Excerpts of Conversation with Linda Lipfert White, Granddaughter of Doll Sculptor Bernard Lipfert

The following are excerpts of emails and conversations with Linda Lipfert White, the granddaughter of famed doll sculptor, Bernard Lipfert. I was able to visit  Linda who now lives in the Lipfert ancestral home in Westbury Long Island, New York during the summer of 2011.

Bernard Lipfert sculpted and creating dolls for most of the prominent doll and toy manufacturers in American from the 1920’s-1960’s including such successful dolls as Patsy, Shirley Temple, DyDee,  and many others.  Many articles were written about Bernarnd Lipfert and his dolls which, looking back is surprising as artists working for the large doll companies were not affored much credit for their creations.

Bernard Lipfert was born in the Thuringian  region of Germany in 1886. After an art education, he emigrated to the United States in 1912.  He married twice and had a son Max Lipfert, Linda’s father.  Having raised a family of her own, Linda  spends some of the time she is not attending to the grand-kids  in reconstructing the life of her grandparents, remembering the very human side of the man who has been dubbed the “Dean of American Dollmakers.”

Next year it will be 100 years since he came to this country and I still wish I had a bigger picture of his life.  He came from a family of toy makers, in Sonneberg… He was one of eight children.  I was given to understand that it was his brother who sent him to art school  Another picture places him in Ohrdorf, prior to emigration.  He came to this country to avoid the draft in Germany; his brother had emigrated prior to him. 

He came over initially in 1912, returned to Germany and came back with Frieda,(his first wife) in 1914. My father (Max Lipfert) was born in Brooklyn in 1915 by a midwife. They returned to Germany in 1920…to seek treatment for Frieda who suffered from TB.  They lived with my grandmother’s family in Schabhausen,Germany. 

Lipfert as a young man on right.  Frieda, his first wife seated in front of  Elsie, Lipfert’s second wife.

After Frieda died, my grandfather and Elsie (his second wife and Frieda’s sister)  returned to US, 1923.   Max(my father) returned to the US in 1926, on a ship by himself. 1930 census found them all in Brooklyn.  His (Lifpert’s) move in 1941 to Westbury as I remember was in part because of the damp basement he worked in.  As long as I can remember he and my grandmother would go to FL in the winter after the rush of preparing for the toy show finished.  The last doll that he (Lipfert) made, that went into production was when he was in his late 70’s.
Lynn:  Did your grandfather ever apply for a patent or copyright any of his doll creations?

Linda: I ask my mother how come he never copyrighted his stuff and she said “It was too much to do…” I mean he really liked to do his work…he had a patent for a doll that talked…that was in 1934 but he really didn’t want to get into royalties and all that stuff.

If he needed extra money he went to another manufacturer and said, ‘Do you want a variation thereof,’  and then he would do it and then he’d make various sizes… that again he would be charging for.

Lynn:  And of course they all liked the basic work he had done, like the Patsy doll…

Linda: Well that’s why I brought out this book  (shows Lynn the Composition doll book  I have a list of dolls from this book

But I can tell you just visually which ones were his because either I have in the attic or I have seen them in the house at some point…but her never displayed anything …. I am refurbishing what was his office and he had two chairs a small liquor cabinet and a card table because they always played cards and then he had a huge slab of marble that was his table.

Lynn: That’s what he worked on.

LINDA:  Yes that was his table and he had a florescent light, but he usually counted on daylight…he did like to work at night and that was it…he had a place for his plaster…he mixed his own plaster…he didn’t  have any helpers.

LYNN: Did he ever do any lady fashion dolls…looks like most of them were children?

LINDA:  …No, not only children…Revlon…I don’t know if Barbie was a little bit after Revlon?

LYNN: Revlon was about 1952 and Barbie came out in  1959

LINDA:  So he was the first one with dolls with boobs  and she had earrings…I have one upstairs.  He did Revlon…he did Betsy McCall…which is more a girl doll.

And his bridal dolls for Madame Alexander they weren’t really ladies…you’d have  to see the one upstairs…its not a girl …its not a woman; she doesn’t really  have a chest…its kind of an anjenou.

