Are you still looking for art and/or literature to go in your journal?

Whilst we have finished taking submissions for issue one, we are always looking for new contributors for future issues! xox

Dearest Doll Hospital team - I think what you're doing is amazing. Congrats on being over your Kickstarter goal - here's to raising more $$$ to back a killer project!! xoxox
birdwings Asked

Eee thank you bb!

And aaaa the kickstarter! We can hardly believe it! I mean we reached £1,000 today!? That is just utterly out of this world. Especially as we had no idea what the response was going to be, if anyone was even going to back it!

But seriously, thank you SO much for your support, it really means so much and we’re working to make our first issue as a+ awesome as possible to honour all of you awesome people who are supporting us! Hope you’re well and had a good weekend! Your blog is lovely btw!

Much love and good vibes

xoxox

October 20 2014, 03:47 PM   •   2 notes
I'm interested in donating/reading the journal but I have no access to a credit card or any online payments! What can I do?
Anonymous Asked

Hi!

Thank you for your interest in supporting us, it really means a lot!!

We accept donations via post also, why don’t you drop us an email at dollhospitaljournal@gmail.com and we can figure out what would be best for you :)

Thanks so much and hope you’re having a good weekend!

xox

✿ UPDATE ON FUNDING ✿

We can hardly believe this, but in only six days we have reached our goal! We are beyond honoured that you chose to back us, to support us, to signal boost us. Thank you so, so much. Seriously. Your continuing support drives us to make Doll Hospital the best it can be, we want to do you justice by creating something truly great. Something worthy of your investment. 

Donations past the £772 mark will go towards shipping the print journals worldwide, thus ensuring that our journal is truly accessible to all, paying our contributors for their hard work (something we really want to do, they are all so brilliant and deserve to be compensated!) and, if we raise enough extra money, printing some more copies too!

So if you haven’t backed us yet you still can! And it will still be worthwhile!

✿The Doll Hospital Kickstarter is here ✿

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Okay, so we’ve been working on Doll Hospital since the Spring, finding contributors, debating ideas, finding the best chansey fanart, but now, with our first issue completed we are ready to launch our kickstarter!

Over many months we have crafted together our first issue featuring contributions and interviews from awesome people such as Tavi Gevinson, Latoya Peterson, Esme Wang, Kate Zambreno, Mey Valdivia Rude, Kristina Wong, and Diamond J Sharp. It is 172 pages full colour of soothing illustrations, comic art, poetry, fiction, literary essays and real talk. We’ve uploaded a preview of some of the issue so you can get an idea of what we’re about. We think it is beautiful, we think it is necessary, and we hope you do too.

Our goal of £772 will allow us to print 100 print copies of Doll Hospital, any extra money we raise will go towards paying our contributors for their hard work, and, if possible, printing some extra copies too!

Once printed it should be accessible for anyone who wants to read it. As a result, the journal will be pay as you wish, you can donate a little, or pay nothing, we don’t mind, we just want you to read it. In investing in us you can allow us to achieve this goal, Because when it comes to mental health we believe that to share your story, or to find comfort in another’s, is not a privilege, it is a right, that should be free to anyone who needs it.

Now, asking money is a bit of a weird situation, so we’ve included lots of neat perks too!! Mix tapes, care packages, even advance copies of the journal!!

Will you support us? Signal boost us? Tweet this? Facebook us?

Saying it would mean the world to us is kind of a cliche, but struggling, sharing and surviving with mental health? Well that is our world!!

October 10 2014, 01:58 PM   •   109 notes

Little Link Round Up: Things That Moved Us This Month

Omg. It’s the end of September?! Eep! How has your month been bbs?! Submissions for Issue One are pretty much done, which means the first ever Doll Hospital will be out soon! Are you excited? We’re excited! Oh and btw we’re on Twitter and Facebook now! Pop over and say hi! Whilst DH is never going to be a place for constant link skipping, twenty tabs of articles you know you should read, but are only gonna disappears when the browser crashes, there is some seriously great stuff out there, and we’d love to share a few of the things that moved us this month.

