|Ginger Brook Hollow: An Idyllic World|
Imagine a place that’s far removed from the congestion, pollution, and sprawl that so often mar our landscapes, a place where sun-dappled country roads meander through a charming little town. Imagine a time long ago when life wasn’t some harried, noisy hubbub—when there were enough hours in the day after tasks were done for merrymaking and little adventures. Imagine that you could instantly visit this place and time whenever you wanted, and stay as long as you wished, lingering in its cheery quaintness.
That’s the premise of Ginger Brook Hollow, which revolves around life in a small town in the late 1800s. And dolls are just the beginning. With storybooks and a comprehensive website with many opportunities for doll lovers to share in the fun, Ginger Brook Hollow is really its own little world. “To understand the line of dolls,” explains creator Cheri Lynn Maude from Alpine, Utah, “you have to understand the story.”
Escape to a Prettier Past. The story revolves around seven orphan girls living in the Victorian era. Their home is an orphanage in the cozy town of Amber Fields. Just a little ways away is a peaceful spot in the woods known as Ginger Brook Hollow—and yes, plenty of ginger grows along the brook, perfect for turning into gingersnap cookies.
In an idyllic yellow house in Ginger Brook Hollow lives Grandma Sunday. (The orphans gave her this cute nickname because they visit her every Sunday.) “She is the character that is the heart of Ginger Brook Hollow,” says Maude.
The girls, ranging in age from 10 to 12, became orphaned when their families perished from an epidemic that plagued the area. Each has a unique personality and interests, from the level-headed math whiz Emmaline to “girly-girl” gardener Louisa. Twins Johannah (a tomboy) and Suzannah (a budding seamstress) round out the group. With the other characters that live in the town, the girls find themselves caught up in many adventures, and even a bit of mischief. “I tried to come up with characters that would be typical of the time,” says Maude. “Probably a little piece of me is in each one of those girls.”
A Dream Come True. Interested in visiting Ginger Brook Hollow? The best portal is the official website, www.gingerbrookhollow.com. Between the books, dolls, accessories, and extras (such as recipes and activities), the make-believe world sings with life. That’s just how Maude planned it. “I couldn’t make it fun enough for me to do if it didn’t have a purpose or theme or story.”
As Maude tells it, all the elements of Ginger Brook Hollow came together organically. The setting “probably came from my childhood,” says Maude. When she was 10, her family moved to the country, and she relished the freedom to roam and play in nature. And she loved reading about the Victorian period, from Little Women to Anne of Green Gables.
A doll collector and doll company consultant and developer as well as a former teacher and writer, Maude spent a year researching her concept, and it would be another two years to get the dolls and other elements of their story ready. She went through numerous sculpts before realizing the perfect design. Professional sculptor Erasmo Fuentes individualized the faces. “The dolls are done according to their personalities,” Maude notes.
Dolls and More- Here’s a look at the Ginger Brook Hollow family. • Dolls include 17-inch vinyl character dolls based on all seven orphans ($170 each) and a 22-inch Grandma Sunday ($300). Each doll has nine ball joints, making them extremely poseable. • 8-inch travel dolls, perfect for smaller spaces. Billed as “Dream Dolls,” they portray the dreams that the orphans have for their lives when they grow up ($70 each).• The orphans wear the same three-piece uniform—with white underdress and gray jumper. Grandma sports details including a lace chemise under her corset.• Additional outfits and accessories, such as shoes, nightclothes, a vanity set, bedding, and a bed (which includes a trunk where the dolls’ accessories can be kept) can be purchased. • Each doll comes with a “teeny little story” book that’s just about her. Maude says that books sold with dolls often go unread, so she planned these stories as small snapshots of the character that are designed to be read quickly.• Paper dolls also come with the character books. According to Maude, the paper dolls are an especially good fit for people who aren’t quite ready for a high-end collectible doll but still want to experience the story.• Rounding out the line is the picture book Where Love’s Circle Begins: A Ginger Brook Hollow Story. Illustrated with watercolor paintings, the book is first in a series about Grandma Sunday and the orphans. “Anything I can do to inspire a relationship with learning and make the dolls more interesting, I’m for that,” Maude says.
All About Connections-The real core of Ginger Brook Hollow and its many manifestations is Maude’s sincere desire to encourage sharing and participation from doll lovers. When her children were young, for example, she realized that dolls helped them connect with others. “My kids learned critical social and interactive skills through dolls,” she says. “I like to promote dolls as a tool for interaction between people because my stories are about a group of people,” Maude explains. Offering a large cast of distinct characters, each with her own quirks and personality traits, lets everyone pick a favorite. Those with a different doll in the series can come together to share and interact much more genuinely than if every person has the same doll. “That’s my whole reason for doing this,” says Maude. “I hoped it would be shareable.”
That sharing can occur among different generations, too. Even though Ginger Brook Hollow dolls are collectible play dolls, Maude adds, they’re not just for kids. “I’m trying to get past the mindset that dolls and stories are only for children,” she says. Ginger Brook Hollow may be a place located only in the hearts and minds of those who visit there, but for Maude, it’s become a very real adventureland—one with very tangible rewards. “When I get a letter or an e-mail from people who have shared the dolls and stories and have developed a bond between themselves and another person, that’s my payday.”
