My Story

How Paddlefootz Dolls & Thangs came to be…

My evolution into crafting and doll-making began in 1997 with a request from my mother for a Black Santa. Soon after that, I switched over to Rabbits, Bears, and Angel craft creations. The first Angel I made was for my sister to keep her company when she went into the hospital. The idea of doll-making came from conversations she and I had on my night shifts with her during that time.

My sister and I talked about many things, but mostly our conversations were about how hard it had been and still was to find black dolls that were true, cute, and beautiful reflections of us as Black people for her nieces, my daughters. I’d seen quite a few patterns while working on the earlier crafts, but none of them to me were cute. I’d already made her an angel and a beautiful chocolate rabbit, so I decided to make her a doll.   

Some may remember the “Kewpie” dolls. They were funny looking as plastic dolls and even funnier looking in cloth. Sadly, that is as close as I could get to what I envisioned in my mind. I made a couple before I finally tweaked the pattern and got to my sister's, but once hers was completed and was the “true, cute AND beautiful” reflection I was looking for, I was hooked and determined to improve upon this new fun thing I found. 

The walk and the feet I thank my grandmother Limmie Lucille Webb Pounds and her baby boy, my daddy William Henry Earl (Bill) Pounds. Sewing, dressing making, and hairstyling skills are thanks to my maternal grandmother, Vernelle “Mommie” Wright, and my mother, Bennie Joyce Pounds. Encouragement and inspiration came from my sisters Felita and Annelida Richardson. They have all now transitioned along with my other beautiful and talented African American, Black, Colored, Negro, and Mulatto ancestors, known and not that came before me and laid the foundation. Without them and God, none of this journey would have been possible. Each one left me with a legacy, unique gifts, and pigeon-toed feet I share with my children, grandchildren, and these dolls that will live on for eternity.

For everything else, I thank my children Jamyl, Niambi, and Jalia, my “Homies” Joy, Lisa, Marilyn, and Marlene, and Aunties Faye and Pat. Their support through the years has been priceless.

Thanks for taking the time to read and learn my story. I hope you enjoy what you see in the pages that follow like I enjoy and love creating them and bringing them to life. They truly keep me grounded and bring me peace.

Peace and blessings to you and yours!

Debra aka Paddlefoot