Thursday, November 9, 2017

Interview with Lorraine Ford of The Beauty of Dolls; Vintage and New

 This month, we are sharing an interview with my Facebook friend, Lorraine Ford.  Lorraine is a member of two of my favorite groups, including one devoted to "Walda" dolls and The Beauty of Dolls.  She is a master at doll display and has a wonderful, eclectic collection.  Her Halloween dolls inspire awe and envy, and she is generous with her treasures and friendly.

An Assortment of Old Compo Dolls.  Courtesy, Lorraine Ford


1. Tell us when you started to collect.

I started collecting dolls about 20 years ago

2. Describe the dolls you started to collect first and how your tastes have change.

I used to collect only old or vintage and Barbies. My mom bought me the Xmas one for the last 10 years. Then,  I got a few Monster High dolls.  I also  have some of the Disney princess dolls.

Courtesy, Lorraine Ford

 3.  Describe some of your favorite dolls to collect.

Old bisque, composition.

A Lovely Display Including Yolanda Bello and Royal Doulton Figurines

4.  Tell us what some of your favorite types of dolls are.

I love old worn loved dolls. They make me cry. I

want to save them all.

Courtesy, Lorraine Ford. Great Teddies!

5. Tell us if you like to sew for your dolls.

 I have hand sewed dresses for dolls. I think they deserve that much.

Tell us what you are looking for.

A Great Variety of Dolls!
Courtesy, Lorraine Ford

Living Dead Dolls Admired by Lorraine, courtesy Lorraine Ford

6. Tell us about any dolls you might be looking for.

I'm not looking, but if I come across any old dolls I can afford, I would be interested

And I have started collecting Walda dolls. They is so misunderstood


Thursday, October 19, 2017

November Sneak Peek!!

November Sneak Peek
Our wonderful  cover is fairly dancing with automatons is just a hint of what’s waiting in this issue.
There is a great piece on Japanese Art dolls; with interest in fine Japanese dolls growing, especially Friendship dolls, the well-illustrated study by Alan Scott Pate is timely.
Printed cloth dolls sold in panels to cut and sew have entered the realm of folk art in some circles.  Many collectors delight in the original panels, as well as in the dolls.  Read more about them in this article by Linda Holderbaum.
Our own Samy Odin has provided a terrific article on a rare Jumeau.
Don’t forget our Auction results and features, doll show notes, collectibles column, UFDC updates, terrific illustrations, and much more!
Happy Collecting!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Award Winning Dolls from the Texas State Fair

See the link below; there is still an interest in vintage and old dolls!  Thanks to my friend Jeff G. for sharing.

A Few Friends

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Award Winning Dolls from the Texas State Fair: Sent by my friend and colleague, Jeff G., a Renaissance Man

October 2017 Issue Faves!

The November Sneak Peek is just around the corner, but in midst of a gorgeous October, I thought I'd share some of my faves from the current issues!  As Barry Manilow sings, "How I hate it when October Goes!!!!"

1. Do you love spooky stories?  I do, with all things Halloween.  We feature in this issue a terrific Halloween Doll Story!

2. ADC is up and current on all doll news; here is our take on The National Doll Festival, held in Orlando this year.

3.  Cloth dolls and cloth doll artists are becoming ever more popular.  Read our feature on Martha Chase and her dolls for more.

4. Read about Stella by Connie Lowe, a beautiful little girl of The Depression, and the loving memory that inspired Stella Creation. 

And, of course, there's more!!

Don't miss our October issue!!

Tuxedo the Halloween Cat with Vintage Dolls and Bears

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sunday, September 24, 2017

October 2017: Interview with Collector Jenny Tellian

It is with great pleasure that I introduce our friend Jenny Tellian,  a refined and well educated lady with the most amazing collection of dolls I've ever seen!  She is talented, a great pet parent, a wonderful artist, gardener, linguist, and yes, doll collector!  Jenny was very generous with her wonderful collection; there will be a gallery devoted to her dolls very soon.