✿ Brittney Cooper, Feminism’s ugly internal clash: Why its future is not up to white women, Salon

You may have seen excerpts of this amazing essay zooming round tumblr, but if you haven’t read the whole piece we encourage you to do so! It is everything. Seriously. Anything we say will be kind of a second-rate version of an a+ piece, so we’ll leave you with the words of Brittney Cooper herself:

"So what we need feminism to give a care about is not simply or primarily the plight of white middle-class, putatively straight, American moms and their children, but rather the plight of non-white, non-middle-class, non-straight, non-cisgender, non-American women and children.  Black feminism taught me that. 

For me, that means practically, that I do care what happens in American politics, because cuts to food stamps, the defunding of public schools, and the inaccessibility of the full benefits of Obamacare in certain states, affect black women I love. It means I care that the justice department investigates Darren Wilson. But it also means that when I look to a vision of the world I want to see, I look to young women of color, who meld race, gender and queer politics into an expansive, inclusive, and just vision of the world. This is a world where everyone’s lives are made better, white women included.”

✿ Ruth Blatt, What Do Neil Young, Kurt Cobain And Other Disabled Rockers Teach Us About Working With Disability And Chronic Illness, Forbes

The links between disability and music are far-reaching and sometimes fraught. It is an oft-mined subject in lyrics, and the “performance” of disability has been employed by everyone from Elvis Presley to Lady Gaga. In this article Ruth Blatt argues that the impairments artists such as Ian Dury, Kurt Cobain and Neil Young have or had are intrinsic to their art, in both attitude and performance.

The pressure to fit in to narrow ideas of “normality” (whatever that may be) affects us all. This pressure is compounded by images of seemingly perfect celebrities. But by channeling their outsider status in to their art, these disabled musicians give all of us who exist outside of these norms something to relate to. 

✿ Danny Dorling, How the Super Rich Got Richer, The Guardian

At Doll Hospital we’ve been having lots of conversations on the relationships between class, financial status and mental health, some of which you’ll be able to read in our first issue! And this piece provided an interesting, if somewhat shallow (the connections between inequality and other intersecting factors such as race, gender and disability are not considered), introduction to the rise in inequality in the UK. This quote is particularly striking, particularly disturbing:

“It is very hard to justify your huge wealth unless you see people beneath you as less deserving. Once the wealth gaps become very large, it is easier to get through the day if you see them as less able, less special. At the extreme, the less fortunate may not be seen as people at all. That was the finding of a study from Princeton University in which MRI scans were taken of several university students’ active brains while they viewed images of different people. Researchers saw that photographs of homeless people and drug addicts failed to stimulate areas of the brain that usually activate whenever people think about other people, or themselves. Instead, the (mostly affluent) students reacted to the images as if they “had stumbled on a pile of trash”.

What do you think? Have you read anything interesting? Or just seen a really cute animal video you just have to share? Or even better have YOU had something published this month, a blog post, a playlist, a doodle, ANYTHING. Let us know! 

September 30 2014, 12:58 PM   •   22 notes

Doll Hospital D.I.Y: Super Simple Sewing with Hannah Moitt

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If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or are having trouble relaxing, crafting might be one effective way to help yourself feel more calm. Whether you’re knitting a scarf or making a friendship bracelet, crafting helps to keep your hands and mind occupied, which I find really helpful at low points. And, thankfully, for most crafts you don’t need expensive tools or expert knowledge to make something lovely! I find the repetitive movements in knitting and crochet really relaxing and watching the project take shape is so encouraging!

This nice little pencil case only takes around 45-60 minutes to make and is a mega easy project even if you’ve just started out sewing. You don’t need to put in a zip or buttons or use any advanced techniques and as it uses very little fabric you can make the whole thing with scraps or old clothes.

Beyond the Bell Jar: ✿ Join the Doll Hospital Book Club ✿

Hello!

