Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ark Babies

(Note: Long post. Grab a cuppa java and enjoy. Or not)

It was August of 1997.
I had walked into a doll shop that opened in my small town.
My life was forever changed, in more ways than one.
It was a place you could go to be creative on so many levels.
I learned how to make a porcelain doll and I was in enjoying it!
 This is Brandy and she was my very first doll.
 Created her from Start to Finish.
As you work on your doll, she comes to life ever so slowly.
When she was complete I even got a few tears,
because they do come to life in a 'dolly' sort of way.

I wanted to make an indian doll and make authentic clothing.
The only thing authentic about the dress, is it is made of leather and beading.
 I made the shoes of rabbit fur.
After her, 
I wanted to make a very unique doll.
And she turned out the best ever!
I had her sitting in the corner of my room, and her eyes would follow you everywhere! 
Her whiskers are 'real' cat whiskers. 
I would find them laying on the floor, gifts left from my cats,
and would pick them up and save them.

 She is the ONLY Doll I sold.
And she is the ONLY Doll I wished I still had!

Then there was a doll show in Portland.
I was encouraged to enter my creations.
 Other local entrants.
 My dolls in the show.
They only got second, but it was a start.

Then the media picked up on the doll shop.
(Just click on any photo and will open in a new window bigger.)

Something started to happen about September of that year.
7 of us became a sort of 'family'.
Everyone showing up to work on their children.
I was just as excited to see a new one come to life as the creator was.
Ideas started to circulate.
And someone came up with:


The story begins:


It is believed that 'Ark Babies' are made by "Earth Angels" who go quietly about their daily lives and look just like everyone else.  However..... they are much different inside because they are the ones who have been touched by some of life's most difficult moments.

One by one they rose up to begin anew.  Knowing that though their lives were forever changed.  They were to go on because there was something very special for each of them to do.

What they did not know was when they were ready, God sent special angels to wipe their tears away and that started the healing of their hearts.  Gentle angel kisses on their brows brought comfort and peace.  Then the angels kissed their fingertips and each of the "Earth Angels" awakened little by little and went forth on their special journeys.

Because of what they had known and felt, they were the ones chosen to create the "Ark Babies".  Each was given a gift of love to touch another's life.  Not by words, but by being blessed to give each "Ark Baby" their own expression which need no words.

You will know which "Ark Baby" was made especially for you.  They speak no audible words but they speak with such love and reach out to you and touch your heart.  They are heavenly little messengers that speak his loving care for you.

Two weary and dusty travelers met quite unexpectedly and quickly realized that they were to be his special messengers to tell everyone about the "Ark Babies".

After the great flood when it seemed almost all had been lost, a new beginning was given and so it is with the "Ark Babies".  Every precious moment and memory or a new life is retained here and can't be lost, only cherished from here on.

Written by 'Earth Angel': Charlene Auger.

We created.
We put our hearts into these babies.

The owner of the doll shop worked hard at promoting these babies.

We had a booth at our local fair:
B. Goodies Doll Shoppe

 Brenda: Owner of the doll shop next to the Ark Babies.
What a hit they were! 
We sold so many that weekend.
It really boosted our spirits and gave us hope!
(The newspaper once again wrote a story.
And yes, that is me on the right!)

Hope because the 7 of us really believed in these babies.
They meant so much, and for different reasons.

When you held an Ark Baby, you held 'Love'.
Always a smile came to the face of the holder.
They weighted and felt just like holding a baby.

 (This was a one of a kind gorilla, special order)

Each one had an expression all their own.
They all came with a tag, with a logo
"I" had designed.
Along with a brochure with the story of the Ark Baby.

And each baby came with a certificate 
which had their birth date and Earth Angels creators name.

So we went into full production.
We held weekly meetings.
We contacted a lawyer and an accountant, about: 
Copy right issues.
Patent Issues.
Trade Mark Issues.
Business Issues.

The Doll Shop owner took
The 'Ark Babies' to a Trade show In Seattle.

Someone 'important' picked up on these babies.
(At least we were told they were important.)
First line of this reads:
"After a week of showing Ark Babies, I am more excited than ever regarding the future sales of your product."
They wanted us to go into full production.
So we did.
Lots of slip was ordered.
Earth Angels were pouring heads, feet and arms,
just about 24 hrs a day.

Other angels were cleaning, and painting, and sewing.

I was keeping books, and creating brochures, and tracking everything.

With all of this, came the shortage of cash.
See we were not really making money yet, and the doll shop was barely surviving.

So Earth Angels started to chip in monies.
 (Slip was the major expense.)
Without slip, we could not make the 'Ark Babies'.

