My sewing and cooking dolls  rested in different states of completion in my studio while my son quietly grew up around them. These were figures with stories, objects to be played with, world’s to be engaged in and he wanted to be a part of it.  When my son was about three, he asked for a fireman dolly.  I set about making one with moveable limbs and all the necessary turnout gear. I used the same materials as my sewing dolls: clay forms, painted sewing pattern paper, stitched features.  His uniform was soot stained from working in the trenches. Velcro closures allowed my son’s little fingers to manipulate the turnout gear on and off his dolly.  As I watched my son undress his fireman, I realized the little dolly had no hair, and that the painted tissue paper looked eerily like burned skin.  I had inadvertently imbued my son’s doll with the danger of the adult world, and neither of us had seen it.  I wanted to make something fun and whimsical, but my experience seeped in.  I was making animal figures at the same time, an antidote to the serious and slightly disturbed quality of my sewing and cooking dolls.  But the animals still had something a bit off about them, a whimsy that played at the edge of the dark.  Each animal’s face is innocent and deep with personality, but it stands on two legs with human hands. The animal is without a home or narrative and that feels uneasy. I realized that childhood is supposed to be many things: innocent, playful, adventurous, spirited, safe. Yet as a child, I felt something menacing around the edges; a bit of fear I couldn’t quite name.  It is this uneasiness that has been at the root of my work for as long as I can remember. It feeds my sense of distrust in my body, my apprehension as a woman and my dread as a parent, yet it also feeds my hope.  It is with this hope that I keep making.