Inside one of Jenny's many well-lit doll houses

Some of Jenny's miniature bisque babies and all bisque dolls

1. When did you start collecting?

I don't remember ever not being obsessed by dolls as a child!We were a humble family and a rich lady adopted me as her niece! She would come often to visit me bringing me the most wonderful dolls with layettes, furniture , clothes etc! I would begin my day early dragging all the cribs,carriages, dolls, tables, bears, tea sets etc. to the back lawn where I remained all day ,the active and every busy " mother"!

When I came from France I had to leave all my dolls and possessions in general there!I have always bought antiques with a few dolls here and there as an adult!However, when the love of my life died at 47, I found myself in a deep depression !We were together for 11 years and very private people having few friends!He was a German M.D, but also a brilliant scholar enjoying a quiet life of reading and traveling! I was so in despair and barely able to function away from my teaching job!It was at this time that I noticed a doll show advertised , and it changed my life! I made several new, wonderful friends with whom I went to doll shows, bear shows etc. every weekend! We would stop at a nice restaurant on the way home,  and have show and tell time as we ate with our dolly acquisitions!Sadly ,all these friends are now deceased!

Composition and Bisque Babies, Courtesy Jenny Tellian

2. Have your tastes changed over the years?

My tastes in dolls change, but I still cherish the ones I had! I started as an adult collecting composition dolls, moved on to antique French and German bisque ,artist made rag dolls , antique doll houses and miniatures!In the last six months I have amassed a collection of Grodnertals , and currently, I am crazy about reborn black dolls! I have many reborn white ones! I have recently gotten some old black paper mâché topsy turvies,  as well as some with bellows in their stomach which stick out their tongue when their stomach is pressed! They are so realistic!I suppose I love all dolls since to me they are three dimensional works of art! It is a pity today that most people I encounter, ( some oldies also), think dolls are creepy!These same people watch " The Living Dead" and " Zombies" on television!

One seldom sees a little girl with a doll, a doll buggy or even wearing a dress!We are indeed fortunate to have lived in a different era!

One of Jenny's Life-sized manikins, tastefully arranged

3. What are your favorite types of dolls?

A certain doll - I prefer dolls that are all original or mostly original. Age brings with it a lovely patina! I think the expression of the doll,  as well as the way in which it is dressed , are the main attractions!Oftentimes, replacement wigs and shoes render the doll awkward looking in my opinion!

Tiny Dolls in a Doll House.  Courtesy, Jenny Tellian

4. What are the characteristics that attract you to a certain doll?

While I currently adore reborns I would say my greatest loves are still the old antique ones ! I have a very beautiful Greiner from early 1880's with flirty,glass eyes, original clothing including marvelous red leather boots! ( about 42 inches) I think she might be my favorite doll,  although not my most expensive! I am eclectic and do not eliminate any doll genres.The doll must in some way speak to me! I amassed such a large collection because I wanted to leave it to my quaint city for a children's museum! I have collections of old toys, paper goods, Grammaphones, Edison talking machines, a player piano , etc.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Collector Profile: Lynda Crossland

Our next few collector interviews will focus on members of the popular Facebook group, For the Beauty of Dolls, Vintage and New. This is an inspiring group of warm, generous folks who have captured the true spirit of collecting.  They share knowledge and friendship enthusiastically, and Lynda Crossland is one of the group's members.

Lynda is very fond of Roddy dolls, by in England during the 1950s.  Roddy was known for its hard plastic walkers, many dressed in Scottish kilts. For more on Roddy, visit Facebook or go to

A Delightful Cross-section of Lynda's Collection.  Courtesy, Lynda Crossland

When did you start collecting?

To say collecting in the sense of the word would be over the past few years,; however, I have always loved dolls.

What are your favorite types of dolls?

I absolutely love Roddy dolls due to having one as a child in the 60's,  and my collection has one doll that stands out. She took me years to find.