From each doll that was created,
that creator was to make approximately $49.00.
 As the orders came in though, 
Earth Angels were encouraged to turn 'their' money 
back into the business.
 This was suppose to be a good thing,
because these baby's were very popular,
and people were purchasing them.
 Then a major company wanted to sign on and 
distribute these 'Ark Babies.'

Then the meetings started to go by the way side,
because everyone was so busy creating.

Then one morning I woke up,
and was told,
there wasn't any more 
'Earth Angels'.

The 7 of us were 'no longer'!


Yep, the owner wanted it all, and dis-banned the group!
"IF" we still wanted to be a part of it,
she would pay US $25.00 per doll!

I kept waiting to see these babies all over.
Even today if I Google search,
or any form of the name,
NOTHING comes up!

Oh, a bunch of Noah's Ark stuff does,
but none of these sweet little things.

I am not sure what ever happened,
but I know that when the '6' of us were kicked off the team,
the 'Ark Babies' became nothing.
'Someone' saw $$$$$$ and got greedy.

And my thoughts are:
These baby's started from love, and when that love turned to greed,
they did not want any part of it, and nothing went forward,
and the 'Ark Babies' went back to where they came from.

That Christmas I started to see these form of dolls all over the place.
Their heads were vinyl, not porcelain.
They were also much smaller, and were not as cute nor as special.
But someone DID take our idea!

So If you, OWN, SEE, HEAR of any of our 'Ark Babies'
know that they were created out of LOVE!

One last note:
The red bear we boxed up with the certificate, tag, and brochure with a letter, and sent it OPRAH!

She sent it back with a letter stating she can not accept "GIFT'S!"

It was NOT sent to her as a gift,
the letter explained that!

We were hoping to go on her show and debut the babies there.

But it was not to be.



Karen V said...

The six of you should have struck out on your own! Smaller shop, more expensive price, etc.

If the arguement is trademarks, etc... those have to be renewed every year or they expire and are available for anyone else to use...

Just a thought.

Such a shame to let such creative talent walk away because of greed. Sounds like she lost sight of the reason she started it - love and passion for creating dolls.

Lois Evensen said...

How fun! Those are beautiful!!!

Fat Bottom Farm said...

Such cute faces!
I'm sorry it didn't work out for you, but I'm glad it didn't work out for anyone else either!

Pamela D. Hart said...

Too bad you gals didn't go on the Home Shopping Network. THAT would've garnered you LOTS of attention and sales and maybe the Ark Babies would've stayed with "love" instead of "greed".

I'm sorry Mrs. C, sometimes we think we're doing the right thing but it doesn't turn out that way.

The original Ark Babies are beautiful.

Nichols said...

This last fall I did a estate sale, found this wonderful doll, looked and looked could not find anything like it. Porcelain face well made, it didn't sell, when it came time to dispose of the left overs, I was doing a buy out of a few left overs, when this now known Ark baby fell into the box of stuff, I pulled it out three times, every time I turned around it was back in my box of stuff, after the fourth time I gave up, I didn't want it, but it was determined to go home with me, weird I know, it is one with a teddy bear that the head is in one hand and the body is in the other, and she is crying. now I know her history.

Earle Hartshorn said...

My wife and I had been married just over 2 years when she passed away last week. She has 2 Ark Babies. I knew she had them, but had never seen them because they were carefully packed away. Just found them last night, very unique.not sure what will become of them.

Earle Hartshorn said...

My wife and I had been married just over 2 years when she passed away last week. She has 2 Ark Babies. I knew she had them, but had never seen them because they were carefully packed away. Just found them last night, very unique.not sure what will become of them.

Misty Morgan said...

Thank you for sharing your story about your beloved Ark Babies. I"m very sad to hear that people can be so cruel just for profits. You truly made these babies come to life. In fact, I purchased seven of your babies at an auction in Palm Springs, CA.years ago and I wouldn't part with any of them. I have them displayed throughout my home and love them. My daughter and granddaughter were admiring them and found your website about their beginning. Again, thank you for sharing your story and for your dedication and love making these babies. I will cherish each and everyone of them. You are so talented and truly loved for creating these angel babies. Misty

stephanie said...

I became the proud owner of a very cute and cuddly Ark Babies Panda bear this evening .Found her at a second hand store in Portland Oregon knowing she had to go home with us.The real baby feel I got when I threw the baby on my hip while casually walking around the house browsing on my tablet , I was hooked.A lot of love,time and heart was put into this baby and you can not only see the quality but you can feel it. Thank you

mrscravitz said...

Thank you for letting me know Stephanie. Can you tell me what region you found her at? I still have my originals that I kept, and Like you said, they are like carrying around a real baby! They are so very huggable!

Ely said...

Did you own the store called "A touch of Heaven" in Umatilla? I just got the Zebra baby and it has a tag with the name and address of that store.