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September 30, 2008

Who is a princess?

I do hate the fact that many people refer to spoiled, selfish brats as "princesses." These girls and women do not embody the qualities of a princess at all.

A princess is a lady who:

  • is noble and loving
  • has integrity and is honourable
  • radiates inner beauty, intelligence,  and strength
  • is good-natured and kind
  • is graceful and elegant
  • is well-mannered

Because of her fine qualities, she is loved and cherished by those around her.  

According to the tales, Princess Aurora was a gifted, young lady who was smart, beautiful, artistic, graceful, and kind. 

I strive to reflect a princess's qualities in my work and life. Hopefully, I can inspire my daughter and others to embrace them as well.


September 19, 2008

Finishing Touches: The Perfect Shoes

When you are putting together an ensemble for a doll, you must never forget the shoes. Whether this doll's character is a fashionista or a fairy, her shoes should help you tell her story.

You can buy shoes for your doll from a manufacturer or you can design and make custom shoes for your doll. I have done both. My decision to make or to buy shoes is based on my vision of the doll. There are times when I have found the perfect shoes, and there are times when I have created them.

When I was creating the doll of Mary, I designed and made her leather sandals, because I didn't want to adorn her feet with modern sandals or slippers. I found soft leather and metallic findings to create a simple sandal.

When I was designing Miyoko, I knew I would make her shoes. The geta and sapporo that geisha wear are very unique. I gathered as many pictures and descriptions I could find on these shoes. In human scale, these shoes are carved from wood. I created my sapporo from clay and ribbon and painted the bases to resemble lacquered wood.

Miyoko's sapporo, black lacquer base pained with pink and white cherry blossoms, with a yellow bandOne of a kind Sapporo

I also made the booties for Bianca and Celeste. These dolls are the size of small infants, and I could have purchased baby shoes for them. However, I decided it would be more fitting for each of them to have booties that matched their special ensembles.

One day, I'll make a Cinderella doll; and,  she will definitely have stunning shoes. Most likely, they will be an 18th-century slipper, lined with silk, featuring a glass (or glass-like) heel and a crystal-beaded upper.

I have much more to learn about shoe-making; and, I am certain that I shall be making more custom shoes in the future. It is a daunting task, but it is worth the effort.

If you are interested in making custom doll shoes, I highly recommend The Art of Making Beautiful Fashion Doll Shoes. These shoes are truly beautiful.

The Art of Making Beautiful Fashion Doll Shoes: "From Beginning to Last"

September 12, 2008

Porcelain is Timeless

Dolls can be made from many types of materials. Artists and manufacturers make dolls from wood, clay, resin, vinyl, silicone, porcelain, and cloth. I love dolls of all types, but I prefer porcelain dolls. For me, these dolls represent the finest quality of doll.

A fine quality doll is a doll that can be an heirloom. Porcelain does not stain, tarnish, or disintegrate over time. While wigs or clothing might have to be replaced in five generations, a collector should not have to replace the doll's eyes (if painted or made from glass/silicone) or reapply the china paint.

Of course, if a collector would like his or her doll collection to last for generations, the collector will have to store and display the dolls properly. *

Here are some tips I have learned:

  • Dolls should not be displayed in direct sunlight. While this does not harm the porcelain, it will fade the doll's clothing and damage the doll's hair.
  • Dolls should be dusted regularly. Keeping a doll in a display case can help reduce the amount of dust and dirt that can accumulate over time.
  • A doll should not be displayed where it can be tossed about or knocked down.
  • If in storage, the doll should be kept in a clean, dry area that does not experience drastic temperature changes. Also, the doll should be in a sealed container that will keep insects and other creatures away from the doll.
  • Porcelain dolls are meant to be held and cared for. They are not untouchable, as long as they are placed in gentle hands.

* Vinyl has not been in use long enough to know if it will last for more than 100 years.

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