LYNN:  Are you aware that you were the model for the Baby Coos doll?

LINDA:  I heard that from my mother; I mean he tried to model my sister too, but she was very small from birth…she was five pounds at birth so he came over a couple to time to sketch her but I don’t think that he ever used her.   It’s funny because I asked my mother about    Amosandra because if you go into the articles they give a name of a lady who did illustrations…and she illustrated (Linda: is referring to Ruth Eleanor Newton who is credited with the design for the Amosandra doll.)

So sometimes you would have a concept; then they had the person who would draw the concept ; then you would have the modeler who would put it into a three dimensional final product; then there would be modifications.  They asked the lady (Newton) to draw  what they wanted and then he (Lipfert) sculpted  it .

Lynn:   I am not familiar with that doll?

Linda:  Amosandra was a baby of Amos from the Amos and Andy show…they had a baby on the program in fact that was …I have a picture of me… I was in first grade and  I am front and center holding an Amosandra doll and that’s the doll I loved to play with.

Lynn:  He sculpted a lot of character dolls.

Linda:  All kinds of dolls…he did Pebbles & Bam Bam… he did Campbell Kids, Patty Playpal, going back to 1924 Tynie Baby Patsy was 1928   Dydee was 1933,  the Qunituplets, Shirley Temple, Judy Garland, Babs Baby Food, Ginny doll, Betsy McCall…he did the Ricky doll from I Love Lucy.

And they were taking pictures and you see they gave him photographs …when he was doing…you see this was in Brooklyn but they gave him photographs of Shirley Temple

LYNN:  So this is actual photograph he was working from?

LINDA:  Apparently it was her (Temple’s) mother who picked him.

So what happened was , this is the grandmother I knew… this was her sister my father’s mother so she was a little older she is like 15 in this picture but she married my grandfather…he came over first then he brought her over and she contracted TB so after WWI, I think  1920 they went back and tried to get her treatment in Switzerland and she died  Then he got caught up in the Weimar Republic where he was worth nothing and he stayed on the farm to help and then and I don’t know who specifically, whether it was from  Horsman, or somebody else who had brought him over but they paid for his fare

LYNN: Do you know her name (grandmother)

LINDA:  Her name was Frieda

Lynn: So he married the sister

Linda:  Well she was the only one left…the sister and the grandmother were on the farm and in fact that particular grandmother left my father the farm which is in East Germany and he just relinquished the land  It didn’t seem to pay to go back…

LYNN:  Do you have any contact with their families or anyone else over there?

LINDA:  No not anymore…his niece used to come over and she was… she looked like “Brunhilda”…and she used to come over every so often…maybe three or four times.  This is in Brooklyn…this the grandmother that I knew…this is my grandfather….they had like a walk up and they had a full window here…this is where he would work; he would work on the first floor and the rest of the house…he always had a hat…he had thinning hair..so here he had his hat on…a fedora  before 1930’s

My father came over in between 1928 and 1930

Here is some other pictures:  This is Sonneburg this the town he came from …it’s Thuringinwald…its very Bavarian one of his grandmother’s owned a mill with a water wheel…my mother has the painting he did when he was 16 of the watermill…but this is the town…

LYNN:  Did you ever go on vacations with him…there are references to his going to Florida and the Adirondacks.

Linda:  They went up to Vermont NH…They used to go to Saratoga a lot. He liked the horses, so a lot of times he would walk to the raceway over here (Roosevelt Field) and he didn’t bet much,  but liked to watch the horses run…in Florida they went to Hialeah but that did not start until the 1950’s

LYNN: Did they have a house down there?

LINDA:  No they just stayed down there…usually they stayed for about 3 months, after the doll fair…

Lynn: Oh you mean the New York City Toy Fair?

Linda:  Yes, usually the end of January… February and after that it was like a hustle.  His birthday was December  22nd, if I remember right, and he would be working because the doll fair…you know it  was hard to pull  him down to eat…let alone blow out candles…then in the summer time they went for 2 months in July and August… when it was hot.

Lynn:  did he seem to like any doll companies better than any others?

