persona dolls representing gifted students

Photos Jo Freitag

I have just completed the making of the 6 persona dolls representing Neihart and Betts  Profiles of the Gifted and Talented. I purposely did not give these dolls facial features so that they can represent their type of giftedness without also showing any racial or ethnic characteristics. For the set I had to make a second version of the Sprite doll.

Sprite doll expressions

Photos Jo Freitag

The first version of Sprite had an embroidered face, she had a calico body rather than a wooden frame and she was not in the same scale as the dolls in the set.

By altering Sprite’s posture and the angle and lighting of the photos I took it was possible to express a variety of emotions. However the whole face did not have to be visible for the emotions to be implied (eg right end picture).

During the making of the set of dolls I had interesting discussions with several people about whether the dolls should be given facial features.

Brother in law thought they looked creepy with blank faces but conceded that could be due to memories of some horror films he had seen.

Psychologist Janette Phelan of Uplift Centre Pty Ltd in Brisbane could see many possible ways of using the dolls in counselling and play therapy if the faces were blank.

At one stage during the making and gathering of the dolls and other creatures Edward was the only one in the group who had a blank face (except Felicity – but as her back was turned she did not count). Edward seemed out of place and I was convinced that I would need to paint or embroider facial features for all the dolls.

group of dolls and animals

Photo Jo Freitag

But as all of the dolls but Sprite were finished and I realised that I would have to make a second version of Sprite it also became clear that they did not need faces.

Gifted and Talented students can be of any racial/ethnic/ cultural/ economic/religious group so it was more helpful for the dolls to be neutral in regard to these aspects of their character.

Michaela the Creative

Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag


Meet Michaela the Creative!

Michaela is a persona doll representing the Creative type of gifted student on Neihart and Betts Profiles of the Gifted and Talented.

Michaela’s story

Michaela is a bright, creative, moody, nonconformist.
She loves arts and crafts, music, dance and drama.
At times she appears to be a confident, bubbling extrovert but at other times seems quite defensive.
She loves sparkles and frills.
She dances and cartwheels rather than walking sedately and some of the teachers wonder whether she has ADHD.
Michaela’s responses to assignments are usually very different from the expected responses. They reflect her creativity and unusual approach to the subject and often also express her strong opinions and her deep inner convictions. Some teachers consider her to be rebellious and have discipline problems. They can easily find themselves in a power struggle with her.
Michaela needs parents, teachers and mentors who will recognize and encourage her areas of talent and focus on her creative potential rather than achievement.
While there needs to be tolerance of her individualism she does need instruction in interpersonal skills and help with her organizational issues.
Most of all her feelings need to be respected and her original thinking needs to be encouraged

And Now Read On…

Now that I have posted the entries relating to Persona Dolls that I had written for Gifted Resources blog and Sprite’s Site blog the adventure can continue here.

Please keep reading

Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag


On February 4 Elizabeth Albiston called in to deliver a book and uttered the magic words “Sorry, I cannot stay for a cuppa. I have to go to Bunnings”

I had been trying to work out how I could go to Bunnings to purchase the materials to make the rest of the set of persona dolls and was so grateful to Elizabeth for the Divinely appointed excursion  and for the lovely lunch we shared!

The goodies from Bunnings  will be  ingredients for persona dolls Miranda the Successful, Vincent (Vince) the At Risk graffiti artist, Michaela the Creative and possibly Adam from Rural isolation and another version of Sprite the Twice Exceptional