As a young girl, I have always felt that I could not relate to the dolls I was given to play with, so I would end up making my own using plastercine or clay. In my creative works, later on in life, I have added clay to fashion dolls to enlarge them in my “Barb Plus More” art projects. I would cast their reliefs onto walls in plaster or mold them into silicon rubber to make fuller figured dolls. These projects focused on the subject of the “Body Beautiful” and what was accepted in the world we live in. I wonder, if I had a more realistically shaped doll when I was a young girl, whether I still would have grown up with a low impression of my body shape, which made me yoyo diet all my life?
Desexualizing and repainting fashion dolls has been something I am passionate about. I customize each doll to resemble the person they are commissioned for and even add birth marks or scars on the doll, helping the child to accept the marks on their body that define each one’s individuality. I have also been known to add sculpted prosthetic limbs to dismembered dolls, so no discarded doll gets left unloved!
With up-cycling second-hand dolls, I am able to marry all my skills into one project and transform these little discarded toys, from head to toe, into the true and REAL beauties they deserve to be.
It is pure delight working on these dollies. After their original faces are wiped off using acetone and re-painted, their individual characters come to life, which makes them all one of a kind and a special gift for any child who wants a toy they can relate to.
Materials used on the face are watercolour pencils and acrylic paint which is then sealed with non-toxic varnish. The shoes are detachable, hand painted, resin casts made from molds of sculpted shoes or feet, to fit the Bratz or Moxy doll. Their clothing has been specially made to fit the dolls perfectly and are 100% cotton. Collaborated with “Sunny House Craft” on some of the outfits.
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Bee Real Dolls
Group shot of some of the girls before they headed off to their new homes.
Veronica has little victory rolls and vaux fringe. Well the hair, this was a challenge to get smooth! I had to boil wash and comb repeatedly a few times to loosen up the matted hair then when it was at a workable stage, I then set the hair in small rollers. She also has a pretty, vintage inspired, buttoned up dress with handmade yellow shoes.
Christina has stunning green eyes and golden brown Mohair which was boil washed to achieve the style she has now. She has a pretty little red, polka dot top, white floral cotton dress with blue buttons at the back. Her shoes are handmade casts then painted red using acrylic paint.
Betty has golden blonde, wavy hair with her hair twisted back into a ponytail and has little victory rolls in the front.The hair was boil washed to create the style it’s in now. She has an adorable gingham, button up top, denim skirt with buttons at the back and handmade shoes.
Aida has pretty afro hair, put into bunches with ribbons. The hair was boil permed using pipe cleaners to create the style it’s in now. She also has a sunny dress with handmade red shoes with lacy socks.
Maria has red brown, straight hair with her hair brought back at the top. The hair was boil washed to create the style it’s in now. She also has 2 cute outfits, a little dress with crochet top, knee high jeans and red polka dot top and handmade shoes.
Rose has gorgeous wavy golden hair. The hair was boil permed to control the style it’s in now. She also has a beautiful white, lace ballet dress with pale pink netting, a crochet pink cardigan with pearl buttons, handmade ballet slippers.
Elsie has brown, straight hair with her hair brought back into a bun at the top with ribbon and has a little victory roll in the front. The hair was boil washed to create the style it’s in now. She has a little pink, polka dot dress with peter pan collar and handmade shoes.
Ella has pretty golden, wavy hair, put into a low ponytail with ribbon. The hair was boil permed to create the style it’s in now. She also has a sunny dress with added netting underskirt to give it more puff and handmade yellow shoes painted like sling backs.
Angelina has brown eyes and ash brown, straight hair which was boil washed to achieve the style she has now. She has a fetching, 50’s inspired, red halter neck, cotton dress with black polka dots. Her shoes are handmade casts then painted black with white polka dots using acrylic paint.
Their little characters come through whilst re-painting each doll, I have no planning for them, just start with their eye shape and there I go. Sylvie has gorgeous straight golden hair. The hair was boil washed then a fishtail pleat was added to the style it’s in now. She also has a cutesy cup cake print, ballet skirt with pale pink netting, a crochet purple cardigan with buttons, handmade ballet slippers. Oh and little pink, crochet knickers also as her skirt is quite short!
Day out on the beach in Cornwall
The Spanish triplets having fun on their holiday, on the beach in Hayle, Cornwall.
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