Linda He appreciated Madam Alexander because she presented the doll in such a nice manner,  you know dressed them well.  He  had a soft spot for her…as a matter of fact he got himself into trouble…because…at one point there was…my mother told me this story.   There was a spinning wheel that belonged to my grandmother’s mother….and it was up in the attic… I cannot envision it, but  I can remember  when Madame Alexander came here…she came here…and it was somewhat like a celebrity coming to the house… she had furs and suits…

Lynn: How old would you say you were then?

Oh I can’t remember…I used to stay her at Easter time and Christmas time for a few days…probably 1950’s

But  anyways, as I said, I can’t envision Madame Alexander going up into the attic, but apparently my grandfather showed her this spinning wheel I don’t even know how the conversation started that it even existed,  but he told her about it and she liked it and wanted it and he gave it to her. Now I don’t know how she could take it out of the house without my grandmother knowing, but he gave it to her and my grandmother was just beside herself and said you have to get it back.  My grandmother was one for giving someone the cold shoulder and making life pretty miserable and my mother was the go between to make things better but the spinning wheel never came back.  I think it cost him a fur…

I think she got a fur out of that one.

Lynn:  What did he think about all the attention the media paid to him at the time?

Publicity photo of Lipfert sculpting a doll’s head

 Linda I told you he was asked to be interviewed by Edward R. Morrow when he was first  doing public television…when he first got started he wanted to interview my grandfather and he wouldn’t do it.  The family was biting at the bit, but he was afraid because he had a bit of an accent and it was the times…he was not a…I mean he was OK in the company of friends… he would tell jokes you know…he was very …he wasn’t a shy man…

LYNN:  But he wasn’t out looking for the attention.

Linda  No, no not looking.

Lynn: Did he feel he was successful? I am getting the undercurrent that he was kind of surprised that there was this much attention paid to him.

Linda:  His philosophy was money was to be enjoyed…you work hard and enjoy what you get and in that respect…they never had a maid in the house…they were  nobody to do the yard work…he mowed the lawn, he trimmed the hedges there were very much old world in their thinking.  He was happy.

Lynn: Did he think he was doing something special for children , or did he feel this was just a job?

Linda No, it wasn’t just a job…he enjoyed what he was doing.  If he had his choice he would have liked to be a designer of figurines…(Linda: shows Lynn the last figurine she has)  He liked porcelain sculpting.

Lynn:  How did the rest of the family feel about his work and success?

My father and my grandfather were two different animals.  My father was a tool and die maker and my grandmother… she always tells the tale of when they were back in Germany  and it was Easter and she had him dressed up in a white sailor suit and she found him in the pig stye.  He was a grease monkey when he was a teenager…you know…always under the car…fixing the car and I guess …my grandfather always wore…you know he always had a tye…a wool shirt…he was meticulous with the white shirt…always wore a white shirt…sent it to the Chinese laundry and he was meticulous that way…did not necessarily want to wear a suit, but when he went to work he dressed and he had an apron.

Lynn:  Do you have brothers or sisters?

Linda: I have a brother out in Colorado and a sister.

Lynn: How did they feel about your grandfather?

Linda : It’s  funny because my brother was the artistic one, so it was my father’s  idea that he was going to send my brother over here when  he was a teenager now I would have to ask my brother when  at least when he was in tenth grade  kind of  apprentice him….grandpa was going to teach him how to sculpt  Ha!  My grandfather had him mix things, you know, but it wasn’t what my brother wanted to do so he wound up having him hanging out the window, painting the house…it did not last that long because it just was not a good idea…but it was my father’s idea that his grandfather was going to teach him how to be an artist.

My sister was much younger…I think she was a little afraid of my grandfather

But for me he would play cards with us, tell us good stories, take us to the park … I was probably closer to him than the other two.

Linda I remember both grandparents with fondness for what they taught me and how they valued me.  It continues to amaze me that my grandfather practiced his craft until he was 80 and likewise my grandmother knit socks for my father until he died. I live in a house filled with very vibrant memories, to that end I wish that more people could have known the grandfather who sculpted dolls for generations past and present.

Bernard Lifpert died in his Westbury home on January 6, 1974.

 

© April 2012 Lynn Nalven

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In Case You Haven’t Heard!

