TEHRAN – Every morning I wake up with my heart full of love. I have an enthusiasm to make new dolls, says Bibi Hazer Omidvari, a 91-year-old Iranian woman born and grown up in the southwestern city of Kazeroon.
“Thanks God that granted me the patience of making dolls. If I wasn’t busy with these dolls, I always thought of my past and the burdens I had tolerated in my life. Then these memories made me crying,” she explained.
Elaheh Abbaspour, her granddaughter, spoke with the Tehran Times by phone and quoted Bibi Hazer’s comments because Bibi Hazer was not able to talk personally.
“Doll-making is a remedy for me. I try not to think about the past. I make dolls with happiness while I pray God,” Bibi Hazer said adding, “I pray God to keep my eyes and my hands healthy to help me make dolls. I pray God not to take my patience and power for making dolls.”
“I do not feel disabled yet because I still feel power through my heart,” she added.
“Since a human being takes breaths, she should be busy with a job. Each person should create good mood for herself. When you are in a good mood, you are still alive; you can work and you are happy,” believes the doll-maker.
There is a story behind many dolls Bibi Hazer makes. She has heard many stories from her mother, grandmother and aunts.
“She likes her doll, Samanbar, more than other dolls because Samanbar is an intelligent and deliberate woman. Samanbar is a doctor and she helps people. I even love my children more, when they are helpful for others,” Bibi Hazer said.
Bibi Hazer doesn’t like her doll Dada Siyah (the black slave-girl) which is a dishonest character of the story “The patient stone doll” because Dada Siyah violates the right of the dear darling daughter. She had to make daughter awake to help the bewitched boy; but she didn’t.
“My children and grandchildren are the most important encouragers of me and then those who visit my artworks,” Bibi Hazer said, adding that about one thousand dolls are currently on the show at Iran Artists Forum.
To date, she has held three exclusive exhibits and another general one. Three years ago, an exhibition of her works was held for public sale. Bibi Hazer has given about one thousands of her dolls to many children as a gift.
Children of both sexes like her dolls, even boys may like it much and ask me to give them dolls, said the mother of five.
Storytelling is women’s custom. Mothers and grandmothers tell stories for their children and grandchildren to make them amuse and also make them mindful, Elaheh who has heard her grandma’s stories many times quotes Bibi Hazer as saying.
Elaheh is now composing many of her grandma’s stories in a book.
Stories are full of advices. A mother tells story to her child and her child repeats the same story for her own child. In this way all generations will receive the advices for better life, the grandmother of twelve and great grandmother of seven stated.
An illiterate woman is blind and deaf, Bibi Hazer whose wish of being literate was never fulfilled said.
Her husband and her mother didn’t like making embroider on a kind of shoes that was women’s job at that time. Her mother was not unhappy when she made dolls, said the doll maker who began doll making from the childhood as a hobby and at the age of 78 seriously.
Bibi Hazer used to knit washcloth and make doormats. However, after some medical problems, she started making dolls.”
“Many of these dolls are unique. Bibi creates some of her dolls by watching TV programs.”