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Obama Dolls by Shana Barry

Shana Barry has been making fine dolls since she was four years old. Her newest collection features several of our president elect: “President Obama, Team Captain, stands 20 inches tall and loves a good game of hoops… The team captain has his own paper mache ball and is ready some one-on-one.” Jump inside for the complete story.


On a stormy and windy night in Down East Maine in early December, artist Shana Barry was sitting by the wood stove, listening to music and putting the finishing touches on a new doll she had just sewn. Giving the face a final coat of paint, she realized she recognized the doll.

“It looked a lot like President Obama.” she said. “And it was totally by accident. He’s been on my mind lately, so it makes sense. His election was really inspiring.”

The next day, Barry, who made her first doll when she was four years old, intentionally created an Obama doll out of scraps of cloth and canvas she had laying around her studio. Less than a week later, a 20-inch tall “President Obama, Leader of the Free World” doll was finished, complete with red power tie, handmade leather oxfords and wearing a sleek tailored, black suit.

“I showed him to my family and friends and everyone loved him,” Barry said. “So I decided to put him up on eBay just to see what would happen.”

Seven days later, a woman from Illinois paid a hundred dollars for the “Leader of the Free World” and Barry was excited.

“I knew I was on to something,” she said. “I really enjoyed sewing the doll and decided to make more.” Last week, she finished “President Obama, team captain.” And on Monday, January 5, she listed him on eBay. “From designing the clothes to the painting his face,” she said. “I’m having so much fun.”

“Team Captain” wears a red, white and blue basketball uniform decorated with the Obama campaign logo and white stars and holds a paper mache basketball. Pictures of the doll can be seen at Barry’s website

And she just completed the third doll: “President Obama, Superhero” who is wearing a skin tight blue suit and sports a flowing red cape and knee-high, crime-fighting boots. She listed the doll on eBay on Thursday, January 8.

Next up, a special pair of dolls in honor of the inauguration. “Obama is wearing a tux and Michelle will be wearing a fashionable gown of my own creation, as opposed a dress by an international designer,” Barry said. “After that, I’m not sure exactly, but I’ve got dozens of ideas.”

Barry – who is also a singer-songwriter — only plans to make 25 of the Obama dolls, because she has a busy spring ahead of her. She’s releasing her latest CD, an album of children’s music called “A Pink Whale and Very Tall Tree” and planning a summer tour. Barry, who created “Sally, the World’s Largest Sardine,” the 24-foot long centerpiece of Eastport’s 2007 New Year’s Celebration, was born on Peaks Island, off of Portland. She moved to Eastport, an island on the Maine and Canadian border, five years ago to focus on her art and music.

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