There is so much happening in the doll making and collecting world that it is hard to keep with it all!  Reading magazines and checking the doll collectors’ and manufacturers’ sites take time and sometimes we,  or should I say I, fall behind.  So for my first blog under this category I am going to try to summarize some of the more noteworthy doll news items so far this 2012 year!

  • Two major doll magazines, DOLLS and DOLL READER merged in Februrary of this year under the parent company Jones Publishing.  The new magazine will be published monthly with a special focus  issue every quarter appearing as DOLLS Presents: Haute Doll, entirely devoted to high-fashion and ball-jointed dolls . An FAQ is posted on the DOLLS website, www.dollsmagazine.com  to answer questions about the merger.
  • Mattel has decided to respond to a successful Facebook campaign which called for the production of a “bald Barbie.”   This “Barbie Friend” will be manufactured and distributed to children who have lost their hair because of cancer or other illnesses. Planned for 2013, the dolls will not be sold in retail stores, but distributed directly to hospitals and alopecia foundations.   Hats, scarves and other fashion accessories will be provided to provide girls with a traditional fashion play experience.

  • Robert Tonner introduced his City Girls at the 2012 Toy Fair in New York City.  The City Girls™ characters are college grads who are just starting out…”all ready to take on the world and follow their dreams.”  Dolls are 16” and apparently will be priced for younger and more frugal collectors.

List of My Articles

I would like to open this blog category with a bibliography of the articles I have written for Doll Collector (formerly The Contemporary Doll Collector.)  Occasionally I will include excerpts from my articles which I think may be of interest to other bloggers.  If you have any questions about these and other topics, please leave a comment!

Dolls in Literature November 2003 Classic & current literary dolls

GI Joe July 2004  40 Years of Adventure

Monsters, Fiends & Villains November 2004  Those characters we love to hate

A Revolution of 14R Dolls January 2005 Vintage fashions dolls of the 1950’s &        1960’s

Make-up & Styling Head Dolls July 2005 Phenomenon of styling continues to be       Popular

Fashion Dolls Part I September 2005 Designers of the 1920’s through the 1960’s

Fashion Dolls  Part II November 2005 Designers from the 1990’s to the present

18 Inches: Just Right May 2006  18 Inch modern dolls are the new hype

Collecting Primitive and Rag Dolls March 2007 Rag dolls are coming back with a      new look!

Moving Forward with Fashion Dolls November 2007 Fashion dolls have had many       makeover over the years, including increased articulation and customizing.

Louise Goldsborough’s Fantasy Costume Designs May 2008 Ballet was a base          for Louise’s whimsical figures

Debbee Thibault’s American Collectibles July 2009 Art and practicality meld in the        hands of a doll artisan

“Hoarding” Dolls  March 2011 I once was a doll hoarder, but now I’m saved!

Decades of Dolls Part I May 2011 Dolls from the 1930’s to the 1940’s

Decades of Dolls Part II July 2011 1950’s thru 1970’s

Decades of Dolls Part III  September 2011 1980’s to 2000

The Popularity of the Doll Trunk November 2011  Toy & doll trunks from the     1800’s to the present

Lorraine Alippe’s 12 Fashion Lady Mannequins March 2012  Melding history   with doll artistry

Conversations with Linda Lipfert  White, Granddaughter of Bernard Lipfert       May 2012 The life and times of a famous doll designer

Watch for my upcoming article on Organizing a Doll Studio.

For full copies of the articles and all the pictures included, you can order back issues from the  Scott Publications website www.scottpublications.com .

 

Doll Shows & Sales

Listed below are shows, sales, luncheons and a few auctions within the tri-state area accessible for doll lovers from the Catskill region.  Doll magazines and the web include listings nationwide.

