I told Beverly about how her Heidi doll reminded me of my sister living in Washington. I found out that Beverly also lives in Washington. She named some of her dolls on display after friends and characters in children's books.
She gave me a book mark with the Serenity Prayer that I cherish.
We reconnected on the phone last week and we talked more about how she started making dolls. It turns out that Beverly relied on God to lead her to the people and places she needed to be in order to learn the art of making dolls. She also told me a story about God at work in her life through one very special doll.
One day I was out shopping and saw these beautiful handcrafted dolls in a boutique. I wanted to learn how to make those dolls. The shop owner connected me with Ellen, a local porcelain doll artist that made those dolls. Ellen used liquid porcelain poured in to molds. She taught me how to clean, fire, paint, and make the clothes for dolls made with molds. After a few months, Ellen turned me over to her teacher, Arlene. Both doll artists used molds created by other artists.
I really wanted to sculpt my own faces instead of using molds. I prayed about this for a while. I was visiting a local art museum and someone working at the museum told me about a clay doll maker. I got in touch with her and she basically gave me instructions. This was her "recipe" that I used:
Take aluminum foil and roll it into the shape of a skull.
Make two dents in the foil for eyes. Set eyes into the dents.
Take a brick of clay and a sculpting tool and mold it around the foil.
I tried it and was hooked right away on sculpting dolls. This person also told me about Jack Johnston, a sculpting instructor offering workshops around the world.
In 2005, I took beginner doll sculpting classes with Jack Johnston in Vancouver, Canada. I prayed for God's direction as I was taking the beginner class. Would I be good enough to be invited to participate in advanced classes? My prayers were answered as I did get invited to attend the advanced classes. I entered the Professional Class National Competition hoping to win the scholarship to attend the professional level doll classes. I had created a mother holding a toddler on her lap. She won 2nd place. I receive the half scholarship for the professional course. I joined the Doll Guild in 2006 after I completed the professional course.
I took a break from making dolls and left the Doll Guild for a while for personal and professional reasons. I did some traveling with my family and some mission work.
During the break I visited New Zealand and took the Lord of the Rings andWeta Tour. I was so impressed with the movie props and the sculpted faces on shelves. I actually held a sculpture of Gandalf's nose.
I also admired Margaret Keene paintings of the big eyed children. These experiences and some others were tugging at my heart to get back to making dolls and start illustrating children's books.
I rejoined the Doll Guild, started making dolls and exhibiting at shows. I recently submitted a painting and doll for a juried show at a local art museum. I'm hoping my creations will be accepted in that show.
Several years ago, I went to Israel. I was part of a mission team working with the poor. I felt like I was supposed to take one of the resin dolls that I made on this trip because I was supposed to give my doll to someone.
I kept praying about who I should give this doll to while I was on the trip. Toward the end of the trip, we took some donated toiletries to a holocaust survivors home for the elderly.
I met a woman named Shula. She had been a child during World War 2 and had survived being in a concentration camp. I realized as we talked that Shula's experience had robbed her of her childhood.
Shula wanted to know what I did in the United States. I told her that I made dolls. She asked me to please send her a doll when I returned home. I knew at that moment that Shula was the person that needed my doll. She was overjoyed to receive my doll the next day.
I received so much more from that experience. I felt so blessed to have met Shula and have the opportunity to give her my doll.