Last Friday night I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve – “The doll show is tomorrow!” I kept thinking excitedly and imagining all the treasures I would find. Despite years of avid doll collecting, I had never attended a doll show and I had never heard of groups like the Atlanta Doll Collectors who meet on the third Saturday of every month at the Buckhead Library in Atlanta to share their love of Barbie and other collectible dolls. I had never encountered other adults who would proclaim proudly “Yes, I still play with dolls” so the best thing I found at the Atlanta Doll Collectors doll show was a community of people who share my love of dolls. I also got the chance to meet my doll blogging “big sister,” Vanessa Morrison of Van’s Doll Treasures, who radiates joy in living everywhere she goes.
Yet, more than the smiling, friendly faces I encountered or the profoundly satisfying purchases I made (which included two Liv bodies at $3 a piece) the doll show ultimately offered a kind of spiritual nourishment because it gave me the opportunity to view a wide variety of art dolls and to talk with their creators. This week I will be profiling seven doll artists whose works encourage viewers to “play the games of their instincts” and show them how to “become myself once more/ myself again.”
“I didn’t find any dolls that looked like my daughter so I decided to make my own.”
The self-taught artist behind The KenJa Company started with a Raggedy Ann pattern twenty-eight years ago when her daughter was three. She was not happy with this design, however, and eventually developed her own. She still sets every stitch in her dolls’ bodies by hand. She can do three of her popular 15” ballerina dolls in a week, but larger dolls take more time.
She cuts pieces of felt for the eyes and other facial features to ensure that no small pieces will come off in little hands and become choking hazards. The KenJa Company offers three lines of dolls – My BFF, My Ballerina Princess, and topsy turvy two-headed dolls in the My Little TTF line.
Each doll is unique and comes with a certificate of authenticity, but Build Your Own models can also be customized in a variety of skin tones to represent all ethnicities.
If you missed your BFF at the doll show, you can order on-line at:
The KenJa Company