News

Throwback Thursday with Richie and Happy

Willy & Happy Jig Doll - Limberjack

We met Happy Bearington last week, when he and Betty Bather met with Wully Woodsman and had a right old natter.

If you remember, Happy left the circus to return to his roots (and berries, and a bit of salmon) in the forest and is reconnecting with his childhood haunts.

Today is #ThrowbackThursday and we thought we'd share a picture of Happy's time in the circus, when he was the headline act in Richie Ringmaster's Big Top, delighting audiences all over the world.

Both Richie and Happy remember these times fondly, and Happy often takes a break from foraging to give Richie a quick call to see how it's going (what, he's a modern bear, there's at least 3 bars in the woods!).

Happy Bearington and Richie Ringmaster are both available in our webshop at Summer Sale prices, so hop on over to https://www.jigdoll.com/jig-doll-limberjack-store.html and have a look see if you have room in your heart and home for our jolly dancing bear and the ringmaster! 

Come and have a look see and find yourself a new dancing partner in our webshop! 

Willy, Betty and Happy Meet Up in the Forest

Willy, Betty and Happy - Jig Doll - Limberjack

Willy, Betty and Happy meet up in the forest

As we roved out one evening to the Bospub in Dwingeloo (near the Dwingelderveld nature reserve), we met up with Wully the Woodsman, who happened to have been in the area to check up on Happy Bearington. (And to have a sneaky listen to the session that was going on in the Bospub!)


You see, Happy Bearington had gone on a trip after deciding there must be more to life than the circus and had gone back to his roots. After all, does a bear... let's not finish that question! :o

While Wully and Happy were catching up, the heavens opened and there was a tremendous downpour of water that almost flooded the forest and the nearby pond where Betty Bather had been sunning herself. Well, we say sunning, but as you can see, Betty's 1920s bathing attire leaves everything to the imagination!

It must have been love at first sight for Wully and Betty, as last we saw them they were deep in conversation under an umbrella in the downpour! Happy in the mean time was having a nice munch on the redcurrants, his warm coat protecting him from the rain.

Wully, Betty and Happy are all available through the webshop on our website, Wully and Happy both love to dance to songs and tunes about forests, woods and mountains, while Betty is partial to not only 1920s tunes and songs, but also songs about swimming!

Hildegard waving goodbye to Giles and Hunter

Hildegard, Giles and Hunter wave goodbye - Jig Doll - Limberjack

Two Jig Dolls/Limberjacks wing their way over the atlantic ocean!
Hunter the Hound and Jaunty Giles the Farmer today said goodbye to their friends and relations at Jig Dolls & Limberjacks as they set off on their travels across the great Atlantic Ocean.

Hunter and Giles will be travelling together to their new home, so hopefully the companionship along the way will help make them feel a little less sad to say goodbye.

Of course both are extremely excited to settle in to their new home and start their new life in the New World.

As Giles said to Hildegard as he boarded: "I'm looking forward to meeting new people and grabbing a pint or two in the local, and getting a chance to show my talents there!". Hunter the Hound added: "Woof!".

They are happy to go and meet their new family and friends, and who knows, you might end up having a pint with Giles and Hunter once they've settled in and had a practice or two! 

Summer Sales

Jig Dol - Limberjack Shop Summer Sale

Summer time means Summer Prices!
As the weather is clearing up nicely (at least where we are!) and we see that restrictions are being lifted in many places, some folk gatherings are starting up again.

The first tentative sessions, concerts, festivals and other happenings are being planned, either for the summer or for when restrictions are further lifted.

We think this summer is the ideal time to take one of our amazing Jig Dolls out on the road with you! So why not take advantage of the summer prices starting this Friday 11 June!

Why this Friday? Because it’s almost weekend then!

Order your Jig Doll now and take advantage of our Summer Pricing Scheme, which includes a great discount on all of our Jig Dolls (except the vintage dolls!).

Have a look at our webshop and make sure you pick up your Summer Dancing Partner and give him or her a whirl around before you go out on the road again.

We have Leprechauns (only a few left!), Sad Fergie the Frog, Happy Freddy the Frog, Hunter the Hound in various colours and all of your purchases come with stick and board!

Make sure your summer preparations are on point and find yourself a delicious companion!
Make sure to visit our webshop, Summer Prices starts Friday 11 June!