  • April 7 , 2012 Westampton, NJ. Doll Auction. 700 Highland Avenue. Sweetbriar Auctions. 410-275-2094. www.SweetbriarAuctions.com.
  •  April 14, 2012 10am – 3pm Mid York Annual Doll Show & Sale Community Room, Fire Station #2   148 Sanders Creek Pkwy   East Syracuse, NY  13057  Contact: Janet Hill (315) 698-4501 oldolls1@hotmail.com
  • April 15, 2012 10am-4pm Doll Study Club of Long Island 32nd Annual Show   Temple Emanu-el   123 Merrick Ave.   East Meadow, NY  11554    Antique and collectible dolls and bears. Contact: Muriel (516) 481-1745 mclaire5@juno.com
  • April 15, 2012  Youngwood, PA. 31st Annual Doll & Toy Show. Youngwood Fire Hall. Laurel Highlands Doll Club. Penny. 724-832-0282. fette12@comcast.net.
  • April 21, 2012 Jamesburg, NJ. Young at Heart Luncheon, Forsgate Country Club.  Registrations required.  Contact: Linda McGovern, 732-718-6617.
  •  April 28, 2012 12 Noon-5:00PM 75th Anniversary luncheon  Terrace on the Park   52-11 111th St.   Flushing Meadows Park, NY, NY  11368 National Doll & Toy Collectors Club of New York City 75th Anniversary Gala luncheon to benefit Starlight Children’s Foundation. Cost $195 includes luncheon and limited edition souvenir doll by Robert Tonner.  Contact Susan nationaldollclub@yahoo.com  www.NationalDollClub.org
    • April 28, 2012 10am-3pm Henrietta Doll Lovers 22nd Annual Show & Sale Church of the Good Shepherd Gym/Hall   3318 East Henrietta Rd (Rte 15 A)   Henrietta , NY  14467    HDLC 22nd Annual Show & Sale  Dottie Contact:  (585) 889-2015 odailey622@aol.com
    •  May 3-5, 2012 7:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.Artist Doll & Teddy Bear Convention Ramada Philadelphia Airport Hotel   76 Industrial Highway,   Essington, PA  19029  150 artist sales tables, 6 buffet meals, 3 receptions, all day refreshments, 3 hours early access to sale, workshops, presentations, panels, demos, book signing & sale, artist market place, discount coupon raffle, one-of-a-kind doll & teddy bear sale & judging, new artist mentoring, free sales table for artists  Contact Terry Quinlan  (805) 687-8901 terry@quinlanmuseum.com  www.quinlanmuseum.com/convention
    • May 5, 2012 Nazareth, PA. Doll Auction. 330 W. Moorestown Road. Dotta Auction Co., Inc. 610-759-7389. (F) 610-759-3992. www.dottaauction.com.
    • May 6, 2012 10 am – 4 pm Parade of Dolls, Bears & Toys Show & Sale   Forks Community Center   500 Zucksville Rd.   Easton, PA  18040   32nd Annual Parade of Dolls, Bears & Toys Show & Sale. Adults $3; Children (under 12) $1. Antique, Modern, Collectable, Artist Dolls, Bears, Toys & Doll Related Items. Doll Hospital Available. Doll appraisals by Dorothy Hunt, $2 per doll. Benefits Forks of the Delaware Doll Club and the Forks Township Community Center. Info Loretta 908-454-1853, or http://www.forksdollclub.webs.com   Contact Joan Strong  (610) 262-2573 Jstrongdollmkr@aol.com  www.forksdollclub.webs.com
    • May 12, 2012 Batavia, NY. 51st Doll & Bear Show. The Clarion Hotel. Saturday’s Child. Martha Smith. 585-265-1226. 585-506-7948.
    • May 12, 2012 Denver, PA. Doll Auction. Morphy Auctions. 717-335-3435 (F) 717-336-7115. morphy@morphyauctions.com.
    •  May 19, 2012 Westampton, NJ. Collection of Roberta’s Doll House Auction. Crescent Shrine Center. Sweetbriar Auctions. 410-275-2094. www.SweetbriarAuctions.com
    • May 20, 2012 New Hope, PA  New Hope Doll Show, Eagle Fire Hall, 46 N. Sugan Rd.  Contact: Mark Lehmann 215-657-2477
    • June 3, 2012 12 noon-3 p.m. “Too Many Hats” Luncheon & Sale, Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA   Featuring Maggie Iacona Dolls $395 for full day events with souvenir doll; $75 for luncheon and sale.  Download registration form at maggiemadedolls.com
    • June 16, 202 Grantville, PA Central Penn Doll Club  Presents Patriot Days and Dollies. Holiday Inn Harrisburg/Hershey. Registration required.  Contact: dottig@dollsfromdottig.com

If you have a doll show or sale you would like to announce, please include in comments.

