Saturday, 28 December 2013


Commencing in January 2014 I have committed to joining a RTW (Ready to wear) Fast established by fellow blogger Sarah Gunn from Goodbye Valentino. I do not know Sarah personally but I have been following her blogs for some months and I am inspired by her achievements and obvious creativity which she has so willingly shared with others.  

In Sarah's words " What constitutes a RTW Fast? Refraining from buying ALL outerwear, dresses, tops, pants, shorts, sweaters, coats, exercise clothes, jeans and bathing suits. Shoes, socks and underwear are permitted." So there you have it, no purchases other than shoes and undies for the year, seems a long time really.  Following is the link to Sarah's blog and reading her "about" page was enough to get me motivated to do the same in 2014.

As part of the "fast" and "sew along" I will endeavor to add items to my wardrobe that I like and want to wear and in doing so at least clear some of the stash of gorgeous fabrics. Yes I know, that's every seamstresses dream of course but one casual glance at my fabric stash whilst moving home was enough to send me on a search for a reason to get motivated to get sewing again. On further inspection I discovered in my closet an amazing collection of lovely fabrics and a rarely used good sewing machine (or two) and an over locker. I have no more excuses now. 

I love the idea of the sew along and I think it will be rather refreshing to abstain from the insufferable retail trips trying to find something that might work in my wardrobe. Us creative souls are pretty fussy when it comes to choosing something we like to wear. I know both my daughter and daughter-in-law could attest to this.

'Methinks it is a token of healthy and gentle characteristics, when women of high thoughts and accomplishments love to sew; especially as they are never more at home with their own hearts than while so occupied.' 
~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun, 1859~
I have always enjoyed being creative and I have sewn many items over the years from wedding dresses, flower girl and bridesmaid dresses, high end artist dolls clothes, ladies suits and many baby clothes.  I've smocked, quilted, embroidered, cross stitched, china painted and various other creative pursuits and without doubt I have a sincere appreciation for the finer things in life which is where most of my inspiration comes from. 

I have a real love of natural fabrics like silk, linen, leather, fur etc. and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a project come together when everything has been created by hand.  I will, if I must, substitute natural fabrics where necessary but my goal is to create items that have the look and feel of high end couture garments. I aim to construct all of my garments in the same way that the European Fashion houses create their garments with the assistance of a few tutorials from the experts because I do not believe you ever stop learning in life and there are so much wonderful information on the web now.  The garments will be constructed in this way from start to finish.  I can't promise that I will remember to document it all but you will get to see the end product and I will give credit where credit is due to others who have assisted in my learning and my creative process.

So here is my commitment, now to get started.

Thursday, 16 May 2013


This blog was originally created with a great sense of respect and and infinite appreciation for some of the worlds most beautiful Artist Dolls.  Some which were part of my life for a period of time.  A select few remain so.

My earliest recollections of dolls was of course as a child when I spotted a most wonderful doll while I was on an outing with my father.  I guess I was always a creative child and my mother always encouraged us to explore that creativity in any way we wanted so as I grew so did my interest and appreciation in many things. More recently while living overseas I chose to follow one of my interests by commencing a degree in Interior Design.  This opened up even more interesting avenues of discovery. While having the privilege of visiting the Louvre and several other amazing places from Denmark to Denhaag discovering little arty nooks, I spotted some of the most mesmerizingly beautiful creations by Artists that not many people had even heard of.  I wondered why so little could be known about such beautiful objects then I realised thats right I live down under where we are sometimes rather culturally challenged because we are such a young country with not a lot of exquisite history.  It was then that I also realised that not everybody saw the world as I did and some people even saw art as a superficial and somewhat meaningless entity.

