Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I just realized that I'm not a doll collector!

Here I've been for the last year thinking that I'm a doll collector like my friend, Alison, who got me started in the first place, and like the other wonderful women in my local doll groups. However, spending this last week in Las Vegas at the International Fashion Doll Convention opened my eyes to the truth: I'm not a doll collector!

Before you get too worried, thinking that I'm a fraud and have been lying to you all and don't belong here on Fashion Doll Review, let me explain. As I walked through the IFDC sales room and bought little more than some Ken shoes for fifty cents a pair, I felt out of place. The women (and men) around me were filling bags full of gorgeous outfits and spending weeks worth of income on OOAK dolls that will be carefully transported home and displayed in glass curio cabinets, never to be redressed again. What most fascinated me was staring at amazing doll masterpieces and not only admiring them, but trying to figure out how to make them!

Even at the end of the convention, when we were handed our limited edition "Red Queen" doll from Integrity Toys, as much as I was in awe of her beautiful gown, I couldn't help but want to de-box her, strip off her clothes and make her a new wardrobe! Does this make me unappreciative of the creativity of the designers who created her?

In the midst of this out-of-place experience, I thought about the elements of the convention that made me feel most alive. The removable, fake fur wig-making workshop with Loanne Ostlie that I was so excited to attend. The tutorial where Jakki Peters revealed the "trade secrets" to making your own realistic-looking diorama for your dolls, using everyday findings. These were the moments that captured me: the "how-to" and the "hands-on." I wanted to make things for my dolls, not just look at them.

So, having established that I'm not a collector, what am I? As I envied the creative people who had managed the time and foresight to enter dolls into the convention's competitions, silent auctions, live charity auctions and table decorations, I had a revelation: I'm a doll artist! My dolls aren't just models to me. They are tools for designing, sewing, styling, sculpting and creating. My dolls bring me the most joy when they're covered in pins and raw-edged fabric. When others would look at my half-finished outfit and see incompletion, I look at it and see something coming to life!

I'm so glad I've discovered my new role as doll artist, because now I don't have to feel out of place when my doll collector friends talk about their latest acquisition, when I haven't bought a doll in months. I could be the artist who creates the beauty that will become their next acquisition! Although we may take joy from different aspects of the doll world, we still have that same wonder at these small works of art, whether their creation, or their acquisition.


  1. You had me really scared for a minute, Jen! LOL!

    I'm really happy you have your first FR doll, though. I can't wait to see what kind of wardrobe you make for her! ;)

  2. I thought that right at the top, now you just need to take that extra little step and make your own doll and you'll never look back. I still love buying and collecting dolls by other people, but there's nothing like working on one you created from scratch :o)

  3. Glad you enjoyed the wig workshop! And it was nice to meet you too!♥

  4. Great post Jen! I'm not as creative as you, but I totally understand where you're coming from. I debox and redress 99.9% of my dolls and now have recently begun cutting & restyling hair. IFDC was alot of fun and I'm glad you got inspired there!


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