Home Voices of the Industry Editor's Blog Dolls Are Misunderstood
Dolls Are Misunderstood
Written by Carie Ferg   

When people ask me what I do for a living and I explain DOLLS magazine, non-collectors don’t get it. Their immediate assumption is either the magazine is about the type of playthings seen at big box stores … or at most, they imagine cheap and trinket-y porcelain dolls that can be found at dollar stores across the country. But they don’t realize that dolls are art.

In my mind, dollmakers are the most talented artists in the world. As I took in all the three-dimensional masterpieces at a show I recently attended, I was once again reminded of this sentiment. Think about it. Their talent is multi-faceted. Many doll artists not only sculpt, but also paint, costume, engineer and more. To be an artist who can successfully sing so many notes, is no small feat.

So it is ironic to me that beyond the niche doll-collecting audience, dolls aren’t really recognized as art by mainstream audiences. And I feel that art connoisseurs— patrons of paintings, glasswork, sculpture and more—are missing out on the greatest art of all … doll art. Perhaps as doll lovers, it is our responsibility to educate every chance we get to share the joy of what we all love to a larger audience, and in so doing, keep doll collecting alive and strong.

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I know what you mean. When people ask what I do for a living, and I reply I make fairy dolls. I'm sure they think I'm nuts. I normally get a look of shock then disbelief and the topic quickly changes to something else. I then get a slight feeling of embarrassment as if I should be doing a normal job instead. But I love that I'm different and if they want to think I'm crazy, I say let them.
I take pride in what I do, it can take me weeks to make one ooak doll but it's worth it. I bring joy to people by sharing my art and I wouldn't want to do anything else. I also feel privilaged to call other artists and doll lovers my friends, we truly are a nice bunch of people smilies/smiley.gif xx
Mary Gordon , July 16, 2010 | url
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I couldn't agree more with your article, Carie. Once the people see it is a doll, they have instant Barbie - play time association. But even behind a Barbie there is a sculptor, an artist who sprayed painted her, sewed her clothes and assembled the whole thing. Only once I started making dolls and figures myself, I can truly admit that dolls are art, and one of the most sophisticated forms of art, because it includes so many elaborative multimedia steps. I posted some of my doll images on artwanted.com. Not to mention that the ratings the dolls are getting are pitiful, today one anonymous, of course,” fellow-artist" is posting a feedback, "why are you even doing it, dolls are creepy". Well, it is too bad it has to come from the mouth of an artist, because I love doing it, and because dolls are one of the most beautiful things around us. I am also a full time teacher. At work, nobody understands or compliments my hobby artwork; even art teachers have nothing to say when I share my DOTY award with them. As a matter of fact, I am done sharing there, but I do talk to my students how exciting my projects are, and what it takes to do research, and put what is in your head into a 3D piece of art.
Anna Hardman , March 01, 2010 | url
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Yes, I liked your editorial. As a 43 year old doll collector I get funny responses when I tell people I collect dolls as a hobby. Sometimes I just get the quiet polite stare, sometimes a chuckle but sometimes when people come to my house and see my dolls they are suddenly understanding of dolls as art- I have every kind of doll all different- antique, modern and all price ranges. You have to change peoples view of dolls one person at a time and maybe encourage a new collector along the way!
Tina , February 12, 2010
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Huzzah, sister! I can't tell you how many times I've had people stop by my booth, and either freak out at the "high price for a toy", or actually try to play with a figure. Opposite ends of the same (uncomprehending) spectrum. One day I'll find a show that has attendees appreciative of OOAK Figures/Art Dolls...
Sculptor?!? , February 11, 2010 | url

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