Aniqua Wilkerson: changing the world one doll at a time

One of the things I love about the internet is that it gives me a chance to learn about things outside of the immediate sphere of my life, and it is a tremendous resource when it comes to learning what other crocheters are doing with their hooks and yarn.

One such crocheter is Aniqua Wilkerson, a gifted doll artist from New York City, whose work I first became aware of about two years ago.

Her dolls are fun and vibrant and meant to be played with, and I have very much wanted to meet Aniqua and see her work “live and in person.”

I kept thinking that one of these days I would get to New York to do exactly that, but my life and my schedule were not able to accommodate me until today, when I got to meet Aniqua as part of a brief trip she was making to Raleigh to participate in a festival where her work (along with that of others) would be featured in an art gallery walk.

The festival was, as it turns out, well-attended, so the first challenge I faced was finding a parking space. Anxious not to waste time circling the same few blocks, I made my way to the nearest parking structure I could find, parked my car, and then began the trek to the festival proper.

Once there I had to decide if I were going to turn left or turn right. I made a serendipitous decision to turn right, and in a very few minutes I found the “My Kinda Thing” booth.

To say that the “My Kinda Thing” booth was overrun with interest in the work would be an understatement, so while I waited for an opportunity to introduce myself and talk to Ms. Wilkerson, I took a few photos of the work she had brought with her:

crochet doll mermaid
Some of Aniqua Wilkerson’s genius
homespun hair for a crochet doll mermaid
Homespun mermaid hair
Aniqua Wilkerson crochet dolls
More of Aniqua Wilkerson’s genius
Aniqua Wilkerson crochet dolls
Still more genius crochet dolls

Eventually, there was a lull (albeit a very brief lull) in the action, and I was able to get this photo of the inimitable Ms. Wilkerson and talk to her about her work:

Aniqua Wilkerson
Aniqua Wilkerson live and in person in Raleigh, North Carolina

Ms. Wilkerson’s dolls are very much at the edge where art and craft intersect. Most of her work is custom orders, and she uses the children for whom they are being made as inspiration for the work.

No two dolls are alike.

To my mind, her experience in early childhood education shows in the dolls she creates. They are not only very child friendly, but they are very child attractive, and I have no doubt that many of her dolls are often a child’s best loved toy.

One of Ms. Wilkerson’s missions for her dolls is “to promote pride and confidence in children of color, particularly girls of color, to combat self hate,” and with her prodigious skill and attention to detail, I have no doubt the she will succeed.

And if you want to learn more about Ms. Wilkerson’s mission and see more of her work, you can like her “My Kinda Thing” Facebook page.