Why Dolls?


My simple answer: I am obsessed with tiny objects.

I remember it clear as day. I was about 3 or 4 years old and my sister and I asked our dad how the stereo worked. He informed us there were tiny people who lived inside and sang. We tapped and shook and peered through every crack in the stereo we could find, but there was no sign of the tiny people inside—they were quite shy. Thus began my pursuit of all things tiny.

 But it isn’t as simple as that. Doll making aligns with many of my core values and beliefs. I believe in innovation, individualism, autonomy, creativity, knowledge and I relish problem solving.

As doll makers, we are mad scientists concocting beautiful Frankensteins in our own tiny laboratories. Doll makers are not just jewelers, sculptors and tailors—we are doctors, chemists, scientists, physicists, explorers, historians, engineers and designers.

We find strengths and weaknesses in designs and modify them. We make sure an arm fits into a socket just so or that the fibers used in the hair meet the proper proportion and drape. We remove eyes, ears, scalps, limbs and other parts and then reattach them seamlessly. We develop impossible designs for balance and armatures to defy gravity and fool the eye. We take raw materials and reinvent them. We become chemists testing glues and pigments for strength and longevity. We collaborate and assemble to share doll discoveries and technologies.

It is a remarkable process involving complex problem solving and doll makers do it all the time. It’s no wonder doll makers love what they do!

Sharing doll tutorials may seem counterproductive to my value of individuality. I don’t see it as such. The tutorials are project based, but they focus on building core techniques and encourage innovative ways to use materials. I share what I discover and it is my hope that doll makers take what they learn and build their own voices in their work to solve more problems.

Why do you make dolls?