I have discovered that those of us who have a deep appreciation for art and its many forms are a rather unique breed.  We demand perfection and often suffer what I call perfection paralysis.  Good enough is not good enough, it must meet perfection in our eyes otherwise its never complete.  We detest superficiality and detect it in others easily and are often seen as critical because of this.  We seek honesty and integrity in every aspect of life but our fragile spirits are often disappointed when we and others don't quite live up to our own expectations.  We are our own worst critics, punishing ourselves to the point of obnoxiousness sometimes. We are often misunderstood and misplaced because we don't fit the norm yet everybody without exception appreciates what we produce.  Its often not easy to get others to understand just how much we appreciate the simplicity of life because the things we love and the things we create are often complex in structure and design.  We have an eye for detail and desire the exquisite things in life not for what they stand for but for what they are, objets d'art.  Its not the brand or label that we want, its the material and the creative process that we admire and we are rather perplexed by other people who we see as just have to have brand names and certain labels.  Unfortunately along the way the bottom line has become more of a focus than the end product and we are losing many great designers because they simply cannot compete with mass production and the designer copy business.

It was only after our family moved to South Korea temporarily in 1998 that I had a real excuse to discover much of what the world offered in terms of creativity.  I began looking for a very special doll for a little girl who was soon to adopted into our home from South Korea.  It had to be the right doll and it had to be Asian because why would an Asian child want a Caucasian doll right?  Wrong, have you noticed that the Japanese adds feature western women and the western ads feature Asian women.  It was me who had fallen in love with Asia and more importantly the babies in the orphanages in South Korea. This was all a perfect excuse which married well with my husband's interest in photography.  So I got to discover these amazing creations and he got to hone his skills photographing them.

As a result of the addition of a daughter to our family and in my determination to find what I considered the most pleasing Asian doll I could, I discovered a special little doll called Nancy by British Artist, Philip Heath. Nancy was perfect along with her sisters Precious, Seraphina, Josephine and a several others from that group and of course brother Will.  Philip has sadly since passed away but to any avid artist doll collector there is very good reason to secure his creations whenever you find them.  Philip Heath took his collectors on a journey with incredible passion and great fortitude.  His dolls have some of the most intense realistic expressions ever seen.  He is reputed to have been the master at capturing a child's heart and soul in his creations and as soon as they were produced they were sold.  After discovering his dolls it was a natural progression to search out other European Artists and so it went .... from Heath to Heloise to Himstedt to Buchwalder-Bill, etc.  This was a journey uncovering some amazing creativity and passion by artists who most people I'm sure don't really even know exist.

Since those days my circumstances have changed somewhat and I have parted with most of my exquisite collection sadly but life changes and we change with it.  I was thrilled to get to know the lovely people who treasured the dolls as I did and now I know they live in Russia, Ukraine, France, UK and America and a few in Australia too.  I am forever grateful for what I discovered and had the privilege of experiencing.  I now fully understand why people have an honest appreciation for other peoples creativity and are willing to acquire it and make it part of their own lives.  I feel sad for people who have not yet found that interest and I do hope that someday they will so they too can have such a satisfying and rewarding journey as long or as short as it may be.



My Doll Couture collectors are many and worldwide although my keenest collectors were a group of Kish doll collectors from the United States.  I only ever put one item on ebay and since then I could not produce enough for the demand.  I have come to appreciate that the art of Doll Collecting and Couture is a very privileged profession for which there is a wonderful sense of achievement and appreciation both for the creator and the receiver.  Its simply not a necessity in life but an art form that has a meaningful expression through the characters that are created by Doll owners worldwide.

I will endeavour to present on this blog my latest Doll Couture. These items are unique and exclusively one off items. All include a signed collectors certificate with care instructions and general information about each article.  Each item is made using the finest quality materials, accessories and trinkets, mostly by hand over many hours of fine intricate work.  I often attach trinkets that are collected using  my much honed skills at procuring unique and special ornaments.  I use silk, linen, leather and all natural where possible.

Many times I have been tempted to keep these creations and many times I have regretted parting with them. However the wonderful comments I receive as a result of the many hours work that have been put into each little creation is truly appreciated and it only serves to encourage me to continue this wonderful past time.

As James Whistler said "An artist is not paid for his hours but for his vision".  I could never ask the amount it has cost me in time but the best payment is someone else appreciating my work enough to want to own it and treasure it for themselves.

