Her sparkling blue eyes
lit up her unlined face as she described how it felt to
embark on her own adventure after completing her first loving
task, raising her two sons, ages 21 and 26.
her own prize-winning dolls has become her adventure.
wasn't easy learning how to mold the Plasticine into doll
shapes and create the features and the clothes to complete
first time I tried to use my kiln, the mold exploded inside
it," she said.
almost quit. But I had already decided I wanted to succeed.
So every time I had a setback, I'd just sit back and regroup.
I was a quitter before."
Hatfield Township resident fell into dollmaking while looking
into the value of some of her old dolls. During her research,
became interested in doll artists of the 19th century.
was interesting how they picked themselves up from their
own talents," she said. "Some of them were widows, raising
children themselves. It kind of consumed me."
a shy voice that sings with lingering accent of her native
Louisiana, her enthusiasm was more like that of a 25-year-old
than a woman of 52.
has pursued art throughout her life. She has sold paintings
and sculpted, but she never before pursued a business.
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enjoys combining sculpting, design and sewing, all of which
are required for her dolls.
love working out problems, with the shoes, putting the bodies
together," she said. "Everything that I do has a problem.
I like them to end up looking natural."
she does period dolls, she researches the era to ensure
that the dolls are authentic.
prizewinner is an 1853 fashion doll, another an 1895 fashion
doll with a Gibson Girl hairstyle taken from the early 1900s.
dolls re-create styles in 1900, 1917 and the '40s.
scavenges flea markets for materials such as wigs and jewelry.
works in her basement. Her sewing machines, kiln, work tables
bedecked with casts and molds stand side-by-side with a
ping-pong table and washer and dryer.
hopes to design a doll for a big company, a doll that will
look like a real person, not some idealized version.
looks for models in children who have distinguishing features.
can't explain the kind of face," she said. "I just know
it when I see it."
may not always confine herself to using children as her
models, but for now they're her favorites.
are sincere, honest," she said. "Whatever they are, that's