Originally from New York, I lived in the Boston area for many years, and spent most of my adult life in California. I now live in beautiful mid-coastal Maine with my husband Steve, who is a sculptor, and our 4 cats. I've been sewing since I was 13, and many of my various careers have been related to textiles, clothing or fashion.
Growing up in a family of collectors, I spent a fair amount of time poking around in antique shops and lived in a household that revered the past, aesthetically. Surrounded by old advertising art and antique wooden chests, clocks that tick-tocked, windup toys and mechanical penny banks, the patina of age came to be normal and desirable to my eye. My inspiration has always come from old things. The dolls I make stem from my admiration of old papier-mache and china head dolls. One of the things I love about many antique dolls is the clothing: the amount of attention and energy that's been lavished upon those miniature garments! Homemade doll's clothing has a special place in my heart: made for a child's doll by their mother or aunt, who were trained to sew as part of a lady's education.
I have a BFA in Printmaking from the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston, then studied patternmaking and fashion design in Boston and San Francisco. A floral designer for 17 years, I've worked, in addition, as a graphic artist and a patternmaker in the apparel industry. I've also had my own millinery studio, and a delightful, rewarding career as a teddy bear artist.
Here’s some general info about my dolls. They are made from papier mache clay and cloth. The clay is sculpted and allowed to dry. Then, painted with a number of layers of acrylic paint, aged by my own methods. Next, a minimum of four layers of varnish are applied. The cloth body, arms and legs are sewn and attached to the torso, arms and legs. The finished doll is very durable, but should be handled with care.
The next phase is dressing the dolls, and as may be apparent, that's my favorite part. All the clothing and jewelry you see has been made by none other than moi. I research period illustrations and and historical patterns before I decide how I want to dress each doll. I look through my collection of fabrics in order to choose just the right weight and color that will flatter each doll, and be appropriate for the type of miniature garment I'm aiming for. Preliminary patterns are drafted, muslins (test garments) made, fitted and altered many times before the pattern is corrected and the final garment is sewn. Although I study historical patterns extensively before deciding how to dress a doll, I don’t attempt to make a doll accurate to a particular era. They are simply meant be be evocative. Each doll takes at least two weeks from start to finish.
I am making molds of the dolls, but my casting method is intended for me to produce heads that will be made into individual, one of a kind dolls. Please do not request a reproduction of anything you see here: it won’t be possible.
I have the honor of being listed in the 2013 , 2014, 2015 and 2016 Directory of Traditional American Crafts. The list is published in the July/August edition of Early American Life .