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Hanover Arts & Crafts

Watson's dolls coming
to Hanover College crafts fair

By Libby Richards
Staff Writer


HANOVER, Ind. – It was on Christmas Day several years ago that Amelia “Mae” Watson received the inspiration that would not only become a hobby but eventually a full-time business.

Amelia Mae Watson

Photo by Libby Richards

Amelia "Mae" Watson creates
her angel dolls at home.

While watching her nephews play with the clay sets they got for Christmas, she observed them making “these ugly things, like snakes and bugs.”
“I thought, if they can make those I can make anything I want to, even dolls,” Watson remembers.
While the transition from snakes to dolls may seem a stretch to some people, Watson’s personal interest as a collector of angel dolls seemed natural enough to her. She began working with special craft clay and made her first doll, which she described as not very good. Her mother, however, loved it and told her she should make more.
Watson soon perfected her technique and started taking the dolls to work with her at Madison State Hospital. After displaying the first dolls, orders started piling in and she’s been making them ever since.
Examples of her work will be on display on Dec. 4 at the Hanover College Arts and Crafts Show. Watson will be one of 62 exhibitors selling their wares at the college's annual event.
Watson's creations fit in nicely with the Christmas show. She has named her figurines “Angels to Cherish” because they depict angels for any and every occasion. There are angels singing, holding baskets of flowers, angels depicting different holidays and even sports angels.
Recently, she made a collection with the name of her church, St. Stephen's African Methodist Episcopalian, on it for the church to sell as a commemorative fund-raiser. While some of the angels are depicted standing, others are “shelf sitters” that have a weighted bottom and whose legs hang down from the shelf. Yet others come in the form of pins to wear, magnates and Christmas tree decorations.
In addition to the angels, Watson makes figurines that depict children in various themes. Whether having milk and cookies (her favorite), or hugging a doll or teddy bear while having tea, the whimsical figures are finely detailed. And because they are hand-made, no two are the same.
Watson even makes the clothes that the figures are dressed in. The bases that they sit on are hand made of clay as well and are signed and dated.
The clay she uses is special craft clay that comes in many colors. Most recently, to Watson’s delight, flesh tones have been made available eliminating the need to blend colors to achieve the right shade.
Every piece of each figurine is made individually, with the finished product being baked in the oven to harden for durability.
Watson also makes custom orders in the event that you don’t find a doll or angel that specifically suits your need.
In addition to the Hanover Arts and Crafts Show, you can find Watson’s angels in the gift shop at King’s Daughter Hospital and Carolyn’s Picket Fence. This year, one of her dolls won Grand Champion at the Jefferson County Fair.
"Her work is so beautiful. I'm glad to have her work here," said Carolyn Mingione, owner of Carolyn's Picket Fence.
While having experimented with and making the angels for 12 years, it has been in the last three years that Watson has started making them full time.
Like any artist Watson isn’t always happy with the results, but her mother disagrees when she’s critical of any of her pieces.
“Mom loves them all,” Watson laughs. “I guess she has too since I’ve taken over her kitchen to make them.”

• Mae Watson can be contacted at (812) 866-5560.

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