The Original Roddy that Inspired Lynda.  She is on the Left.
Courtesy, Lynda Crossland.

Have your tastes changed over the years

Over the years I still in the main look for Roddy dolls but will buy others that have that 'take me home' look about them.
Just now it is Barbie dolls and fashion dolls. I like to get a box of unloved dolls, strip them, wash them and bring them back to life.

What are the characteristics that attract you to a certain doll?

Now,  I collect any make of doll that has a nice face, and I do like long hair.

Do you sew for your dolls?

No, I crochet all my dolls' clothes.

Are you looking for anything in particular?

Not now as I found the Roddy I wanted, now it's a case of who needs my help in making them lovable once more


Saturday, August 26, 2017

September Sneak Peek!

September 2017 Sneak Peek


Our cover this month features a beautiful duet of two rare and wonderful Izannah Walker dolls.  The cover is so beautiful, that you’ll want to frame it!


Along with the gorgeous cover is a story wishing Miss Walker a happy 200th birthday!


If you love Barrois dolls as I do, you’ll love our feature article called “Barrois Beauty Secrets.”  Among French Fashions dols, they are among the prettiest.  My own small example came home with me after a San Jose doll show.  Her vendors even found a bag printed in French to wrap her in on her way home!


There is a very interesting story of a costume doll from Spain. Spain has a rich doll making tradition, and makers like Berjusa, Marin, Klumpe, and Mary Vas trip off the tongues of the collectors who love them. This very well-researched article is a delightful lesson in cultural geography and dolls.


Our collectibles column is a tribute the maestro himself, Mr. R. John Wright.  Featured in the discussion are his terrific new Gone with the Wind mice.


Read the biography of an amazing doll with Provenance, and tour yet another fanastic doll museum.


As always, we feature important upcoming auctions, UFDC reports, doll shows, and lots and lots of lavish pictures.  We are doll eye candy at its best!  Come explore our pages, and think of us as your own private doll museum.



Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Collector Profile June, July, and August

Contemporary Stuffed Animals from Mikki's Collection
Costume Detail
Crochet work by Mikki
Thanks to our friend Mikki Brantley, we are doing something a little different.  Mikki is an artist emerita from Ashton Drake Galleries.  She is a sculptor and artist of exceptional talent who loves sculpting animal babies.  She is also a collector of antique German bisque character babies.  She has probably forgotten more information about them than this humble blogger could ever learn!  Enjoy, and may you find your dream doll at U.F.D.C and the various doll shows and auctions going on in Orlando! Photos are courtesy, the artist.
Ella . Courtesy, Mikki Brantley.

Monday, July 17, 2017

August Sneak Peek!!

I love August, season of doll shows and dog days of summer!  This month's lavish and beautiful issue is sure to delight.  Below are some highlights, along with our usual auction reports, show and auction announcements, and more.  Check us on our other social media sites, too, including Tumblr, Flickr, Twitter, and YouTube.  We are also shared through ISSUU, Reddit,  Facebook, Pinterest  Instagram and Deliciious.  I will post links, later.  We are also featured on blogs I translate into Greek, Spanish, and Japanese.  I'm happy to post or send links to anyone interested.  Email me at

First of all, we have Part II of a fantastic collection of Lenci, with dolls many of us have never seen.  If you have been to Italy and looked for dolls there, you will really appreciate this piece.  I have great mother\daughter childhood memories of running around the shops in Rome looking for dolls. Enjoy!

Next, we have a great piece on Russian Nesting Dolls that have become iconic, yet as varied as any other type of doll can become.  Read this fascination history of how they began, and how they have evolved.

Antique doll collectors are always looking for ways to display and accessorize their dolls.  Here is a lovely article about using gorgeous antique boxes as props and accessories.  We get to discover another great collectible, accessorize our dolls, and repurpose and renew!

