As a small girl, I spent my time roaming around my grandparent’s home which was full to the brim with old, beautiful things, including my grandma’s antique doll collection. Many children, including most of my friends growing up, were terrified of the small, painted faces of the little doll-ladies. I, on the other hand, loved the little painted details and the frilly, ornate dresses. And, most of all, I loved the story each doll seemed to tell about where she’d been and where she was headed, all dressed up and ready to go.
I have a couple very sweet and very fancy little dolls from my grandma which I keep as heirlooms, but I figured that the art of handcrafting dolls was all but extinct in modern times.
Recently, on one of my Etsy rambles, I came across a gal, ValeriaDalmon, who makes dolls with the tiniest, most intricate details.
They are not dolls meant for children, like many on Etsy. They are meant for the grown person who still appreciates the secretive life a doll lives while the humans are away. The art doll above can be commissioned with a removable lion or rabbit head, or both. I love that the costume is a throw-back to the underclothes of antique dolls. For a peek behind the scenes in Ms. Damon’s studio, visit her blog.
Lucia Friedericy of FriedericyDolls on Etsy captures whimsical fairyland inhabitants and characters of the past with an unmistakably modern aesthetic, while still indulging her admirer’s taste for ornate costumes designed in rich, fairy tale-appropriate fabrics. This particular Snow White doll is no longer available but you can check out her Etsy shop where you will find Shakespeare and the White Rabbit waiting to dazzle you.
The third and final doll artist to make my list of Etsy favorites is Lora Soling from LoraSolingHandmade. Ms. Soling states in her artist bio, “Surrounded by old advertising art and antique wooden chests, clocks that tick-tocked, windup toys and mechanical penny banks, the patina of age came to be normal and desirable to my eye.” Having been raised around relics of the past, her love of the fine details common in antique dolls and other artifacts really shines through. Each of her dolls is meticulously dressed, giving one the feeling that she has entered a time long ago, when dolls were made by skilled craftspeople and a tiny doll dress received just as much attention in creation as that of a grown woman. For a look at more of her work, visit her artist website here.