“Honey I’d really like to take a doll making class; I would like to make just one doll”. This is probably the biggest understatement I have ever uttered, and my husband chuckles just thinking about these famous words, which have become somewhat of a family joke every time I finish the next doll! Nearly fifteen years later, I have been fortunate enough to achieve over 85 top awards and trophies, as well as have been honored and published in Doll Crafter magazine . In addition, I have had my original work featured in Contemporary Doll Collector and have been featured on the covers of Tallina Doll catalog. These accomplishments, coupled with new and exciting business prospects have led me to find a niche for my artistic drive. Even though for many years I have had a successful career as an advanced hair and color technician in the field of cosmetology, the artistic drive within me was never satisfied until I began making dolls.
As and artist, the passion I feel for fine art and dolls is very real, intoxicating and individual. Being an “incurable” romantic and essentially a “people person,” this art form has completely captured me. At times, I am so overwhelmed and mesmerized during the creative process that I feel as if am in another world. So when collectors and doll-lovers respond to my work with such delight and desire, it just opens the doors to completed happiness that is perfect for everyone.
I strive to achieve absolute realism in my work. This realism is especially important to me because I see my dolls as “little people” whose faces hold expressions of thoughts they would dream, words they would speak and things they would do. My ideas are inspired from paintings, antique photographs, plays, old movies, historical books and even dreams.
Initially, my first dolls were contemporary, reproduction dolls. They were important, simply for the fact that these dolls were very instrumental in helping to develop my own, individual style. I was never one to “play it safe;” I constantly challenged the doll industry and myself by wanting to do my dolls my way! The accumulation of this hard work was receiving the prestigious Santa Fe Award of Excellence for contemporary doll art in 1998. Still, the desire to do my own original work was a constant pull. I have been sculpting since 1992 and have received training at the Center for Creative Studies at Wayne State University, in Detroit, Michigan. In addition, I have attended sculpting seminars with noted artists and teachers in the fine art doll field. I have found these experiences in sculpting to be both fascinating and stimulating. It is wonderful feeling of accomplishment and pride to create your own original doll. Because of the innumerable lovely faces that live in the imagination of each sculptor and artist, living your fantasies through doll art can give a doll a unique personality by adding special touches and effects.
My doll creations do require a great amount of time in detailed preparation. Many of these hours are spent researching and sketching the concepts, bringing the design together, and selecting the appropriate fabrics and trims. I often dye the material and style the mohair wigs. Even the props are handmade. Careful and concise planning goes into each doll for it to be completely color coordinated. Careful planning is especially important when choosing complexion tones and eye colors, as well as when making hair and fabric choices. Many of the dolls even have liquid acrylic nail tips and wear imported leather footwear. The most satisfying aspect of being an artist is the actual painting, particularly the eyes of the doll. I believe that the eyes mirror the heart and soul of any doll; it’s true that innate beauty starts here. For this reason, I only do my work in the porcelain medium. The process is quite labor-intensive and tedious, as my patient husband, John, will attest to during the mold-making process. Undeniably, when I see these “labors of love” come to fruition, it is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.
I am very grateful for all of my family and friends, and I am forever indebted to all they have given and shared with me unselfishly. Doll art will continue to challenge and amaze me; it is a journey that I look forward to with great anticipation. It has indeed become a dream come true!