My guest book
is not interactive - I'd be delighted if you would care to
me your comments and questions then I will respond and also add
them here - Thanks!
15th November 2011
As you know, we have been repairing and restoring for over ten years
now, and we wanted to share with you a couple of our more interesting
projects we have been involved in. A while ago we were contacted
by a man in Italy with a doll that needed complete restoration and
repair - we found out later, that the doll had belonged to Audrey
Hepburn. The man we had been dealing with was her son, and the doll
now travels the world as a part of "The Audrey Hepburn Experience"
which helps raise money for UNICEF. In talking to her son, he told
us that the doll (a delightful jester marotte) was particularly
important to him as it was the only one of her dolls that had survived
We were also commissioned to restore "Virgil" - one of
the original puppet/models from the Thunderbirds series, which was
very exciting, and our own private collection of dolls, which we
believe to be the biggest in Britain, and has appeared in "Whom
the Gods Would Destroy", and episode of "Lewis" (staring
Our web site has been very recently redesigned - do take a look.
Tina and Steve Watts
13 Windsor Road Thanington-without Canterbury Kent CT1 3UN - Phone
01227 479387 or mobile 07867 612631
Hi Tina - nice
to hear from you and the website is looking great!
7th February 2010
Just a brief update about Seeley's and their products: although
Seeleys as such have ceased trading, the company New York Doll Products,
Inc. have announced that manufacturing of the dollmaking products
formerly belonging to Seeley's/Ericson Fired Arts will begin again
in the very near future - with an expanded product line of moulds,
china paints, composition doll bodies and porcelain slip.
In the meantime, Ellie's Doll Workshop have successfully found
new sources of supply for many of the staples of porcelain doll
making that previously we obtained from Seeleys. For example, we
sell the Ultra Chic brand of porcelain slip from The Porcelain Place,
which has a proven track record and we have tested and found to
be excellent. This company have also developed water based painting
media and are just about to release a line of china paints especially
for doll makers (they have a history with china paints already).
We are able to supply most requirements and with a little compromise
and change will continue to do so. We still have stocks of many
Seeley items as we always felt the need to "buffer" between
Seeleys imported supplies and UK doll makers' needs.
We are happy to say that doll-making in our area is still a lively
business and hobby.
This year sees our Fifth Fun Doll Fair
on Sunday 30th May 2010 in the Kinson Community Centre
not far from our shop in Bournemouth.
If you have not visited our fair before it is a light-hearted day
for all involved. We have people available to give advice and to
stimulate ideas and inspiration as well as offer the opportunity
for you to to buy dolls and supplies. We hope that all types of
doll making and collecting will be represented on the day and that
there will be a range of items for sale to suit all tastes and pockets.
Refreshments will be available throughout the day. We will be running
a competition where we will have guest judges to decide best in
each of the following categories:-
Antique reproduction Original (any medium)
Modern reproduction Reborn/newborn
Of course, there will be a stall showing a selection of our stock
- but if you would like anything in particular, please call us before
hand. sales tables are also available for other vendors. If you
need any further information please contact
us for details whether you would like to have a sales table,
are entering dolls in competition, wish to have a display space,
or are coming to see what is going on in the world of dolls.
Mike and Lesley Edwards.
1526, Wimborne Road, Kinson, Bournemouth, Dorset,BH11 9AF
Phone/Fax no: 01202 572626
This sounds like good news, and I do hope to be able to make it
to see you at the Fifth Fun Doll Fair in May this year.
28th March 2008
Hi, Christina, Could you provide more information on the definition
of "Portrait doll - Head modelled on a known person, e.g. Lord Roberts
or Sara Penfold."
I found your web site when I googled my own name and Iím curious
about all the other Sara Penfolds that are out there and their histories.
Thanks, Sara Penfold
This glossary entry is about the definition of the term "portrait
dolls", and that they mean a doll made to look like a real person
- like a potrait in oils or a photo. There are a lot of people on
the web making potrait dolls today offering to make bride dolls
dolls, or dolls to look like your grandchildren etc. The term "portrait
doll" is also misused to describe a genre - like the famous Edwardian
"Gibson Girl" - who is not a real person but a style of person -
like a flapper.
