Barbara Ogden Is A Woman Of Immeasurable Talents
By: Linda White-Francis
Born in Emskirchen, Germany during WWII, Barbara Ogden, 79, was one of six children. She and her five younger brothers lived a humble hard-scrabble life with little to no-frills to cherish. “Life in Germany during those desperate times was not pleasant for a child,” she remembers. “I had only one doll my entire childhood, a little paper- mache doll I received for Christmas. And, when I forgot and left it outside in the snow one awful day, it was ruined. After that, I never received another doll again,” Ogden sadly relates. “That is one day I will never forget!”
Ogden figures the luckiest day of her life was when she met her husband Terry in the 1960s. Terry, at the time, was stationed in Germany with the United States Air Force. “We were married in 1962, and in 1964 my childhood dream was realized when I immigrated to the United States of America.” Her husband served in the Air Force for 23 years, and the Ogden’s traveled and lived all over the world. They have one son in Seattle, Washington, and a daughter in Maryland, where they eventually put-down roots, and Ogden went on to work as a secretary for Dick Cheney at the Pentagon.
Ogden is a sweet lady of many talents indeed. “All my life I have been intrigued by the arts in general. I started with crafts; those crafts turned into cloth doll making; cloth doll making turned into doll sculpting with polymer clay,” Ogden shared. “I began creating dolls after my retirement in 1991 and was inspired to try the popular craft after buying a copy of Doll Reader Magazine. I started with cloth Swiss dolls; all the materials were imported from Switzerland.” Ogden said, and it wasn’t long afterward she discovered polymer clay, and loved it! She found she could be so much more creative with each sculpt she molded. “I hand-painted each doll with unique delicate features,” she went on. Ogden has become well-known in the doll world for her beautiful miniature character dolls such as: “The Seamstress”, “Santa Claus”, “Lucy Oggie”, “The Little Hobo”, “100 years of Baseball” and “Irmgard” dressed in her traditional Bavarian dirndl’s outfit. Ogden custom designs and sews all the clothing the dolls wear. “When I discovered polymer clay I found my niche; it got my attention!” she laughed. She has proudly shown her dolls throughout the Mid-Atlantic and South-Eastern regions of the USA. “I have also shown my dolls which are a registered trademark known as Oggie Dolls, at Toy Fair in NYC too. Now, I sell on the Internet. (Oggiedolls.com), some dolls are not available anymore, but I can recreate special orders.” She said proudly. “Kitty Kallen, (1921-2016), a famous big band singer from the 1930s-1960s commissioned one of my Oggie dolls, she told me they brought her good luck.”
Ogden has been living happily in Spring Hill for the past 20 years, and being the creative person she is, began a few years ago specializing in landscape and still-life fiber art quilts suitable for hanging. Ogden begins with a photo she has taken at one of the beautiful scenic places she visits -such as a waterfall at Lowery Park Zoo, a vase of flowers she’s arranged herself, or a pond at USF’s Botanical Gardens, then paints the scenes onto multiple pieces of fabric, which she appliques onto a lovely cloth background. These treasures are also sold on the Internet as well (barbsfabricart.com). Recently, this energetic lady and her husband made the hard decision to move back to Maryland to be near family, and sadly she will be waving goodbye to Hernando County in about three months. “Terry and I are heading toward 80 years old, and we thought it would be wise to move back home at this particular time of life, but it’s not going to be easy packing-up all my stuff and leaving this beautiful state,” She ended with a tear in her voice.