Advertisement

Woman sells folksy dolls

January 26, 1997

Woman sells folksy dolls

All of Baker's creations have red hair

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Carolyn Baker is tall, thin and has dark red hair, but that has nothing to do with the tall, thin, red-haired folk art dolls that she makes and sells in a Chambersburg gift shop.

"There's no rhyme or reason why I put red hair on my dolls. They just look better with it," Baker said.

Advertisement

She said she's been making the dolls for about 25 years, more as a stress buster than a money-maker. "It's something I have always done for artistic release," she said.

Baker, 45, of Kensington Heights, Chambersburg, gave her dolls away until six months ago when she began to sell them in the Secret Garden, a small gift shop at 127 N. Main Street.

She describes her whimsical creations as serious folk art. "They're not Barbie dolls. They're collector's items, things for amusement. They may be ugly and weird to some people, but you have to have some imagination," she said.

She said she makes eight to 10 dolls a week, depending on how fast they sell. She fashions them from antique fabrics, buttons and old pieces of lace.

Making dolls and teaching English as a volunteer for the Franklin County Literary Council are her passions, Baker said. She spends about eight hours a week teaching English to Spanish-speaking residents, she said.

Making the money that enables her to be involved in those interests comes from her half-ownership in a chain of four Italian restaurants. One is in State College, Pa., one is in Washington, D.C., and two are in Northern Virginia. She visits each restaurant once a week, she said.

Before moving to Franklin County three years ago to follow her husband's real estate sales job, Baker ran her State College restaurant full time, she said.

"I support myself by the restaurants. They're what let me teach and make dolls," she said.

Baker grew up in Ohio. She graduated from Kent State University where she studied Spanish and political science.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|