No doll or person can ever have too many clothes!  Read this terrific article focusing on an antique doll and her wardrobe.  I'm very fond of her trousseau because it reminds me of a similar one my mother created for my first two china heads.   Seeing this dresses will inspire you, and you will want to sew for your dolls, too!

Happy Collecting!!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Happy 4th of July!!

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Happy 4th of July!!: The Star Spangled Banner Find all things patriotic at Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light What so proudly w...

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sneak Peek of our July Issue!

Remember to sign up on our website, Antique Doll Collector Magazine, for a free emailed Sneak Peek! of each upcoming issue.  Did I mention it's FREE!!!

Keeping that in mind, here is a brief rundown of our wonderful July Issue.  A gorgeous A. Marque, #50 of a series of 100 dolls, ahs a pencil inscription of "Paulette Louis XV" on her food.  She has a Margaine-Lacroix label on her clothes; are you paying attention fashionistas!

Our dear friend and colleague, Samy Odin, has written a wonderful article on other all-felt art dolls from Italy called, "In the Shadow of Lenci."  These dolls are dear to me, Lenci, or not, because I brought many home from Italy after a family trip we took when I was only nine.  Also, Mme. Lenci and I share a variation of the same first name. Happy Collecting, Italian felt doll lovers and all doll  collectors!!

Margo de Laughter shares a great piece on art dolls, "Inge and Harald from the Haralt Art Dolls."

International costume dolls and ethnic dolls began my own collection, and will always be near to my heart.  They show us it is indeed, "a small world after all."  Linda Holder Baum has written a wonderful piece on Post War Dolls-Frau Margarite Uebel" (Blogger's note:  there is a movie about a child named "Margarite," early 60s, involving the return of her long, lost father, a bossy mom and grandma, dolls, and gender twist a la "The Crying Game."  I've seen it twice, and can't remember the title!  No luck on IMDB.  Can anyone help me!!)

All Royalty watches please note the article by Susan Nile and Anne Coleman, "The Brits Wouldn't Do it", about King Edward and Wallis Simpson doll made in Baltimore.

Our Collectibles column features art dolls by Sylvia Natterer, and we have our usual auction updates and upcoming events calendar, as well as much, more.

Subscribe today for the full, Antique Doll Collector Magazine Experience!  If you crave dolls, antique dolls, history, fashion, culture, the arts, and literature, we satisfy your cravings!!

Happy Belated World Doll Day!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

"Touched by Time and Marked by the Traces of a Child's Play" : Interview with Leaf Whispers, Doll Photographer and Collector

Dolls have served as the muses and children of artists since time began.  Leonardo da Vinci, Cranach, Renoir, A. Marque, Picasso, David Levinthal, Jarvis Rockwell, Joseph Cornell, Tasha Tudor, and many more have been influenced by dolls, androids, and figures, or have created them. A real automaton inspired the film "Hugo."  Frida Kahlo has been the subject of dolls herself, but she also collected them.  She enjoyed repairing dolls as well. For me, even broken antique dolls have potential; there is a mystique about their imperfect state that inspires poetry. This month's interviewee is an artist, collector, and doll photographer who prefers to be known as Leaf Whispers.  I met her on Flickr while maintaining our albums for Antique Doll Collector Magazine.  As a poet and a doll lover, I find her interview refreshing and inspirational.  Enjoy this most  artistic interview from a true lover of antique dolls and their history.

When did you start collecting?

I’ve always loved dolls. My friends find this weird. I explain to them that although I forced myself to stop playing with dolls at the age of 12, in reality, I never did stop because it’s what I do for a living – I work as a film editor, which means that all day long, I play with tiny digital figures (AKA dolls).

In the past, I’ve gone on purges in which I unload my dolls onto the first child that crosses my path. Then, years later, I regret having done that. I especially miss Nicole, the artisanal cloth doll, I found in Quebec in 1982. During the last five years, I’ve gotten serious about dolls. Now that I’m old, I realize that I simply must have the dolls that I want, like right now.

