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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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Monsters United: Lady Gaga makes her Monster High debut as Zomby Gaga
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos courtesy of Mattel

Whispered about at Toy Fair in February 2016, the Lady Gaga and Monster High connection was teased to reporters with a simple silhouette of a doll. The outlines of a ponytailed, curved figure was etched onto the Mattel showroom walls. There was talk that the doll would be coming at a later date, but no firm arrival was leaked. Well, that later date is now here!

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Baby Bounce: From Oprah to your daughter, Andrea Arcello finds inspiration everywhere
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos Courtesy of Andrea Arcello

Andrea Arcello is known for her amazing, lifelike baby dolls. Even as I type the word "dolls" in relation to her creations, I feel a bit of worry and anxiety. Yes, on one level — my intellectual one — I realize these are dolls. Many are made of silicone, and some are produced from her vinyl doll kits. But, still, when I stare at their precious faces, and study their realistic poses and attitudes, I am convinced that I am seeing my own family baby portraits springing to life!

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Beautiful Dreamers: Looking Back at Some of Sherry Rawn’s Sleeping Cherubs
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Dreams are an odd thing, aren't they? For many folks, if they get a notion in their head, they feel they have to pursue it immediately. If they fail to respond in a certain, calculated number of hours, then that's it. Game over. Dream over.

For Canadian doll artist Sherry Rawn, her professional life proves that a dream never dies. Just as a person sleeps, dreams, and then wakes up refreshed, a dream can also slumber, undisturbed for months or years, and the suddenly get roused a decade later and be totally wide awake and raring to go!

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“So Long, Farewell” to Charmian Carr, forever known as Liesl von Trapp
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Do people seek immortality? It seems rather conceited, doesn't it? I mean, does anyone wake up one morning and announce, "I want to be remembered for eternity. That is my one and only goal." Seeking ever-lasting fame seems rather bizarre. There is no guarantee that any person will have his or her legacy enduring for decades, centuries, or millennium. That's why the life and now the death of Charmian Carr is so touching and humbling. Her name might not ring any bells, but if you start to hum a few bars from "[I Am] Sixteen, Going on Seventeen," her lovely and lively image will immediately float into your mind.

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Lorella Falconi pt. 2: Dolls that blend vintage purity, visionary splendor
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Photos courtesy of Lorella Falconi

Among cinephiles — a fancy-schmancy term for movie lovers — there is always debate about whether a sequel can live up to its prequel's quality. For film buffs, they always point to the "Godfather" trilogies. Some maintaining that number II was just as good, if not better, than the original that kicked off the franchise. (Everyone, however, agrees that III was a "dog." The cast was made an offer to re-assemble, but they should have refused!)

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