As our first issue begins to fall together, our heart fills up, burst balloon style, for all the love and support we’ve been given from you lovely people! ♥ ♥ 

As it’s September now, we’re feeling a back to school, earnest education vibes, sort of post. What do you think? Going back to classes can be an overwhelming time, teachers and classmates can be cruel, deadlines can swallow you. (This piece by Arabelle on common college nightmares is a wonderful resource if you ever need it.) So we wanted to create something that draws a bridge between the hopeful autumnal outlook of Rory Gilmore, hardback book and backpack in hand, and a soothing safe space, just for you. 

Which is where our little book club comes in! Who says we cannot heal our hearts and broaden our minds at the same time? And when did reading books, watching movies, all that fun stuff become so stressful? An endless cultural checklist of boring white dudes that you feel morally obligated to go though! Ick! An especially powerful guilt trip for those of us who aren’t neurotypical, who are dealing with ADHD or have learning difficulties. Like we feel bad enough already, we don’t need you to shame us for not reading an 1,000 page long historical drama in our spare time y’kno?!

As a result, we have prioritised books that are accessible and not like ridiculously long! Doll Hospital is a lot of things, but it certainly isn’t homework!

So without further ado, here is a selection of our fave books right now, if they are not already stocked in your local library why not have a chat to your librarian and see if they can order you in a copy? Or ask our very own Eline who has a secret superpower for finding books online. And hey, if you have a bit of spare cash, why not buy two copies? One for you, and one for a friend and start a little reading group of your own? That would be awesome! But yay! Let’s get to it! ^___^

  

The Red Tree, Shaun Tan

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[Image description: an illustration of a young girl in bed, leaves blow around her bedroom, as she stares emptily into the distance.]

Okay, so Shaun Tan is everything. He’s previously created a graphic novel epic on migrant identity and a brutal take down of colonisation told through the metaphor of bunny rabbits. Obviously he has a picture book on mental health. And obviously it is amazing. In bold pencil lines and paintbrush streaks, Tan explores the struggles of chronic depression, disassociation and overwhelming hopelessness. It is cathartic and comforting and real. Whilst this book may have been created for a younger audience, we’re not about bordering who should read what when, as that has gross ableist implications. If it brings you comfort it is meant for you. Simple as that. 

The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison

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[Image description: a young black girl holds a white, blonde hair doll, a single tear falls down the girl’s face]

We’ve previously talked about our interest in deconstructing archetypes of white girlhood, and when it comes to learning about how damaging, how alienating, this construct is we couldn’t think of a better place to start than The Bluest Eye. At around 150 pages long it is perfectly contained, the sort of book you could read in one sitting.

Drawing invisible threads between the ugly consequences of white beauty, the stolen innocence of black girls, and the alienating constructs of white vulnerability, of white suffering, constructs that are built to keep black bodies, black stories, out, it is actually one of the # 1 inspirations behind Doll Hospital. We think this extract on dolls, on Shirley Temple, is a perfect introduction:

“I hated Shirley. Not because she was cute, but because she danced with Bojangles, who was my friend, my uncle, my Daddy, and who ought to have been soft-shoeing it and chuckling with me, instead he was enjoying, sharing, giving a lovely dance thing with one of those little white girls whose socks never slid down under their heels.

Younger than both Frieda and Pecola, I had not yet arrived at the turning point in the development of my psyche which would allow me to love her. What I felt at that time was unsullied hatred. But before that I had felt a stranger, more frightening thing than hatred for all the Shirley Temples of the world.

It had begun with Christmas and the gift of dolls. The big, the special, the loving gift was always a big, blue-eyed Baby Doll. ….Adults, older girls, shops, magazines, newspapers, window signs-all the world had agreed that a blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned doll was what every girl child treasured. “Here,” they said, “this is beautiful, and if you are on this day ‘worthy’ you may have it.” I fingered the face, wondering at the single-stroke eyebrows; picked at the pearly teeth stuck like two piano keys between red bowline lips. Traced the turned-up nose, poked the glassy blue eyeballs, twisted the yellow hair. I could not love it. But I could examine it to see what it was that all the world said was lovable.”