I trust as visitor to this blog you come to enjoy and appreciate the honest beauty in these amazing creations as I much as I have.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


A doll is a model of a human being. The earliest documented dolls go back to the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome. Dolls being used as toys was documented in Greece around 100AD. They have been made as crude, rudimentary playthings as well as elaborate art. Modern doll manufacturing has its roots in Germany going back to the 15th century. With industrialization and the appearance of new materials like porcelain and plastic, dolls were increasingly mass-produced. During the 20th century dolls became increasingly popular as collectibles. 

During the 19th century dolls' heads were often made of porcelain and combined with a body of leather, cloth, wood, or composite materials, like paper-mâché or composition, a mix of pulp, sawdust, glue and similar materials. With the advent of polymer and plastic materials in the 20th century, doll making largely shifted to these materials. The low cost, ease of manufacture and durability of plastic materials meant new types of dolls could be mass-produced at a lower price. The earliest materials were rubber and celluloid. From the mid-20th century soft vinyl became the dominant material, in particular for children's dolls. Beginning in the 20th century, both porcelain and plastic dolls are made directly for the adult collectors market. Synthetic resins like polyurethane resemble porcelain in texture and are used for collectible dolls.

In Western society, a gender difference in the selection of toys has been observed and studied. Action figures that represent traditional masculine traits are popular with boys, who are more likely to choose toys that have some link to tools, transportation, garages, machines and military equipment. Dolls for girls tend to represent feminine traits and come with such accessories as clothing, kitchen appliances, utensils, furniture and jewelry. Today with the explosion of the Asian Ball Jointed Doll a new collector has emerged. These people are creative and savvy collectors and the artists who produce them are truly deft hands at moulding lifelike and aesthetically pleasing creatures.


Image courtesy of

A ball-jointed doll is any doll that is articulated with ball and socket joints. In contemporary usage when referring to modern dolls, and particularly when using the acronyms BJD or ABJD, it usually refers to modern Asian ball-jointed dolls. These are cast in polyurethane synthetic resin, a hard, dense plastic, and the parts strung together with a thick elastic. They are predominantly produced in Japan, South Korea and China. The BJD style has been described as both realistic and influenced by anime. They commonly range in size from about 60 centimetres (24 in) for the larger dolls, 40 cm (16 in) for the mini dolls, and all the way down to 10 cm (4 in) or so for the tiniest of the tiny BJDs. BJDs are primarily intended for adult collectors and customizers. They are made to be easy to customize, by painting, changing the eyes and wig, and so forth.

The modern BJD market began with Volks line of Super Dolfie in 1999. Super Dollfie and Dollfie are registered trademarks but are sometimes erroneously used as generic blanket terms to refer to all Asian BJDs regardless of manufacturer.

Modern Asian BJDs

Modern Asian BJDs are intended for adult collectors and customizers and range in price from US$100 to over US$1000. Their body elements are cast in polyurethane resin and held together by thick elastic cords, making them fully articulated and highly poseable. BJDs tend to follow a distinctly Asian view in their aesthetics, but the designs are diverse and range from highly anime-inspired to hyper-realistic. Most are anatomically correct and have proportionally large heads, big eyes and comparatively large feet, contrasted with fashion dolls like Barbie, and are capable of standing on their own, without a stand or other support.


BJDs are readily customizable. Wigs and eyes are easy to remove and replace, as well as heads, hands, and feet. A doll may even be a hybrid of parts from different companies. Some BJD owners or customizers even re-shape existing parts by sanding them or applying epoxy putty to them.

The resin material is easier to paint than the softer and more slick vinyl often used for other types of dolls. BJD face paint is referred to as a faceup, to note that it's not just make-up, but all the facial features that are painted and customized, including eyebrows, lips and blushing to enhance features. Faceups and body blushing are done with watercolor pencils, acrylic paint — applied with a regular brush or an airbrush — or soft pastels, and coated with a sprayed-on layer of clear matte sealant for protection. BJD faceups, even from large companies, are always painted by hand, and it takes considerable skill to do detailed, professional faceups.

This information was retrieved Wikipedia