PASK, Argentina- Spain, c. 1850,

Have your tastes changed over the years?

My tastes have changed a lot over the years. I’m presently drawn towards old dolls; the older, the better. Touched by time and marked by the traces of a child’s play, antique dolls are soulful and poignant. Perhaps their most potent gift to me is the whisper, “Memento Mori”.

My dolls’ broken limbs and time-ravaged faces remind me of my own mortality. This frightening and melancholic awareness is assuaged by the knowledge that my dolls have survived a very long time – beautiful in their decay – and that they will continue to live on, long after I have died. Will my old dolls carry a little bit of my spirit with them?

ALIS, by Joel Ellis. 

LUCE, Door of Hope

Another View of Luce

Another View of PASK

What are your favorite types of dolls?

China head dolls are my guilty pleasure. I adore their full, red cheeks and find myself spending hours and hours online, gazing at them, fantasizing about having them live with me. However, my true obsession is for antique wood dolls, such as Grodner Tal and Joel Ellis. To me, an antique wooden carries sensual elegance, without artifice or contrivance. Sturdy, strong, functional and dignified, a wooden doll also has an ethereal and whimsical quality.

I think their other worldliness stems from the organic material – the wood – that is constantly transforming, becoming more and more elemental and amorphous.

A wood doll breathes with life. It is as if she or he “never quite forgot the great tree of which [they were] once a living part." (Alice K. Early, “English Dolls”).

I live in a rain forest that has been devastated, simply to make trash. Giving back the life that was taken from a tree, through the creation of a skillfully crafted doll, makes me happy. Handmade by an artisan and constantly morphing and recreating herself through entropy each wooden doll is unique and precious.

Do you sew for your dolls?

I don’t sew for my dolls because I don’t know how. Also, I tend to prefer dolls naked, sans clothes, because a doll’s body speaks to me, as much as her face. That said, I am in total awe of the exquisite, detailed stitching and construction of antique clothes. I’m also emotionally moved by the mending and repairs; the traces of the mother or aunty or sister who so lovingly stitched together the torn clothing so that the little doll owner could continue to play.

I do intend to acquire more antique, hand-sewn doll clothes, regardless of whether or not the articles of clothing fit my dolls, because these antique clothes are Art. Since I am unable to sew clothes for my dolls, I express my love and adoration for them, through photography. Perhaps I dress them in light and shadow. When I’m preparing to take a photograph, I don’t usually place my dolls inside scenes. Instead, I use the setting and the background to reflect the emotional or psychic space of the doll. In this expressionistic style, the doll’s interior world is reflected in the world around them.

Looking through the lens, I keep moving around the doll, until I finally get a connection. When I see her looking back at me, smiling or perhaps blinking, I take a photo.

I get lost inside this play. There’s no real goal or purpose. It’s simply about the pleasure of connecting with something that I find intriguing, and towards whom I can radiate affection.

My dolls are always elusive. Yes, we communicate, but they do actually live in another world, where I cannot enter. This is why they often have a mysterious, distant, and eerie expression in my photos.

What are the characteristics that attract you to a certain doll?

One vital requisite is that the doll shouldn’t be too loud. The contemporary doll-maker Menya Shoho says, “Dolls unlike sculpture are meant for admiration in private. As it is a private space, I don't like my works being overly talkative. I wish them to be still and gentle, as if I could casually talk with the dolls in everyday life”. I too prefer quiet dolls.

I also listen for the ones who still carry the child’s whispered secrets; the dolls that are haunted.

When choosing a doll, I simply stare into her eyes and wait to see if we connect.

I also have a weakness for round faces and for those dolls whose open eyes announce eagerness to play.

I’m charmed by dolls that are broken or missing parts of themselves. To me, they are full of character, with lots of stories. My china doll Leaf’s limbs are disconnected from her torso, but I don’t want to make her a new body. I like that her torn body will continue to degrade because it is this quality of falling apart that makes Leaf so endearing and special. (I also prefer not to impose myself, to just let the dolls be, as they are. Perfect in their imperfections.) However, in spite of being broken, a doll should feel whole, i.e., the body and head need to be integrated as one. 