The Last of The Really Great Whangdoodles, Julie Edwards

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[Image description: three children and an older man run down a path surrounded by vividly coloured trees and plants, they are smiling]

Let me tell you something very important: Maria “Victor” Poppins-Renaldi (aka Dame Julie Andrews) knows the inside of our brain. Yeah! Did you know that yr fave angel-voiced nanny also wrote children’s books (multiple!) and also that they’re really good?! The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles is, basically, a whimsical fairytale epic all about the ultimate sovereignty of the imagination, starring three intrepid siblings, a whole host of silly mythical creatures, and (to our recollection) one totally non-creepy eccentric old man/mentor. It’s about the flexibility and freedom of the minds of children. It’s about the magic of noticing, of bearing witness to the small tendernesses of life and letting them transport you. Whangdoodleland is a wonderful place to adventure in when you and the “real world” need to forget each other for a little while, imbued with gentle wonder (its ruler’s motto is Pax amor et lepos in iocando, or, “Peace, love, and a sense of fun”), and you need only your imagination and your scrappy caps to get there. 

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Hayao Miyazaki

[Image description: Nausicaä with her pet, Teto, on her shoulder fastening her helmet while her text bubble says: “If I stop moving, I’ll drown in grief. I have to keep moving forward…”]

When dealing with a bout of depression, lots of stress, or just generally feeling overwhelmed, it can be hard focussing on big blocks of text. That’s kind of a shitty thing, considering reading is a #1 method of calming down. So, reading lots of mangas, comix, graphic novels, comics, or whatever you want to name your genre of illustrated stories, is a great choice. Not only because there’s a lot less text but the visual narrative helps with following the story too. One of our absolute favourites this past year was Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, by Hayao Miyazaki! It’s also an amazing anime, a Doll Hospital favourite, but we think we might love the manga even more.

We love it so much because it’s an awesome sci-fi story about a girl that has a beautiful bond with nature and animals, a bond built up by mutual trust, interest and lots of time investment. Nausicaä has a connection with the insects (giant insects!) and nature of her world that is really soothing. There is something very calming in connecting to nature; taking care of plants, watching bugs crawl around, it’s slow and without weird and unexpected roundabouts that slap you in your face when you least expect it, like life can do sometimes. Miyazaki transferred this feeling perfectly in Nausicaä’s story, supported by its beautiful drawn world, filled with weird looking plants that border on looking poisonous and parasitic but truly wonderful and fantastic, gigantic insects with thousands of eyes; a world that draws you in its own fantasy.

In the beginning you can read it as a pessimistic story about humans not caring for nature, but by the end it’s a positive tale about saving humanity via a love and understanding of nature, the latter is the bit that we loved so much and that gave us new air to breathe when in a depressive slump. The above image sums up this entire vibe perfectly.

Short and Sweet, Dan Lepard

[Image description: two inside pages of the book ‘Short and Sweet’, the pages are decorated in pink and yellow polkadots and the text read ‘Doughnuts, batters & babas’]

Baking can be a great part of your self-care routine; there’s a quiet luxury in setting aside the best part of a day to spend time in your own company (especially if you’re a bit of an introvert) and it works out to be quite cheap if you have a few bits in the cupboard.

Although it’s magical when you finally pull that tray of biscuits out of the oven, the rest of the ritual can be just as comforting, the simple act of putting on a tatty old apron and pulling down a favorite cookery book. For us it’s Short & Sweet, a collection of Dan Lepard’s recipes. His writing is down to earth and homely, from the story of the first cake he ever dreamed about to the serving suggestion for his honey loaf (“[eat] hungrily: thickly sliced and toasted in the morning”). He clearly loves baking and gets why we do too, so a lot of the recipes are speedy and/or very satisfying to make. It’s a pleasure to leaf through too; you don’t even have to make anything, you can just enjoy the book.

If you are in the baking mood we recommend the cherry and oatmeal cookies, which take almost no time to make, or the lemon poppy seed cake.