New to Making Porcelain Dolls?

Starting out hand crafting porcelain dolls can be a daunting prospect.  There’s lots of preparation required,  lots of materials, ie. molds and slip and china paints…lots of tools i.e. small knives, cleaning tools and pads, specialized paint brushes, pre-manufactured bodies or body parts and most importantly a kiln.  Doll makers new to crafting porcelain dolls would be well advised to find a workshop or a person in the area who would be willing to guide the doll maker thru the various stages of porcelain doll creation.

Unfortunately, a lot of doll makers who used to sponsor workshops and supplied most of the materials and the kiln have closed their shops.  On the other hand, the Internet is not only a great source of information, but supplies as well.

Porcelain heads arms and legs, the most common parts of the majority of porcelain dolls can be purchased on any number of web sites. SFGW parts, or soft fired greenware can be purchased individually.  Unpainted hard fired doll parts, or blanks, are also available.  Even fully painted heads ready for assembling can be found through select doll sites.

On line videos are helpful for gaining familiarity with the process of pouring slip and firing porcelain doll parts, but working with experienced doll makers is the best.  (check “making porcelain dolls” on YouTube.com)

Starting out with just heads that can be attached to manufactured bodies is a good idea.  This way you won’t have to worry about making limbs and torsos!

If you have some specific questions regarding any stage of making a porcelain doll, please feel free to contact me.  Please leave your email address so I can contact you directly. 

Pictured here are six SFGW (soft fired greenware) millette & Bleuette doll heads.  They need to be “cleaned” and hard fired before being china painted and attached to full wood or composition bodies.

Completed dolls: millette on left and Bleuette on right. 

Catskill Mountain Doll Club~Background

Logo of the Catskill Mountain Doll Club

Background

The Catskill Mountain Doll Club was chartered in September 1989 and has for the past 23 years been a source of information and access to doll lovers of all ages in the Catskill Region.

The Catskill Mountain Doll Club actually started in 1988 with its first ever doll show and sale.  Several of its charter members are still active in the Club including its current president  Marilyn Laufer.  The Club has 10 members and what the club lacks in numbers is more than compensated by the spirit and industry of its members.

The CMDC meets the fourth Thursday of each month  (excluding January and February) in Liberty, NY.  After the business of the Club is concluded, members and guests enjoy a program which includes speakers or projects related to dolls and collectible bears. Members present their own collections or speakers are invited to present a particular kind of doll.

CMDC’s 20th Anniversary

In the fall of 2009, the Catskill Mountain Doll Club celebrated its 20th Anniversary by creating a public exhibit of dolls from the members’ collections.  Hosted by the Liberty Museum and Arts Center in Liberty, NY  For the Love of Dolls included some of the most iconic and popular dolls throughout the 20th, and into the 21st centuries. From rag dolls to porcelain dolls, from Amish to Eskimo, club members displayed their best loved dolls.

Community Service  

In service to the community, the Club has purchased and donated doll and bear books to local libraries, and has collected and donated dolls and bears to area non-profit organizations during the winter holidays, including handmade teddy bears for children who are being discharged from local hospitals.   Members have made presentations, including slide shows,  for other organizations including schools, libraries, nursing homes and other educational programs, such as the 4H.  For the past three years Club members have donated cartons full of dolls and bears to Safe Passage, a local organization serving battered women and their children.

Members of the Catskill Mountain Doll Club paid a visit to the Roscoe Residential Healthcare Facility in Roscoe, NY, in May of 2009  and brought some of their favorite childhood dolls to show  the residents.  Shown here are club members , Theresa Boucher (l.) and Diane Mues.

Here demonstrating an interactive toy dog to the residents is Marilyn Laufer, a charter member of the Catskill Mountain Doll Club and current president. 

