As dollmaker Judy Pollard prepares for the new year, she knows her calendar has to include highlighted dates for inspirational challenges. The imaginative artist made her reputation in the world of fantasy characters. Pollard has never met a fairy or pixie or elf that she hasn’t wanted to sculpt.
A fan of mystical literature, Pollard is comfortable with creations that are magical. Best of all, she is able to translate their otherworldly nature into our own world. She sees holidays and special occasions as ways to introduce her fairies into ordinary situations. In her make-believe universe, her fairy girls and boys meet, fall in love, and get married. When February 14 rolls around, they give their hearts, or Valentines, to one another. Pollard’s creations are like catnip to her collectors. They love to see how she has fashioned new dolls, in new costumes, with new vignettes.
Initially, Pollard began as a seamstress. She adored making clothing for dolls. In 2010, nearly a decade ago, she sculpted her first fairy doll. It was just what she had been craving: “I am an introvert by nature. I don’t tend to post a lot on social media. I do feel overwhelmed and thankful when a collector reaches out with a loving comment. It truly makes my day or week.”
The Massachusetts resident is never afraid to begin a new artistic path. In 2018, she started her first BJD line. It presented a new way to think about the process and a different way to proceed. It invigorated Pollard’s creative soul.
“I’ve learned that to be a doll artist means a lot of hours given, but it’s hours of true love. I am spending time creating, which is what I love to do,” she shared. “That is why the collector comments are so important to me. It just reiterates the feeling of being truly blessed, and doing what I love. I am so happy that I am able to touch someone in a positive way. I am glad that maybe I’ve made their day a little brighter.”
For 2020, Pollard is circling her calendar to try to save the date for more BJD immersions. Her BJD character Lulu was immensely popular and she wants to build on that success. “I’d love to introduce a new friend for Lulu in 2020. Actually, I’d love to make a few friends to join her,” Pollard admitted.
Since she is a newbie in the BJD field, she has measured her growth so far. Pollard humbly describes herself as “figuring things out as I go along, and then surprising myself.” Self-taught, experimental, and self-challenging, she hopes that maybe one day she can share her experiences. “In the future, I’d love to come up with kits for aspiring doll artists. It would really make me happy to do that.”
The artist’s Lulu character towers over her fairy brethren. Pollard’s pixies pack a petite punch; they’re 3.5 and 5.5 inches on average. Lulu is a much taller 11 inches. If she stands among them, it’s like a human girl stumbling upon a minuscule, tucked-away world. What a charming vision!
Pollard is the curator of her warm, whimsical world, which includes fairies and a real-life little girl. There is no segregation or separation in her studio. The tiny slumbering fairy babies nestle gently next to their larger counterparts. Lulu, the human child, resides nearby, waiting for her own special playmate.
With Christmas spirit swirling around all of us, Judy Pollard is aware of giving and gifting. When asked whom she would give a doll to, she has a fantastic, heartfelt reply. “I would give it to someone who needs a little girl in their life,” she answered. “Sometimes, a small jester of a doll is what they may need to take pause on whatever challenges they are feeling. A doll’s gesture can make all the difference.”
In fact, Pollard responds, the gift of a doll can change a person’s life for the better. It is a way to bring nostalgia and sentimentality into their home. “A doll gives them the chance, the moment, to feel their inner-child come out to play.” Isn’t that the perfect invitation for doll collectors everywhere this holiday season?