I constructed the glossary from a number of sources and this entry
is from "The Collectors History of Dolls" by Constance Eileen King.
The Sara Penfold under discussion is reference a "20 inch high,
poured wax doll with fixed eyes and inset hair, dressed by Lady
Cave in 1900 to look like her grandmother, Sara Penfold, who died
in 1856." There is no info on where the doll is now (or at the date
of the book even which was 1977). There is some confusion over the
correct spelling of Sara (or Sarah) I notice - even within this
book. Anyway, on the web I see references to Lady Cave (Anne Estella
Sarah Penfold Mathews) who seems to have inherited her grandmother's
names amid a welter of her own. There's no further info on her grandparents
- presumably as they weren't members of the peerage.
All the best with your quest.
31st January 2008
Hi Christina - I am trying to find either papier mache slip, or
the composition substitutes you mention - do you know of a UK supplier?
Dear Dolly no longer stock it, and shipping from the States for
such bulky stuff is horribly expensive. I believe it is available
from the Belgian company that took over Byron, but again have no
details. I do hope you can help!
Thanks for your time,
Best regards, Frances
Hi - I
only ever used Compobell or the papier mache slip made by M. Wanke
(which was great).
Wanke in the UK were in Ore near Hastings but I thought they had
wound down and did most business through ebay.
However their website says no such thing. http://www.mwanke.com/frontpage.html
Here is the frame link showing the slip "PA 3plus" http://www.mwanke.com/slip.html
These are the guys that took over Byron http://geppetto.homestead.com/
but I can't see body making slips on their site.
Hope you are successful in your search.
update August 2008
Mache Slip can be ordered from Karin Buttegieg's Gildebrief
Here you can find all kinds of high quality doll-making products
including vintage fabrics, laces, and buttons, as well as moulds,
soft-fired greenware, items for wig-making, painting, and knitting/crochet
28th January 2008
Dear Christina, Thank you for all the info on your lovely website.
It was a real pleasure to browse.
Thank you and best wishes,
- it's nice to know there are others enjoying it.
27th July 2007
Hi , I came across your website while searching for doll making
courses. I wonder if you'd know of anyone who would offer an intensive
beginners course, or someone in the Midlands who does weekly lessons.
I am a bear maker who is yearning to try doll making but haven't
a clue where to start!
Regards, Jenny. [Visit the bears at : www.threeoclockbears.com]
The best people to talk ot about classes are Ellie's
Doll Workshop in Bournemouth. They are very friendly and helpful
and run a good range of classes.
All their contact and class information is available on the website.
Telephone: 01202 572626 or Email:
15th June 2007
I really like your site and I want to thank you for including me
on your link page. I have made a lot of updates to our site making
it even more friendly and easy to use. Take a look see what you
Thanks, Steve from Mystic
Molds [Check out the latest Mystic Newsletter at http://mysticmolds.com/newsletter.html]
Its very nice
to hear from you and your site is as pretty as ever and much easier
to navigate to your great products.
I am now going to browse your catalogue instead of doing my day
Did you see this
page on my website? The one on the right is one of your
moulds - very cute I thought.
Very best wishes, Christina
Glad you appreciated the new look to the site. Thank you for sharing
the photo and thanks for the link. Your work is beautiful!
2nd May 2007
What a wonderful site you have. I stumbled on it tonight and just
had to inquire about a mold.
It is a Doll House mold made in Pennsylvania, USA. DH - 69 name
Jumeau Princess. Yes, I understand you are in the UK but I had heard
that Karin Buttige (forgive the misspelling) had one. When I contacted
her it had broken during a move, so regrettable, but alas does happen.
When I started my search about 3 and 1/2 years ago I had contacted
the Mold company only to learn that they were in the process of
going out of business and would not sell me a mold nor the mold
master blocks (case, she called it) unless I bought all the molds
and cases. I was not able to do that so have been searching for
this mold ever since.