For example, my doll Twig’s cloth body has been repaired into a very strange, eccentric form, and yet Twig is a complete self, she exists as a whole, connected to her body. This connection between head and body is a difficult sentiment to explain, but it’s a characteristic of dolls that is important to me.

Are you looking for anything in particular?

Because I long for so many dolls, I have to control myself. Therefore, my next acquisition will be

for a doll that I will seek out, specifically. In the not too distant future, I will set out on a quest for a Grodner Tal, a Milliner, and a Mitsu-ore.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

May 2017 Sneak Peek!

Spring has sprung, and along with it, wonderful dolls are popping up everywhere.  Try not to drool on the magazine as you take a leisurely trip through the amazing world of antique and vintage dolls and all things related to them! 

Automata and toy fans will be dancing for joy along with the wonderful automatons featured at the Team Breker Toy and Automata auction.  We feature a gallery of delightful automatons for your viewing pleasure, including amazing costumed monkey automatons.  Don't miss the lovely mechanical violinist on our cover, either!

Doll seamstresses and tailors will take note that we have a wonderful Jumeau dress pattern in our May issue this year.   There are also great ads from trustworthy dealers who can help you outfit your antique dolls in style.

Those who live for doll eye candy can't miss our story on the legendary and important collection of  Countess Maree Tarnowska, a passionate author, dealer, and collector, especially of amazing antique French bisques. 

We are also offering terrific articles on white gold porcelain and ceramics, a doll friendship tour centering on Japanese dolls, a collectibles column on Helen Kish and her relationship to antique dolls and contributions to doll art, key auctions, and much more.

See our website for convenient ways to subscribe, and catch us on all our social media hangouts!

Happy Collecting!

Look for this Icon Displaying our May 2017 cover  on our Website to subscribe

April Collector Feature: Diane Roche

Below is a brief, but well-put collector's statement from our friend, Diane Roche.  Diane is a respected dealer of antique dolls, but she is also a collector and true fan of fine French dolls.  We've had many terrific conversations on doll research, antique dolls, and antique doll clothes.  She has clothed many a fine doll for me, and I can boast proudly that a fine Jutta, Frozen Charlie, and Vintage Artists' A.T. have come from her wonderful stock!  She is supportive of all antique doll collectors, doll enthusiasts, and doll research, truly a collector's collector! Diane says:

I have been  collecting  dolls since I was  a little girl,  but collecting  antique dolls since 1990. My  tastes have become more sophisticated,  overall , and my "faves"  are French bebes and  fashions
Also I like vintage  reproductions and am always looking for small dolls, and for the most part I don't sew!!  Moreover, I  always look for the artistry and beauty when I buy, the charm of the face, and  also originality can be a factor. 

Vintage, Artist A.T. that came from Diane's Archives.  Made with a
Seeley Body, well marked, and Old Clothing and Materials.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

April Sneak Peek

This month, we have a veritable buffet of dolls for you to enjoy, plus our regular features.  There are also the usual great auction reports, doll shows, and wonderful information for those who love to collect antique dolls.
We feature an incredible doll collection, that of Vicenza Fedele, Part I, in a terrific article by our own Lynn Murray.  These collector profiles are always inspiring and great fun to read.
Our collectibles column features fairy dolls, for all those inspired by fairy gardens, fairy tales, and fairy art.
Miniature lovers will be intrigued by the article “The Small and Cozy World of Walfrid Victoreen”, while those who love small dolls will enjoy “The Artistry of French Mlle Riera Dolls” and  “A Glimpse at Savoie.”
“Toy Ahoy! Floating Bisque Novelties of the early 1900s” will make everyone long for the beach and all that summer brings.

This is only the tip of the iceberg; there is much more!
Enjoy our beautiful April issue, and enjoy your spring doll collecting adventures!!