Jig Doll Workshop Plans

Jig Doll Limberjack Workshops
What are we looking forward to?
We're very excited at all the news coming out about relaxation of the restrictions and we're looking ahead to the days that we can go on the road with our Jig Dolls and start organising our Jig Doll making and dancing workshops.
We have a lot of things planned that we are raring to put into action and today we want to share a few of those things with you!
Jig Doll Making and Dancing Workshop.
This will be a fun-filled afternoon or evening where you can construct and decorate your very own Jig Doll and learn how to dance it.
You will receive a basic Jig Doll and we will show you how to best put all the parts together to get a lively Jig Doll that will dance its little socks off for you.
Once you have your Jig Doll constructed, we will concentrate on making it your very own, with paints, fabrics and other decorations.
After that, and while your own doll is drying, we take you through the basics of dancing a Jig Doll.
We will teach you to find the natural rhythm of a Jig Doll, and what tunes are best to dance to.
You will learn the various ways of holding the stick and operating the board, and variations to make dancing the Jig Doll most comfortable for you.
We will also have a variation of different Jig Dolls with us, in all shapes and sizes, so that you can try out the different types and see how weight and size influences how you work with the Jig Doll.
You will be able to try out different boards, and you can even have a go at dancing more than one Jig Doll at the same time!
At the end of the workshop you will go home with your very own Jig Doll and a CD with the best tunes to dance it to, and of course the invitation to send us your videos from home and to join us at one of the sessions we'll be organising all over the land!

JollyBoy

  • Mr JollyBoy Jig Doll Limberjack
  • Mr Jollyboy Jig Doll Limberjack
Will you look at this fine fella! 
Mr. Jollyboy is an original Jig Doll made by the late Goff Evans. 
Amongst Jig Doll makers (and those who dance the dolls), this name is not an unfamiliar name, as Goff Evans was one of the prominent Jigdoll makers and came up with many wonderful designs. 
His designs are the inspiration for the original Jig Dolls that the work group Jig Dolls & Limberjacks makes. 
Mr. Jollyboy was in its turn based on an older design, popular around the start of the 20th century and a much-loved form of entertainment for the winter evenings at home. After all, television and radio weren't around to keep your attention, so people entertained themselves with songs and dance. 
This original Mr. Jollyboy has an unusual feature, in that the ankles are also hinged.
 
Many Jig Dolls are jointed on the shoulders, hips and knees, which provides the doll with its enthusiastic movement. Sometimes you will also see a doll jointed at the elbow to give it a bit more energetic arm movement, but it's not often you see a doll jointed at the ankles. 
This Mr. Jollyboy is jointed at the ankles with a joint reminiscent of a ball joint, which gives it a lot of movement in the feet as well as the legs, but there were also other types of ankle joint made. 
All in all a fine example of the craftmanship involved in making these dolls!

Hildegard's Rolls Royce

  • Hildegard Jig Doll Limberjack
  • Hildegard - Jig Doll - Limberjack

Jig Dolls can be carried around in any old box or bag, they're not very demanding where it comes to space. 
Still, such a faithful and jolly companion deserves a comfortable and most of all sturdy mobile home that protects your doll from all sorts of weathers and dangers. 
In these photos you can see our custom Jig Doll "Hildegard" (named after Hildegard von Bingen), who travels in style in a custom made box. 
The box itself is decorated in colourful abstract natural shapes, and her name is stencilled on the lid of the box, which incidentally also doubles as a fold-out dancing board! 
Inside the box you will find a peg to secure the doll and a stick to fit the doll, so that you will always have the doll and all its accessories in one place. 
Some of the boxes are lined on the inside, some are painted, all depending on the theme and requirements of the doll itself. 
These boxes will be going on sale soon, or you can order a doll including a mobile home with all accessories included! Keep an eye on our shop where we will be posting the Luxury Mobile Homes for Jig Dolls!

Mini History & Championships 

  • Warty O'Cranky Jig Doll Limberjack
  • Warty O'Cranky Jig Doll Limberjack
  • Warty O'Cranky Jig Doll Limberjack
Dancing dolls have been used for at least the past one hundred and fifty years in Great Britain, and are also known in Ireland and north America. They are thought to originate in Italy and were once widespread in all of Europe where they were a welcome sight at country fairs, festivals and provided evening entertainment. 
As with singing, stepdancing and music-making, the tradition seems to survive in some areas better than in many others. 
Nowadays you will find Jig Dolls (limberjacks, clogging dolls, plankpoppetjes) mostly in English speaking regions of the world with a strong folk tradition. The UK, Canada and the United States are places where you would still find them being actively danced, and music being created for them. 
There are even championships, where Jig Doll operators compete against each other and it will be no surprise that these are taken very seriously! 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qx0xhV9go3c 
Although in mainland Europe Jig Dolls are seen as a rarity, there are still places on the mainland where they can be found at folk festivals en craft fairs, especially in the French speaking regions where they are called Petit Bonhommes Gigueux. 
Jig Dolls & Limberjacks was created with the aim of keeping the tradition alive, and reintroducing it to The Netherlands, where their presence faded away not even all that long ago. 
There are many Jig Doll makers, each with their own style and designs, often very recognisable. A quick search on google will show you many amazing Jig Dolls, proving that the practice may be not as well known as other folk crafts, but is still very much alive and kicking! 
Have a look at this happy go lucky doll, custom made for a folk musician and waiting to make his debut at the next possible gig! 
Why not have a poke around the wonderful photos and videos that we have!