Current Activities

Members of the Club are currently preparing a video on making porcelain dolls.  Filmed by Theresa Boucher, the film hopes to highlight methods used to cast, fire and paint porcelain doll heads.

Contact Information

Current Officers:  Marilyn Laufer, President,  Grace Rivera, Vice President;  Lynn Nalven, Secretary and Janet LeRoy, Treasurer.

Contact Telephone:  Marilyn Laufer (845) 292-6628 or Lynn Nalven (845) 482-3561 or write to:

Catskill Mountain Doll Club

P.O. Box 73

White Sulphur Springs, NY 12787

 

In my next posting, I will be including pictures and information about the Catskill Mountains most memorable shows!

My Five Top Rules for Doll Making

Over the years I have learned many lessons…and have made many mistakes.  So to open this category  I would like to pass on my five top rules for doll making:

1)    Cut it a little larger, longer, bigger…it can always  be cut down

This rule probably could be applied to all kinds of crafts, but is especially effective when making clothes for dolls.  The only time I find it will not work is when patterning the bodices for dolls…the shoulder and neckline is proportional and just adding to the seam lines may throw the proportions off.  But for hemlines, sleeve lengths and widths, arms holes, side seams and waist measurements, this rule works well!

2)    Eyeball it!

You know that old expression carpenters have…measure twice…cut once.  I would insert eyeball it!  Trust your sense of proportion!  Once I was making a doll hat and measured the circumference of the doll’s head for the crown.  When I put the measurement to paper and fabric, I thought it looked too large.  Indeed, I was using a plastic tape measure from which, somehow, almost two inches got chewed off!  I know I said in my first rule to cut it larger, but this would have been really out of proportion!

The cut out fabric for this bonnet looked way too large!  I discovered that I was measuring the head with a tape measured from which almost two inches was cut off!  (Watch for later posting for directions on how to make this bonnet. )

 The first markings for the crown of this bonnet looked way too large!  I discovered that I was measuring the head with a tape measure from which almost two inches was cut off!  (Watch for later posting for directions on how to make this easy and quick bonnet.)

       3) Use the right tool

If directions call for a screwdriver, don’t use a nail file…if for a chisel, don’t use a screwdriver.  Sometimes tools can be expensive, especially those specialty tools for doll making.   But using the wrong tool can often end up in a botched job… and wasted materials!  Spend that little extra and save money in the long run.

4)Use the right glue

There are so many kinds of glues on the market these days…epoxies, resins, silicones and more. Wikipedia lists over 40 kinds!  When considering the kind glue for your project, check out the holding power, drying speed, color or clarity and ease of clean up.  While cleaning up casein based glues like Elmer’s glue© is easy , its holding power is inadequate for ceramics.  Epoxy glues work well for ceramics, but are messy. A whole article can and have been written about various kinds of glues.  Check out the DIY site!  And if you haven’t heard of it yet, Fabri-tac by Beacon© is a great substitute for a hot glue gun.

5)Mull it over!

If you run into a sticky problem that you just can’t  solve, put the project down and leave it for a while…maybe even overnight.  If you let your mind mull the problem or issue over, a solution may come to mind…or you will find a solution in an unexpected place.  Talk to other doll  makers…look on the Internet…sleep on it!

Well those are my first five rules for successful doll making. There are others which I may add later on, but these are the biggies!

New Blog Site for all Doll Lovers

This blog site is dedicated to the renaissance of the doll, both as an expression of creativity and as a valuable object…worthy of being collected.   The site will include both pictures and text and hopefully some interesting tips for doll makers and  stories about dolls and their owners.

After 22 years of making and collecting dolls, I have learned a few tricks and would love to pass them along to both long time and new aspiring creators and  collectors.  In turn, I hope doll makers and collectors will share their thoughts, tips and stories with me and readers of these blogs.

My Magazine Articles

For the past six years I have been freelance writing for DOLL COLLECTOR, Scott Publications.  This magazine used to be called CONTEMPORARY DOLL COLLECTOR.   It is a wonderful, nationally distributed  magazine with a fantastic staff of writers and layout artists.  From time to time, I will be posting all or parts of my articles here in hopes that doll lovers will check out this great and informative magazine.