If you have any information about this mold I would be delighted
to hear form you.
Thank You so much, Ann, Oklahoma, USA
Thanks for your
mail - however really sorry but I don't have that mould.
I purchased a mould in 2002 from Ann and Stanley Shelski at dollhousemolds.com
but they are, as you say, no more.
I bought DH60 which is a Daniel et Cie - it was rather expensive
but the mould was very high quality.
I tried to see what Jumeau Princess is by searching the web and
came up with an eBay item [link supplied separately]
is selling a repro but obviously has the mould - she might sell
you greenware if you did "contact the seller" - she is
located in the US.Also this person has DH69 greenware for sale http://www.beccasdolls.com/ourproducts.htm
You say you
have already contacted Karin Buttigieg - her website is http://gildebrief.de/SF6/index.html?lang=en-us&target=front.html
She resells Byron moulds but I don't see the one you are after under
either SFBJ or Jumeau.
The Byron website is now http://www.geppetto.homestead.com/
but usually I think you order through a distributor in your own
country - not sure any more - and this mould maker is in the Netherlands
so expensive shipping to the US. I have the catalogue and do not
recall the Jumeau Princess being in it.
I do hope you
have some success on your quest - keep looking on eBay - the doll
hobby is in decline and many people are selling their moulds these
Thank you so kindly, I must have started entering Unis France right
after this auction ended as it never came up in my overall search
of names and description.
I have emailed the person since she says she made the doll herself,
perhaps she has greenware of bisque for sale. I will also contact
the other person you mentioned. Interesting how you look and ask
but let a couple of months pass and volia' someone else finds and
so generously shares with you.
Thank you again. I will be checking you site often as I did like
what I saw.
Ann Prague, Oklahoma, USA
I must confess
I don't update the site very regularly - and I have not completed
a doll now for about 2 years - but it's only temporarily on hold
for many reasons - mostly logistical and I still have many "dolls
Anyway - hope you continue to enjoy the hobby. Best wishes.
15th November 2006
Hi, came across your site by chance, I am interested in all sorts
of doll-making and I am looking for a club, workshop or anything
doll related, in the Alton, Hampshire area, can you help?
ps I have one AM 23" open mouth baby and a German small bisque
doll to renovate and I am always making and dressing cloth and porcelain
I'm not sure
I'm going to be very helpful to you. I am located around Epsom now,
was living in the Kingston area, and did my classes at New Malden
- all in Surrey. The classes folded, and my teacher, Anne, still
makes dolls but no teaching or group work.
I have checked for you that the new Seeleys distributor in the UK
is Ellie's Doll Workshop in Bournemouth.
Please see their website http://www.elliesdolls.co.uk/
where all their contact information is available. They may
be able to offer you better advice than I.
Telephone: 01202 572626 or Email:
I know Bournemouth is not round the corner from Alton but they
run workshops on doll making and also repairs.
Seeleys have a Doll Artisan Guild where you aim to become a Master
through a training course; this is the closest I know to any kind
of Guild qualification.
I think Ellie's classes sound more informal. (Wish I lived closer
to them myself, I must say).
Sorry not to have more contacts but hope this gets you on the right
21st April 2006
Hi Christina, I came across your site when doing a search for a
hair wefting loom on the net.
I have an old loom as such but have no dea how it is used. Are you
able to provide some info on it's use - I have found nothing on
THANKS, Andrea, Australia
Hi - nice to
hear from you.
I purchased my loom from Gildebrief and there is an article on its
use in Gildebrief Volume 15 / number 1/ 1998.
This is available on CD rom at 5€ - See http://gildebrief.de/SF6/index.html?lang=en-us&target=d571.html
14th January 2006
hi - i have been given a doll with sheer elegance 1983 writen on
her head i am guessing she was made by your company.
i was wanting some information about her. She is 2' tall with dark
blonde ringlets dressed in cream satin dress with matching coat
full undergarments cream socks and dark red/purple shoes (maybe
victorian dress). i think she is bisque (i know nothing about dolls).