Mr Jollyboy 100+ years old

Mr Jollyboy Dover Toys Jig Doll Limberjack

This time not a new Jig Doll, but a very old one, from the private collection of one of our volunteers.
This is an original Mr Jollyboy from the early 1900s. Originally he came in a box, and ""Mr. Jollyboy"" is the deluxe model produced by "Dover Toys" in England. 
Measuring 13 inches tall he is made of wood apart from the lower legs, which are tin plate. 
What makes this specific one special is that he is complete not only with the original stick which fits into the back so that you can make him dance, but also with his original dancing board (although his box has been lost over time). Sticks and boards were the easiest to lose, so having him complete with stick and board is extra special.
On the side of the doll is "Patent No.7725". This doll is in amazing condition for its age and it takes pride of place in the collection!
Jigdolls & Limberjacks does have some vintage Jig Dolls for sale, although none as old as this particular one, but they are about half a century old!
Why not take a look at our shop!

Farmer Giles - On Sale Today

  • Farmer Giles Jig Doll Limberjack
  • Farmer Giles Jig Doll Limberjack
Going on sale today!
Jaunty Giles the Farmer!
After a hard days work Giles has polished his worn out boots, dusted off his threadbare jeans put some flowers in his hat band and he is going out to the pub!
It's a wonderfully sunny day and Giles is chewing on his bit of hay as he looks forward to his first pint of the day and maybe a little dance with the ladies.
Giles is a happy-go-lucky fellow who sees the best in life and enjoys dancing to any tune, but of course tunes and songs about farming, sowing, growing and harvesting are his favourites!
He's in our webshop for sale right now!
Farmer Giles is on sale for € 45 (ex P&P). That money will get you a unique one-off Jig Doll (because let's be honest here, there's nobody like Farmer Giles) with stick and demo plank!

Whisky on a Sunday

Seth Davy Whisky on a Sunday Jig Doll Limberjack
Jig Dolls are a very old tradition and with a bit of digging, you can find many great treasures mentioning Jig Dolls.
What you may not know is that most people who enjoy folk music will have heard at least one song about Jig Dolls. Or rather, about the man who entertained the crowds in the street with his Jig Dolls at the start of the 20th Century.
Seth Davy is immortalised in the song sometimes better known as ‘Whiskey on a Sunday’ but its correct title is ‘The Ballad of Old Seth Davy.’, which was a great hit for Danny Doyle in 1968, and which also became part of The Dubliners' repertoire. No one is recorded in public records with the precise name of Seth Davy, so little is known about his life, other than what you can find in the song.
With a bit of a search you can find newspaper articles about Seth Davy, and even letters to the paper referring to him, at his usual spot on the corner of Bevington Hill and Everton Hill, most likely near the pub there called The Bush.
Popular belief is that Seth Davy was West Indian, possibly Jamaican, though Ray Costello in his Black History, a history of Liverpool's black population, says that he was West African. 
A lantern slide of about 1900 shows what is generally believed to be Seth Davy, entertaining some young onlookers.
‘The Ballad of Old Seth Davy’ ends on a rather sad note as we are informed that he died in 1902. His famous dancing dolls were thrown in a ‘jowler bin’ which is Liverpool slang for a rubbish bin that was a common feature in the alleys at the back of houses in the city, while the plank they danced on was used to patch up someone’s back door.
"Come day go day
wish in my heart it was Sunday
drinking buttermilk all the week
Whisky on a Sunday"

Warty O'Cranky the Leprechaun

  • Leprechaun Jig Doll Limberjack
  • Leprechaun Jig Doll Limberjack
We are very proud to present our unique, time-limited introduction offer for a very cheeky chappie, just in time for St. Patrick's Day: Warty O'Cranky the Leprechaun!
Meet the lads, there are only 6 of these Jig Dolls (and there will never be any more of these exact dolls!) and they are handmade, handpainted and handfinished Leprechaun Jolly Jiggers, who will dance their way into your heart and into your St. Patrick's Day celebrations!
If you order BEFORE SUNDAY 7 MARCH 13:00 you will get this unique doll at the very low price of €25 euros, and this is INCLUDING stick and board (but excluding postage).
So don't hesitate any longer: head over to our shop and get yourself a St. Patrick's Day Jig Doll!
“A Jig Doll is not just for St. Patrick's Day, it's for life!”

