Cook County artist Lesli Higgins has been a “crafter” her whole life.
Already in charge of her own photography business, Falon Photography, Higgins recently followed her passion for craft, a passion with deep familial roots, into her newest venture—doll making.
Born in California, Higgins moved to Cook County in 1990 at the age of 8 with her mother in what she describes as a “move back home.”
“My great grandparents on my mom’s side, Kristian and Ida Hammer, moved [to the North Shore] with their families from Norway,” says Higgins. “They were married in Hovland in the 1920s and homesteaded there.”
“Kris was a commercial fisherman,” continues Higgins. “Their fish house is the red one right by the Hovland dock. My grandmother, Edna Bowen, was born here and my mother, Sandy Petty (Suck) also grew up here, so basically we moved home in 1990.”
Inspired by her grandmother’s knack for craft and a childhood that was “covered in glitter, paint and fabric,” Higgins grew up knowing from a young age that she wanted to pursue some sort of craft as an adult. She just didn’t know which craft to choose.
“I started my business Falon Photography in 2010,” says Higgins, “but I always came back to crafting in one way or another. Cross stitch, resin jewelry making, wire-wrapped jewelry, rock painting, birch bark art, and wood carving are just a few of the crafts I’ve pursued over the years.”
Today, Higgins has jumped head-first into her most recent artistic endeavor, doll making, and is creating beautiful, one of a kind dolls using fabric and yarn for folks in the community on an on-demand basis.
Higgins’ foray into doll making all started when one of Higgins’ twin girls came home from school one day talking about a rag doll that her friend had gotten recently from Lithuania.
“She requested that I make [a rag doll] for her,” says Higgins, “and I figured, ‘I know how to sew’, so I gave it a shot.”
Soon after the conversation with her daughter, Higgins had created three dolls, one for each of her kids, and already received a request to make two more for a couple of her preschool dancers. After that the requests just kept coming.
Each doll is crafted unique using a pattern that Higgins came up with herself after feeling less than satisfied with what she was finding online. She likes to give people the option to customize their dolls by selecting skin, hair, and eye color to help “make them personal to the person receiving them.”
Whenever possible Higgins uses locally-sourced fabrics and yarns in her dolls, often times finding her best material at home or in her mother or mother-in-law’s “stashes,” with an eye for vibrant and exciting colored materials to help each of her creations stand out.
“Since there isn’t usually a large amount of any one fabric or yarn,” says Higgins, “every doll is truly unique. It’s what keeps making them fun!”
While Higgins has plans to start an Etsy shop and a Facebook page for her doll making business, she has been so busy with “requests from amazing locals” that she hasn’t felt the need to tackle those projects yet. To request a doll, the best way to get in touch with Higgins is via Facebook.
“Since each doll is literally hand stitched and one of a kind,” says Higgins, “they do take time. I’m currently booked up through September, but I am always happy to add people to the waitlist. The way things are looking, if someone wants to order one for Christmas now would be the time to order.”
Additional photos, information, and updates on where to find Higgins’ dolls can be found on Facebook by searching for Lesli Higgins.