Monday, May 16, 2011

My First Doll Show part 5

Lead Paint Prompts Mattel to Recall 967,000 Toys
In recent years, scares about lead contamination in toys manufactured in China have had a significant impact on dolldom.  Small artisans like the doll artists featured in this series of posts have had to contend with legislation that would have required testing for lead levels in each individual doll – an expense most could not possibly absorb.

The chemical processes involved in manufacturing plastic princesses are part of an industrial scourge that is poisoning the water and air in China at an alarming rate.  Meanwhile the sad fact remains that most of the chic fashions we buy for our dolls are made overseas by workers who are paid a pittance to do jobs that skilled workers in the U.S. would like to have.  (See Black Doll Collecting for an excellent post on American made dolls).

The joyous hours we spend in our dolly worlds are a welcome respite from the concerns of our lives, but “think globally, act locally” can also apply to our doll play.  Buying dolls from local artisans keeps our hard earned dollars in our own community, reduces the carbon footprint of our collections since the dolls haven’t crossed oceans and continents to reach us, and allows us to more fully enjoy our treasures by reducing the worry that the materials will poison our children or that some sister slaved in sweat shop conditions to subsidize our fun.

It was a pleasure to see so many local artisans represented at the Atlanta Doll Collectors’ annual doll show on May 7th and to talk with Cookie Patterson, who was impressively well-informed about the market for hand-crafted dolls.


P.inK – Cookie Patterson


With a BFA in Surface Design, it is not surprising that Cookie Patterson draws the inspiration for her dolls from the fabric itself.  She met Martha Dudley of Fancy Smancy in a quilting class and began creating dolls four years ago.  Like many of the other doll artists present at the show, she works on her doll projects in between other tasks.

It takes about two weeks to complete a doll in this piecemeal fashion, but Patterson enjoys the creative process and finds it is very relaxing.  She didn’t start with intent to sell, but would like to develop sturdier designs that would be suitable for children to play with.  Which is her current favorite?  “every last one!”

 À Bientôt


  1. I sure am glad you were there, because I missed so much. I think I totally missed this woman's table. It was so good to see all the new sistas making dolls. Back when I was doing the shows, there weren't as many doing the shows. The show on May 21st will be totally different. It will be interesting to get you take on that one. I am not sure that I will make it. No use torturing myself if I can't spend money. I was planning on bringing those 3 dolls to you. I will get them to you via mail or in person over the next couple of months.

  2. I know there were at least two other doll artists at the show whom I did not get a chance to interview. I hope I will see them at another show.