St Patrick's Jig Dolls

  • St Patrick Jig Dolls Limberjacks
  • St Patrick Leprechaun Jig Doll Limberjack
It's almost that time of the year again and we've all been hard at work!
Here is your unique opportunity to pre-order a St. Patrick's Day Jig Doll!
There is a limited amount of selected Leprechaun Jig Dolls available, and shipping will start next week, so if you want a Jig Doll for your St. Patrick's Day event, now is the time! Be quick: ONLY SIX AVAILABLE!
This particular Jig Doll in the photograph is our own little good man (petit bonhomme!) that will be going on the road with us in future, but there are six HANDMADE Leprechaun Jig Dolls available that will start shipping next week.
Keep your eyes peeled on this page over the weekend as we will post more photographs as we finish varnishing our last little men!
Don't be shy, pre-order now, our introductory price is only € 25,- (25 euros) including plank, excluding postage! Offer good until SUNDAY 7 MARCH 13:00.
This is a great price to get your hands on of one our limited edition Jig Dolls! Drop us a message here or send us an e-mail on info@jigdoll.com

Curtain's up on Jig Dolls, Limberjacks

Jig Doll Limberjack Goff Evans

Hi, Martin here, President of St. Samen Voor Elkaar and one of the active people in the workgroup Rocking Good Folk Club.
We have some news, and we think you'll love what we've been up to!
As you may know I'm not only Clan Elder, I am also Tradition Bearer. Tradition, especially Folk Tradition, is very important to me. Keeping these traditions affordable, available to all and alive and blooming in the community is one of the reasons we founded our non-profit foundation Stichting Samen Voor Elkaar, of which Rocking Good Folk Club is a part.
We will be including another tradition in our foundation, with our working group Jig Dolls & Limberjacks.
The tradition of Jig Dolls (known in the USA as Limberjacks and in France as Petit Bonhomme Gigueur or simply Gigueux) is a long one, thought to originate in Italy, historically practiced all over Europe (in The Netherlands as Plankpoppetjes, Plank Dolls) and currently mostly alive in the UK and the USA and Canada.
You might know the song "Whisky on a Sunday", the story of the Jamaican singer/entertainer Seth Davy, seated on the corner of the Bevington Bush in Liverpool at the beginning of 1900s dancing his Jig Dolls on his jig-plank. The song was made famous in the 60's by Irish folksinger Danny Doyle and stayed at No. 1 in the Irish charts for ten weeks.
At the start of last year we received from the the family of Goff Evans, a well-known maker of Jig Dolls,  his entire remaining collection of materials, designs, templates and instructions.
Over the last year I've taught myself how to use various woodworking tools and how to craft Jig Dolls while designing new models and accessories.
I've recruited Corine into this as well of course, I do the woodworking part, Corine does the painting and dressing part and together we are creating Jig Dolls/Limberjacks, with the goal of taking them on the road, reintroducing the fun of making and dancing the dolls, and demonstrating them to anyone that wants to learn. They really are an amazingly fun way for young and old to get into music, rhythm, and to participate in sessions!
With our volunteers we will also be giving workshops, both on how to make them and how to dance them and we will be showing them off at sessions and concerts. We will take them to festivals, and into schools and retirement homes, once the world is back to a more normal state of being. 
All of this will be under the umbrella of our St. Samen Voor Elkaar, a non-profit foundation that organises activities with one of its goals being making the folk traditions available and affordable to all.
We've even thought up a competition you can take part in, using one of the "to lend" dolls with the chance to win a fantastic prize! Keep an eye on our Facebook page, Instagram account and website for more details, which will be coming soon!
While we're still busy building and painting and dancing the dolls, we have also have an Instagram account where we lift up a little bit of the veil and show our work as we go along. We have also set up a website to share information on the history of Jig Dolls, instructions on how to dance them, and an online shop where you can get your hands on a handmade, handcrafted, handpainted traditional Jig Doll/Limberjack or even get one of the 50+ year old vintage ones we still have!
So come join us on: https://www.facebook.com/Jigdolls-Limberjacks-110629597729555/ and https://www.instagram.com/jigdolls_limberjacks/ and on our website http://www.jigdoll.com (already overflowing with great information, but also still expanding and enhancing!).
"Come day, go day
I wish in my heart it was Sunday"
Cheers, Martin