here! She tried again to post on the blog but I caught her in time! ;). I am certain she will be successful very soon because she is very active and very creative in her thinking!!!
Have a great Sunday!!! xxx
What a superb and delightful collection of Course Dolls you have here! Absolutely wonderful! A true feast for our eyes! Many thanks indeed ‘Little’ Gracie for sharing your special friends with us today.
I’ve always wished that I had been able to go and make a Course Doll but know that I never would have had the courage to finally paint the face in case I made a mistake and then the whole thing might have been ruined.
So guess that I would have been like the woman who had finally ‘chickened out’ and asked Sasha herself if she would paint the face for her. (Mind you although it wouldn’t then have been made 100% by myself it would have probably been worth much more money in the future….and I could have lived with that!)
The thing that I like most about the Course Dolls over the ‘B type’ Studio Dolls is the fact that their faces and bodies are made from the same material, like the first original Studio Dolls were. I have since ‘met’ one of these rare all ‘textured tricot’ Studio Dolls, although at the time we thought that she too was a Course Doll…..and actually had a photograph taken holding her. Now a rather treasured memory!
Oh thank you Kendal !!! I have the same wish too but since I learned about Sasha dolls after 1993, my wish is just a dream. I would have been right there with you and asked for help with painting since my attempts would surely have been a disappointment to the eye.
I would love to see your photo one day where you are holding the original, early studio doll. That is very special indeed!
Gracie sends her hugs to you and said to let you know that she is trying to share more special friends if Mummy would only give her a bit of time on the blog and withhold the adult “editing” too! 😉 xxx
Thank you, Ginger for sharing and photographing your Course Dolls. I enjoyed seeing the close-ups and reading about each doll. You have a charming collection! Thanks for your blog!
You are very welcome Karen. I am happy you liked the post and the blog too! Thank you! xxx