Born collectively through three generations of women in my family, Upper Dhali® encompasses memories, emotion and sentiment.
The Upper Dhali® story began when I would listen to my darling daughter as a young girl, singing "upper dhali in da guy" instead of "up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky” from the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
It was our favorite "sing-a-long" song, & with our warmhearted & tender memories, it was always going to be a phrase that stayed within our family forever.
When my beloved Nana passed away in May 2012, it was a grief like no other I had experienced. Gently explaining the happenings of death to my young children & hearing their innocent suggestions that she was now the creator of rainbows during the day & dancing with stars at night is how we would remember her. So tender, heartfelt, bittersweet & hopeful.
When I was deciding on a business name 18 months later, Upper Dhali® just fit perfectly…
The Designer & Artist - Lou Peters
I started creating my first felt doll in March 2012 as a Mother's Day gift for my beloved Nana. I had intended on making 3 in total, one for each of my beautiful grandmothers and one for my Mum. Unfortunately I drastically underestimated how long it would take me to make a delightful vintage inspired felt doll let alone 3! It took me some weeks and an EPIC number of hours to complete just one (much to my dismay) but I was determined to challenge myself to create something unique and from the heart.
Unfortunately my darling Nana passed away suddenly mere days before seeing her special doll. During the next 18 months of grieving, hand stitching and embroidering helped whilst I processed and navigated the huge loss in my life. I felt closer to her whilst creating and I often felt her presence around me. Creating gave me the pause I much needed – and I loved that feeling and creating special tokens for my loved ones & friends.
I eventually threw caution to the wind, quit my finance career, organised a makeshift studio in my home & started creating handmade dolls. I had no idea how to sew with a machine, let alone even know how to thread one! I had extraordinarily little idea how to read a sewing pattern and I definitely didn't know how to make dolls, but I trusted this new journey as it felt right.
Over time I found my niche and built strong relationships with my customers. In them sharing their stories, experiences & most importantly their WHY with me, I was able to create their personalised and extremely sentimental keepsake dolls from the passion I had within me & from the bond that we now shared from our conversations. Pouring so much of yourself into each creation make you vulnerable, but also connected and I truly feel that I am eternally connected to each & every one of my creations.
I am truly thankful that I was blessed with such a beautiful outcome from a situation that left me so broken. I believe that this new found & very loved Upper Dhali journey was I love that this new journey found me as my new journey is everything perfect for me. I know that I was guided to do this, as my hands are as important as hers once were xx
PS: I love Indian & Middle Eastern cuisine, singing 70’s tunes loudly, puppy cuddles, lazy beach days & camping!