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

Hi Christina,
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 the war.
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 Kevin Whately).
Our web site has been very recently redesigned - do take a look.

Warm regards,
Tina and Steve Watts
The Doll Infirmary
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

Dear Christina,
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.
Ellie’s Doll Workshop,
1526, Wimborne Road, Kinson, Bournemouth, Dorset,BH11 9AF
Phone/Fax no: 01202 572626

Hi Lesley,
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

Hi Sara,
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.

Further update August 2008
Papier Mache Slip can be ordered from Karin Buttegieg's Gildebrief site.
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 threads.


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,
Rosemary

Thanks Rosemary - 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]

Hi Jenny,
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: mike@elliesdolls.co.uk.


15th June 2007

Christina,
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 think.
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 job...
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!
Steve


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]
This [chunkycherubs] 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 days.

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 in progress".
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?
Christine
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 dolls.

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: mike@elliesdolls.co.uk.
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 track.


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 the net.
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
[emailed separately]


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 note. http://www.sheerelegancedolls.co.uk or you can Email: bill@sheerelegancedolls.co.uk .

Update - May 2007 I have received an email from bill and i am contacting them about the doll. Thank you. Amanda


4th January 2006

Dear Christina,
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 original clothes.
China 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 attack).

In case you didn't find it yourself, I found a web link for you http://collectdolls.about.com/library/weekly/aa081800f.htm
and http://collectdolls.about.com/library/weekly/aa081800b.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 for dolls.

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 you.
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.