I can’t believe the doll is finally finished! Last night I couldn’t resist the temptation and made the first photoshoot, to test the lights and the new background. I will make a second photoshoot today in natural light, as the lamps “yellowed” the images too much. It’s not easy to photograph dolls with black dresses – but doesn’t she look gorgeous? I love it and will start the second one today – aah, dollmaking, what a terrible addiction! As soon as the stand is finished I will list it for sale at Gypsy Deluxe.
About 50 hours of stitching, painting and more stitching. Less than 5% of the doll is glued, like some rhinestones that had no sewing holes, and the attachment of the wig. The complete outfit has been handstitched, including the mink fur in the skirt.
If there is something that fascinates me from dollmaking is that, after seven years customizing dolls, I have never purchased one. ALL of them have come from donations from friends and customers. My husband was saying yesterday that this is like having a “foster doll home”: dolls arrive usually in very worn condition, pass the makeover, and suddenly someone wants to adopt them. I have made about 40 dolls and have only kept two – and still those two get buyers offering to adopt them all the time. Only once I have worked with a new doll (the Krishna Child doll) and still, it was a gift from a friend and was sold two weeks after listing it.
Unlike other dollmakers, that usually stick to one kind of doll, I have worked with plastic, celluloid and porcelain dolls; some were antique, some were vintage and some were just a few years old. Some were quite big – the biggest one being 1 metre tall – and some were really small, just a few centimetres. I have sculpted dolls from scratch and I have worked with finished dolls, just making their clothes and ornamentation. The only doll I have never worked with is Barbie – I particularly hate her LOL. I prefer “child” dolls, and at this point I don’t see myself sculpting again. Working with a finished porcelain doll like this one has been the best experience of them all, and though I don’t plan to do only one type of doll, I see more of this coming in the near fiture, as porcelain has a texture and weight that plastic dolls cannot imitate.
My point is that I don’t choose the dolls, the dolls choose me. I think it is a gift from the spirits, as I am not a doll collector and personally never had much interest in dolls or dollmaking before I started making them myself. I see other dollmakers than plan carefully and design the doll’s look and costume – I have never done that either. The doll tells me exactly what they want – and 10 out of 10 times the final result is not even similar to what I had envisioned for the doll. I have learnt through experience how to make the work durable and give it a great finish – but the final look of the doll is completely up to the doll herself. In the movie The Doll Master, a character explains that it is believed that the doll gets her soul through the eyes, and I believe it to be true. Dolls DO own a spirit, they’re not just an object. Being a Witch, is not difficult for me to believe it!