Aaron by Philip Heath
Aaron is featured in Chapter 5, on page 261 in Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion. The vinyl doll was made in 1998 in a limited edition of 500. Aaron measures 39in/99.06cm. There are two vinyl versions: Aaron I and Aaron II. Their outfits differ. Other than that, I believe they are one in the same. My doll is Aaron II.
My Aaron was originally featured here along with other dolls made in Germany and again in a blog post featuring dolls dressed in school attire where he wears clothing and shoes my grandson wore when he was three.
In the image on the left, Aaron wears his original fashion: white T-shirt, long white pants, tan corduroy vest, white baseball cap, with white socks and canvas sneakers.
After learning that my doll did not come with his booklet, Portrait of Aaron by Philip Heath, the owner of the doll that inspired me to purchase mine, photocopied her booklet and mailed it to me.
Doll collectors are such wonderful people.
Sculpted in the likeness of a real child, in Portrait of Aaron, Heath shares in his own words and through illustrations what inspired the doll's initial porcelain sculpt, which was later produced in vinyl by Götz of Germany. About the real Aaron, Heath wrote:
Aaron has wonderful enthusiasm, a willingness to be captured by fleeting ideas which send him into a riot of activity. At other times he is quiet, dreamlike -- almost frozen in thought!
Later in the booklet, as the porcelain version neared completion, Heath questioned:
The frightening part! Did I do too much or not enough, will the painting, the eyes, eyelashes and clothing strengthen the work or lead me away from my goals?
Because the booklet contains images of the real Aaron, I can answer Heath's question with a resounding, "No. You did not do too much. Aaron, the doll, is perfect! I love him!"
Near the end of the booklet, Heath continues:
This process -- from photographs to finished vinyl portrait took one year. Aaron has grown, as is the way with children, and I have visited and phoned him during this time. He has been an important part of my thinking and feeling -- and through my work he became part of my life. I hope that the porcelain, the vinyl sculpture and this book will be acceptable to him in his life, and to his family.
The final page of the photocopied version of Portrait of Aaron reads:
A celebration of ART and caring
made possible through a partnership between Aaron,
Cultural Accents/Detroit, Barat Child and Family Services/Detroit,
Goetz Dolls/U.S.A. and Götz Puppenfabrik GmbH/Deutschland.
Interestingly, years before Aaron was made or before I became aware of the doll, my doll collecting path briefly crossed that of the owner of Cultural Accents/Detroit. During our doll-related phone conversations, probably three at the most, she confided in me that she knew Philip Heath and that he was one of her favorite doll artists. I remember her saying, "I love him!" This woman had also recently become an adoptive mother, of a young male child.