The Westside Gazette

Black doll maker teaches other African Americans how to make handmade dolls in free YouTube Tutorials

Dr. Cassandra George Sturges holding her Maggy Rag doll

Black doll maker teaches other African Americans how to make handmade dolls in free YouTube Tutorials

     ANN ARBOR, MI — Black doll maker, Dr. Cassandra George Sturges, shares her love for making handmade dolls by providing free tutorials on her YouTube channel. Her goal is to inspire the African American community to make handmade dolls that reflect and tell their own unique stories of beauty, self-love, and life lessons as a person of color.

Doll making is unlike any other artistic expression because it is rich in magic, folklore, and a physical manifestation of the human psyche, values, and historical political, socio-economic, and technological advancements in cultural groups and societies. Dr. Sturges who teaches sociology and psychology at Washtenaw Community College for over 15 years, encourages her students to pretend that they are aliens from another planet when browsing the toy aisles in stores and write about the dolls that they see. What would the dolls tell you about beauty, power, wealth, fashion, gender roles, and race without speaking a single word?

According to Dr. Sturges, “Silence is the loudest voice in any society because it tells an unprotested truth to anyone who is willing to see it. Once we start to listen with our ears –words distort, rationalize, and paint a picture of reality that justifies and maintains the status quo. If you google the word dolls—count how many images of dolls of color appear. If you google the word woman notice who is the collective dominant image who represents this word without qualifiers. Visibility is a collective declaration of worth and value. It shows the world who matters and why they matter. I want the world to see Black people from their own perspectives of truth and beauty.”

The Authentik Beauty Cloth Doll Tutorials and DIYS use a variety doll making styles, textiles, fabrics and unique patterns and techniques mostly shared by Dr. Sturges. Dr. Sturges asserts that making a handmade doll is a creative journey that leads to self-discovery, self- love, and ultimately self-acceptance.




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