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Heidi Plusczok’s career blends creativity, love
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos courtesy of Plusczok Puppen

Thanksgiving week was a rollicking and frolicking one for me. In addition to my own children, I invited my little niece and nephew to come back home with us after Turkey Day, where we pretty much destroyed the myth that tryptophan makes you tired. (That's the amino acid that is found in turkey and supposedly accounts for Uncle Joe immediately snoozing after the last drumstick is devoured.)

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Making Goodwill Come Alive: Amy van Boxel’s dolls are illuminating
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos courtesy of Amy van Boxel

Now that we are officially in the upswing of the holiday season — radio stations are sprinkling Christmas tunes into their playlists — we all have certain songs that we look forward to hearing more than others. I admit I like all the old familiar standards — the Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, and Doris Day crooners can make me tear up as I listen to them crisply enunciate the themes. (The lyrics from "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" particularly slay me: "Through the years, we all will be together — if the Fates allow . . . ") It's a rare Noel opus that talks so beautifully and poignantly about future celebrations where revelers may no longer be around to attend. It makes you appreciate every day with one another, doesn't it?

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Making Goodwill Come Alive: Amy van Boxel’s dolls are illuminating
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos courtesy of Amy van Boxel

Now that we are officially in the upswing of the holiday season — radio stations are sprinkling Christmas tunes into their playlists — we all have certain songs that we look forward to hearing more than others. I admit I like all the old familiar standards — the Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, and Doris Day crooners can make me tear up as I listen to them crisply enunciate the themes. (The lyrics from "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" particularly slay me: "Through the years, we all will be together — if the Fates allow . . . ") It's a rare Noel opus that talks so beautifully and poignantly about future celebrations where revelers may no longer be around to attend. It makes you appreciate every day with one another, doesn't it?

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Fanciful Flurry: Elizabeth Cooper’s dolls are heart-melting little snowflakes!
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos courtesy of Cooper Dolls

Yes, I know it is still November, and Christmas is MORE than a month away, but if you're anything like me, you are desperate for that jolt of holiday bliss right about now. The musical "Mame" birthed lots of popular songs, but it also debuted a caroling standard — a tune that gets played on the radio every Thanksgiving weekend and beyond.

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Saluting the Zawieruszynskis: Learning the A to Z’s of Doll Artistry
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos courtesy of Henry & Zofia Zawieruszynski

I've worked in the doll industry for a long time now, and my path has intersected with many of the same people time and time again. That's one of the heartening things about being in a niche profession for more than a decade. (Actually, two decades now — sheesh!!!!) While I am always joyful to see new blood coming into the doll world, it also pleases me endlessly when I get to chat with and spotlight familiar names and faces. Such is the case when I've been able to interview and break news about the always evolving, always impressive Zawieruszynskis.

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Super Women as Super Dolls: It’s Elementary, My Dear Watson, with IAmElemental Figures
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos courtesy of IAmElemental

In past postings, I've honored the female pioneers who have firmly established doll creating as an art form. The Madame Alexanders and Lencis of the world deserve all the kudos that they have received because they elevated what is often dismissed as a "toy" or "plaything" to a heightened level of beauty and realism. Today's post takes a look at a modern twist on an empowered woman and, perhaps most important, her dolls that are both empowering and powerfully alluring. I'm talking about Julie Kerwin, who is an author, pop culture critic, music maven, and mentor to up-and-coming young women. Whether she is advising a nascent band on how to compose, present, and market their albums — or raising funds for a charity that is near and dear to her heart — Kerwin is a force that must be reckoned with.

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Thrills & Chills: Timid folks might be afraid to read this post. Are you?
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos courtesy of Mezco Toyz and Living Dead Dolls

Sigmund Freud seemed to have had a theory for everything, didn't he? (Check out your Psych 101 textbook on the symbolism of cigars and bananas and tunnel entrances, for goodness' sake!) The father of modern psychoanalysis also had a very solid impression of dolls. According to the good doctor, dolls were potential nightmare-makers because they played around with people's notions of life and death.

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Tender Loving Care: Mayra Garza sculpts with an abundance of faith, hope, and love
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos courtesy of Mayra Garza

Babies are very much on the blog readers' minds these days. My recent postings on North American artists who excel at capturing the innocence and wholesomeness of infants have garnered a lot of great comments and e-mails. It's my sincere pleasure, then, to dig into my archives and reintroduce readers to the talented Mexican doll artist Mayra Garza. . It's very satisfying to showcase many of the photos that didn't make it into the original feature, due to space consideration.

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