Black-Eyed Suzie

Dolls. Words.

I'd like to buy a doll, but I don't see any in your shop.  How can I get one?

If you don't see any dolls for sale, it means that they have all sold.  The best thing to do is sign up to my mailing list so that you receive my newsletter whenever I have new dolls for sale.  I send one out a few days ahead of my shop updates, and then a quick reminder once the dolls are in my shop.  I update my shop with several new dolls every 2-3 months.


What is a "shop update"?  Can't you just put me on a waiting list for a doll?  Can I reserve one?

Thanks to my lovely customers, my dolls sell quite quickly once they're in the shop (sometimes within a few hours). With a mailing list of over 700 subscribers, I have found that the shop update is the most efficient way to let my readers know that I have new work for sale without me having to pester people every time I add a new doll to the shop; when I have a shop update, it means I add several dolls at once and every one has the same chance to buy a doll.  I think this is more fair than offering reserves, and I apologize for any frustration that it might cause; I know not everyone is able to be at the computer at the time of the updates, but for now this is best way I've found. 

A waiting list would require me to either contact dozens - or even hundreds - of people and send photos every time I made a new doll to see if they wanted it. OR it would require that you pay up front for a doll you've never seen and possibly might not want once its made.  Of course, I want everyone to be happy with whatever they purchase from me, so a waiting list just isn't feasible at this time.  I'm planning a line of porcelain dolls, and it's possible that I'll begin a waiting list once they're for sale.  Again, my newsletter is the best way to find out about any upcoming changes.

 

Can I order a custom doll?

I'm unable to take any custom orders at this time. 

 

I also make dolls; where do you get your doll eyes/ hair/ other supplies?

One of the fun things about what I do is finding different sources for materials, and almost all have been found using Google searches, then browsing through dozens of suppliers until I find something I like.  I recently started making my own glass eyes, but Ebay is a great place for vintage glass doll eyes; they often come in lots of mismatched sizes, so you have to be a little adventurous. You can also find some on Etsy (under ‘supplies’). Contemporary doll eye manufacturers also sell on Ebay, if you’re prepared to wade through their many listings, you can find beautiful eyes.  Doll hair can also be found on Ebay and Etsy.

 

What kind of clay do you use?

These days, I use almost exclusively Creative Paperclay, which is an air-dry clay.  It’s very time-consuming to work with, and requires multiple layers, dryings and sandings.  Polymer clays can be direct-sculpted and oven-baked, so they are less time-consuming to work with, but I prefer the finish and texture of paperclay.

 

How do you make your dolls?

This question would literally require an entire book to answer, as I make dolls of different sizes, with varying degrees of detail and complexity and these all require different techniques.  Even more specific questions, such as how to attach heads or limbs, are difficult to answer without lengthy instructions and photos.  I really encourage people who are new to dollmaking to invest in a few good books (see the following question) and/ or Google until you think your eyes might cross.  It’s amazing what you can find out there by entering the simplest search terms (e.g. dollmaking, tutorial, how to make a doll, etc.) and I promise that this is how I also learned.

 

Will you ever offer any tutorials or teach online classes? 

Tutorials are a great way to learn, and it’s possible that I might be able to offer some in the future.  At this time, however, I’m pretty swamped: I’m a full-time mama and makes dolls in the few evening hours after my babe goes to bed.  There literally aren’t enough hours in the day for me to get everything I need to get done (never mind the many more things I’d like to!) 

And while I’d never rule anything out, I have no immediate plans to teach an online class.  But of course, should that change, my blog and newsletter remain the best places to keep up to date on such things.

 

Can you suggest any good books or online resources?

Oh, yes!  I highly recommend the four bibles of dollmaking by the master, Susana Oroyan. Sadly, Susana is no longer with us, but her books have taught me the most about dollmaking.  They can be found online at Powells and Amazon, among other places.  There are many great books on sewing and sculpting, some my favourites being The Complete Guide to Sewing and Making Life-like Figures from Polymer Clay.

When it comes to tutorials, Google is your friend and I really encourage you to explore in order to find what’s right for you. But here are a few of my favourites:

How to sculpt a head — Hannie Sarris

Doll Designs (links to a bazillion different tutorials)

Antonette Cely (Various Tutorials)

Armature Tutorial (Squidoo)

NIADA (sells how-to books and dvds)

 

I like your dolls, but I can’t afford one.  Will you ever consider making less expensive dolls?

While I know my dolls aren’t an option for everyone, I do sometimes offer smaller, more affordable items such as pendants, ornaments and busts.  I also sell prints for $20 plus shipping.  I will offer payment plans if a doll hasn't sold for more than a week after being added to the shop; please contact me for details.