FRUiTS, Shoichi Aoki

[Image description: photograph of the books FRUiTS and Fresh FRUiTS laid on a table, each of the cover images show street fashion photos of teenagers dressed in colourful, multi-patterned clothes.]

Image by Audio Helkuik

FRUiTS (2001) and Fresh FRUiTS (2005) collect images from the legendary Japanese street style magazine’s first 8 years. We’ve owned these books forever and never tire from flipping through and noticing new things. Based primarily in the Harajuku district of Tokyo, FRUiTS captures the creative and rebellious style of the city’s teenagers, and the ingenious ways they work with their clothes. Goths, lolitas, punks, brightly-coloured Hello Kitty fans, and everyone else in-between and beyond pop up to pose for the camera.

Each revisit provides new things to notice about people’s outfits (these books are seriously great if you’re a fan of accessorising). What is so soothing about FRUiTS goes beyond style inspiration though, as the richness of each image becomes more apparent each time you look at them. If you look beyond the subject of the photo you can lose yourself getting a glimpse into shops and buildings, or looking at the people in the background of each shot, imagining their lives in one of the world’s most dynamic cities.

 ✿

Okies, so these are the books we are into but what about you? What passages do you find yourself returning to, quotes you can’t help but reblog, books you reread each year? Whether its specifically on mental health (we’re always looking for new mental health books to read!) or just something cute or silly (you know how much we love cute things!) we’d love to hear from you 

                                              

hello! i wanted to send a quick message - firstly, i am very excited about this project and am looking forward to supporting it in any way i can! i think it’s a very important thing to do and i am so pleased that you have had submissions and interest and i am honestly really excited to see what happens. however i felt inclined to write to you, as a white female with mental health issues, that your description felt a little excluding of people like myself. i am not saying that i am ‘loved not despite of, but because of, [my] ‘illness” - and i completely understand the point you are making with this - but as someone who has experienced a relatively standard ‘white girlhood’ upbringing i felt slightly insecure about my involvement with the project. i know this is not how you wish to portray yourself, and i completely agree that media and popular culture often glamorise illnesses - which needs to change. however, i feel that coming to this site in the midst of a depressive period and seeing that my white girlhood illness is excluding others isn’t exactly the most positive thing to see! i hope i am not coming across angry or anything because, like i said, i think this is going to be brilliant! 

Hi!

Firstly thank you for your kind words of support!

In regards to your concerns, as we say in the description we are not speaking of white women themselves, or suggesting that white people should not submit, of course not. 

We are not speaking of individuals we are speaking of archetypes, that live in literature, art and popular culture, and these archetypes are damaging to both white women and to women of colour. It is this romanticised archetype that has stopped white women such as Zelda Fitzgerald thriving in their creative practice. Kate Zambreno’s study of mental health and modernism ‘Heroines’ is an excellent study of how these romanticised portraits of white girlhood exclude actual white women.

But in terms of white girlhood in general, yes it does exclude people! That is the point of the construct of whiteness: to keep people out, to police innocence (quite literally in some cases). This is not a personal attack on any individual white woman or girl, it is a simple fact. Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye is an excellent study of this if you are interested. 

Doll Hospital does decentre whiteness, girls of colour, particularly black girls are always going to take priority with us as they are the most neglected in mainstream media. But that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate and cherish the work of great artists who are white also. 

If you still don’t feel comfortable about this project that’s okay! But I hope you understand our motives a little better now!

Thanks so much for your sharing your thoughts and I hope everything is good with you!

August 31 2014, 07:31 AM   •   1 note
I just wanted to say this tumblr is so amazing, and your explanation of the name resonates with me so deeply. Anyway, all I'm really trying to say is thank you <3
Anonymous Asked

Um oh my gosh, thank you for this beautiful message?? 

But don’t thank us, it’s not about us, it was never about us, it’s about you bb!

And I am so honoured that it resonates with you, and I’m so excited for you to see what we were are working on in the journal right now, I hope you’ll love it as much as we do!

Wishing you all the love and good vibes wrapped up in imaginary parcel paper and sent from me to you <3

xox