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Interview with Gloria Kimmel

I first met this month's interviewee when I was living in San Jose.  We had a mutual friend in Mrs. Ruby Sargent, the former owner of the local Nice Twice Doll Shop.  Gloria was an inspiration to anyone who loved dolls, and she had wonderful ideas for collecting.  It is an honor and a pleasure to share her thoughts, and her historic doll, here:

Interview Questions for Antique Doll Collector

When did you start collecting?

I started collecting for my oldest daughter in 1977. We were a military family living on Okinawa and I bought her a Japanese doll. I told myself that I was collecting for her in those early years but in reality, I was a fledgling collector for myself.

I bought  Composition Madame Alexanders, Ideal, Artist dolls such as Robin Woods, Dolls by Jerri, Heidi Ott and even some of those home shopping network ones in those early years , but then everything changed.

In the mid 80's I was browsing in my favorite antique shop in San Jose and they had just bought an antique doll collection. I bought my first doll book that day, a Jan Foulke Guide,  and started learning about dolls. The next few weeks, I bought the Coleman's Encyclopedia and devoured every word.  Then I went back to the doll shop to see if any of those dolls were left.

 I saw one that I just loved and I bought her. Her label said that she was an AM but when I got her home, I discovered the numbers 1123 1/2 on her shoulder plate. In a few minutes I knew that she was an ABG. She was a 28 Inch Beauty and I have been hooked every since.

Have your tastes changed over the years?

My first antique doll was a bisque, but in those early years, I just saw dolls and bought every thing. Now I focus on the Early German Bisque dolls. I think that my eye has changed over the years. When you have the ability to see a lot of dolls, it can't help but change your perspective because you become aware of subtle painting techniques and view the antique doll as an Art object instead of a child's play thing.

What are your favorite types of dolls?

I love the early pale bisque dolls from Kling, ABG and Simon & Halbig.  In my first collection I bought dolls of all mediums because I wanted each of them represented, but now my primary focus are the early dolls from Germany.

What are the characteristics that attract you to a certain doll?

One of the first things I notice about a doll is the clothing. I was lucky enough in my first collection to have many all original dolls, both mommy-dressed and factory dressed. I am fascinated by the skill it took to make those costumes. If a doll has a story, then that is close to my heart also. I have been lucky enough to own several family dolls and have written those stories to remain with the dolls and for the future generation of care takers.

Do you sew for your dolls?

I should make all kinds of doll clothing considering that I once used to sew for Vanity Fair,  but I have only made one doll dress for a low brow china. The smallness of the patterns is just something that I am not an expert at, although I greatly admire those that have that ability.

In my early collecting days, I was lucky enough to purchase a doll from Mrs Hinz's son,  of K & H dolls. She went to Germany and studied with the Armand Marseilles dressmakers to learn how to sew the clothes for their dolls and I bought one of her dresses.  Here is the dress and doll formerly  belonging to Mrs Hinz. She is a 1278 Dep model from ABG ca. 1892:

ABG, once part of the K&H doll family.  Courtesy Gloria Kimmel

Are you looking for anything in particular ?

I have a desire for a Blue Scarf again. I have had the original ABG one and the Emma Clear one  reproduction from '46 in my first collection.

I did not bond with the Antique one and sold her to my best friend and the Emma Clear has gone to my oldest daughter that loved her, so I am looking for "the" one.

I am what I call a "heart collector". If I want to hug the doll, then that is one that would make it home to join my collection.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

An Interview with Doll Artist Marry Tuthill

This month, I was privileged to interview a very unique doll artist who works in wood, Marry Tuthill, who has a wonderful Facebook page called Marry’s Lost and Found, as well as an Etsy shop.

