I like to make people presents for their birthdays.
This doll was a gift for one of my very best friends from uni. Despite doing the same degree, we didn’t have many subjects together during undergrad, and so didn’t really have a chance to become friends until Honours, when we took the same subject on Ancient Rome. One morning our professor referred to Augustus as ‘You-Know-Who’ and we locked eyes across the classroom and laughed. That was the beginning.
We share a love for many things: the ancient world, musical theatre, Harry Potter, feminism. We also both discovered and fell in love with Tamora Pierce’s novels as children and young teens, and still adore her books to this day, and so when I asked my friend who she’d like me to make her, it didn’t take her long to decide on Alanna the Lioness, the main character of Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartet. Alanna disguises herself as her twin brother in order to become a knight, and while the books don’t hold up to a re-read as an adult the way some of Pierce’s other books do, I remember absolutely loving the series as a ten year old, and re-reading it several times as a young teen.
I dressed my Alanna doll in chain mail and trousers, with short hair. She’s short and stocky, and wears a red cape and a belt studded with amethysts (micro-beads). Her sword is a needle that can slip through the beads to be sheathed, and the hilt is made from sealing wax. Part of the hilt can even removed, and replaced after the needle has been pushed through her hand, so it looks like she’s really holding the sword!
My friend is also a cat lover, so I knew I had to include Faithful, Alanna’s cat.
I really enjoyed making this doll, and although I wish I could have figured out how to give her the gold-plated armour her friends give her for her eighteenth birthday in the books, I am satisfied that I captured the spirit of this character and paid tribute to the books my friend and I love so dearly.
Until next time, C.