Any information you can give me would be appreciated
many thanks, amanda
Hi Amanda, Sheer
Elegance is not my company but they (Carole and Bill Parrish) do
sell doll-making supplies (which I buy) and in the 1980s they did
sell beautiful reproduction antique dolls, and probably reproduction
modern artist dolls as well. If you sent me a photo I might be able
to tell you what she is a copy of. She sounds wonderful and is almost
certainly a bisque headed doll with a composition body. Bill makes
good reproduction bodies.
Usually the back of the head shows the reproduction doll makers
mark as well as the original makers name but it possible you cannot
and would not want to remove the wig and expose enough of the head
to see it.
Sheer Elegance company have a website now where I am sure you can
contact them for any information on your doll described in your
or you can Email:
Update - May 2007 I have received an email from bill and
i am contacting them about the doll. Thank you. Amanda
4th January 2006
I am after some advice about a suitable method of packing and storing
China Dolls, to prevent any storage damage such as damp.
My girlfriend has a large collection, but is having to store a lot
of them due to lack of space, but she is worried that if not done
correctly they will deteriorate or become damaged.
We have been given a few suggestions such as using lots of bubble
wrap and to include packets of 'Silica Gel' to help remove any unwanted
moisture, but are there any other tried and tested methods she could
use, to ensure complete protection from the damp?
Any assistance or advice with this problem would be greatly appreciated.
Many Thanks, Regards, Matt Walter
You don't say
what type of china dolls - antique? modern artist/repro? what are
the bodies made of?
I think that long term the issues are probably the same. However
antiques are already a 100 years old and you are lucky if you retain
dolls are in general very robust which is why they are still around
- the plastic dolls of the 1950s suffer more I think.
The major areas
for attack are wigs which, if mohair, are very subject to moth,
and clothing, which will deteriorate through age and also fade (fading
happens if you do NOT store them - so what do you do? buy nice stuff
then store in brown paper in the dark at a constant temperature....).
I am not sure about bodies which can be made of a number of materials
(if stuffed with straw or sawdust they are also subject to insect
In case you
didn't find it yourself, I found a web link for you http://collectdolls.about.com/library/weekly/aa081800f.htm
and (encouraged by your query) have added details in the reference
section of my site. These instructions may be a bit over the top
depending on what type of dolls you are storing.
My teacher says:
"use bubble wrap and store somewhere that is not damp".
I would say - it rather depends what climate you live in as to what
precautions you need to take especially.
I would be wary of trying to seal the dolls in plastic (like bubble
wrap) for fear of sealing moisture in with them and causing mould.
Silica gel - hmmm - I was trained as a chemist and am still not
convinced how well these work. If they are not in a sealed environment
then you will need to take them out and heat them up every so often
to drive the absorbed water out of them so they continue to work.
I think received
wisdom is that they should be wrapped in tissue paper (which is
special acid- free - no idea where you obtain this I'm afraid).
If the dolls have sleep eyes (ones that open and shut) you should
store the dolls face down.
The environment should not be humid or damp and of moderate temperature
(specific details given in the web sites) but I would say that if
you are in the UK, for example, then internal house environment
is normally OK, avoiding kitchens or bathrooms, and particularly
attics or basements. Although it is inconvenient to rule out the
attic for storage, it offers extremes of temperature which are bad
Don't use hand
creams when you handle your dolls for packing - think about moth
deterrents (I would go for cedar wood balls as suggested in the
websites rather than moth balls, but they tell you how to do the
packing) - and finally I notice it does say "store clothing
and dolls separately" - the feasibility of this is down to
If the dolls are very valuable then look at the websites and follow
it all to the letter - even maybe pay for specialised environmentally
controlled storage! If they are of sentimental valuable then judge
by how upset you would be if they deteriorate, and do your best.
Make judgements according to the materials they are made of (for
example, I have a Noddy doll which is wholly of felt and he is subject
to moth damage and fading).
I hope this
is helpful to you.