I met her last fall during the Spoon River Scenic Drive.  I bought one of her fully articulated wooden dolls, aka, “Bittersweets” because they were so unusual.  My doll has long black hair and her stand is a repurposed lamp base.  Marry understands what Tottie and Miss Hickory did, too, that wood is a living substance.  Marry’s dolls remind one of the finest marionettes combined with the dignity of a Queen Anne doll.   Like me, Marry is interested in automatons and movement in dolls.  She also loves bronze statues and her work shows a careful understanding of movement as well as meticulous craftsmanship.  She is interested in animating all dolls, or giving the impression that they can move, hence any of her dolls could work as a mobile.  Marry intrigues me in many ways.  I am touched by her artist’s history because my grandfather was also a carpenter and my own father did a lot of woodworking.  They both were very fond of their tools and took care of them, just as I love my paint brushes, sculpting tools, and knitting needles.  Marry is that rare creature, both artist and collector, and her understanding and love of dolls comes through her work.

  1. How did you get into doll making?
     I guess it was a natural process. I started out taking the eye makeup off of a Barbie and then changing her lips.

Image may contain: one or more people and indoorMermaid by Marry Tuthill, Marry’s Lost and Found.

  1. Who is your favorite artist? Doll Artist?
    I love, love Gustav Klimt. As far as dolls I can play with a Madame Alexander adult dolls; my aunt had a case of dolls that I could look at for hours.

No automatic alt text available.Carved Mermaid Head as a Work in Progress. Marry Tuthill, Marry’s Lost and Found.

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoorMermaid Body as a Work in Progress.  Marry Tuthill. Marry’s Lost and Found.

  1. Do you collect dolls?  What kind?
     I don’t have a collection per se.  I have a Maxi doll from my childhood and a Jem doll that I rerooted  to be a redhead. I have a dozen or so.  One is antique, another papier mache, and I even have a Monster High bat girl.  So I don’t have a group of one maker, but a little of everything.

No automatic alt text available.One of Marry’s full articulated wooden dolls. Marry Tuthill. Marry’s Lost and Found.

  1. What inspires you?
    I never played with the dolls like my cousins. I always wanted to make the clothes, pose and build the tiny world around them.  The movement of a female automaton that could assume any position without losing a feminine style always interested me. The possibility of a MEGO Dorothy doll moving that way would have me fascinated.

Image may contain: 2 peopleDressed Dolls, including a redhead to the left.  Marry Tuthill, Marry’s Lost and Found.

  1. What other antiques or art sparks your interest?
    Woodworking and furniture are interests for me and are part of my own history.   The intricacies of a mechanical table that was made without power tools and the time and care of carving four claw feet that match perfectly intrigues me. I love my tiger maple clad treadle sewing machine.  Also, the thought that I get to use a 100 year old hand crank grinder in my day- to- day life to make my dolls is so fun. My tools being prettier than the things I make with them is so girly and fun!

Image may contain: 1 personOne of Marry’s Dolls in an Elegant Frock. Marry Tuthill, Marry’s Lost and Found.

6. Why do you use wood as a medium to create dolls?

My dad and granddad were wood workers. I made doll furniture  and then my own "bad" houses out of scraps. It wasn’t until four years ago that the lady wind chime became a doll that everyone wanted to touch and play with.  I get caught up in the way wood feels and the grain turns into an ankle or chick. They feel like they have been alive because the wood has been. More than once, I started one thing and the wood changed how the doll looked and her tone was much better for it.

No automatic alt text available.An example of Marry’s woodworking art. Marry Tuthill, Marry’s Lost and Found.

7. What do you think the future will hold for your art dolls?

I hope to keep playing with movement and size. Each doll is her own creation. The next one I make is my favorite, created with simple movement of45° hips with sculpted knees and legs that hang just so. I hope they make their next owner as happy as I am when I’m creating them.

 8. Are you looking for anything special?

As far as dolls, I look for old joints and craftsmanship. I love fashion art dolls and curvy porcelain. I love old bronze statues and would love to have them in motion. A doll that I want to play with is so hard to resist. It’s hard to say what that is, but you know it when you see it.