The winners of the 2013 Industry’s Choice DOLLS Awards of Excellence (DAEs) were announced April 12 at the Debut of Dolls Banquet held at IDEX in Orlando, Fla. Each entry in this year’s competition was evaluated by our panel of judges: Doll industry consultant Pat Burns, doll writer and historian Penny Herbst, Simon Farnworth of DollObservers.com, author and DOLLS contributor Stephanie Finnegan,
DOLLS editor-at-large Jill Jackson, and Modern Doll President Patsy Moyer. This year’s Industry’s Choice winners go on to become the nominees for the Public’s Choice awards voted on by DOLLS readers. Look for photos of all the nominees, ballot, and online voting instructions in the July 2013 issue of DOLLS.
Iola, Wis. – Jan. 9, 2013 – DOLLS magazine publisher and former editor Carie Ferg received a special VIP Award for Outstanding Achievement in the 2012 Colliii Awards. The Colliii Awards are the largest online dollmaking competition in the world.
“We wanted to present the 2012 VIP Award to Carie Ferg as a recognition of the dynamism and innovation she has brought to the doll industry over the past few years,” said Colliii Awards Director James Carlsson. “The VIP Award is presented every year to a person or organisation that has made a significant contribution to the doll world. It was Colliii.com’s pleasure to present this to Carie as a token of appreciation for her hard work.”
Past VIP Award winners include DOLLS’ Editor-at-Large Jill Jackson for her work with "Doll Reader," the Biemann family from Schildkröt dolls in Germany, and such atists as Stephanie Sullivan.Registration for the 2013 Colliii Awards will begin in July. For more information about the competition, go to www.colliii.com/en.
The winners of the 2012 ProSculpt Annual Sculpting Contest have been chosen by collectors and artists from around the world. Winners this year are from England, Italy, Japan, South America, and the United States. Photos of all the winners can be viewed at the Johnston Original Art Dolls website. The winners are:
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Haute Doll introduces its new exclusive by Horsman Ltd., the modern-style “Heart Chair” perfect for 16-inch fashion dolls. The design was inspired by Verner Panton’s 1959 full-scale contemporary chair design.
The fourth Pullip and Dal Doll Lovers Event (PUDDLE) drew 60 doll lovers from 10 different states and Canada to the Elk Grove Village Holiday Inn in June. This year’s theme, cranes, was inspired by the sandhill cranes at the group's charity organization, the Willowbrook Wildlife Center. Six custom dolls and other items donated by sponsors like The Sleeping Elf and Denise's Dolls were raffled off at the event, raising $500 for the center.
The weekend started Friday night with dinner at Mitsuwa Japanese Mall in Arlington Heights, followed by a tea party at the hotel. PUDDLE officially kicked off at 9 a.m. Saturday, starting with an organized buy-sell-trade opportunity, and dozens of fans milled around trading and buying doll wigs, eye chips, bodies, clothing, and more.
Every attendee received a door prize, thanks to generous donations from many sponsors. Distribution of the door prizes was followed by a secret gift swap and lunch break. Afterwards, an informal Q&A-format customizing workshop answered questions for many fans new to the hobby, followed by a display of fully customized and modified dolls entered in the customization contest. Winners of an online photo/art contest which was held and judged before the event were announced along with the customization contest winners. The photo and art entries can be seen at www.puddlestyle.com/photoart.html.
Many fans continued the fun over dinner in the hotel restaurant and in the hotel lobby until the wee hours. Krista Farmer, who traveled from Toronto for the event, said “It was a crazy cool day.” Although the event officially ended Saturday night, 11 fans stayed for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Willowbrook Wildlife Center Sunday. — Jane EasterlyFor information on PUDDLE 2012, visit www.puddlestyle.com.read more
Attendees at the third annual R. John Wright Convention enjoyed the festivities of several major holidays coupled with outstanding dolls, all rolled into four fun-filled days! R. John and Susan Wright chose “Celebrations!” as the theme for their 2011 event held at the historic Desmond Hotel in Albany, N.Y., which was co-chaired by Loretta Nardone and Lillian Wright.
The convention opened with St. Patrick’s Day reception Wednesday evening, where everyone laid claim to being a wee bit Irish while enjoying a scrumptious dessert buffet. The sales room opened immediately after this kick-off event, with conventioneers hoping the “luck of the Irish” would help them find that perfect doll or dolls.
Thursday began early with the Easter Morning Breakfast; those attending this ticketed event didn’t have to search for large, beautifully decorated baskets serving as table centerpieces. They were filled with molded felt eggs in pastel colors. At the end of the breakfast, the eggs were distributed and the happy new owners opened them to find “Peep,” a 3-inch yellow mohair chick as their event souvenir. His companion, “Posey,” was available for sale. After breakfast the special and competitive exhibits opened, along with the helper room. This year’s special exhibit, arranged by John and Susan Wright’s daughter Emily, was titled “Happy Holidays” and showcased R. John Wright dolls and animal characters and the traditional holidays that inspired them.
That afternoon, attendees boarded buses for the short trip to Bennington, Vt., for a tour of the R. John Wright facility along with other local activities. The Wrights explained the development of their creations from concept through completion before everyone had the opportunity to visit with their employees as they made various doll parts and accessories and shopped in the R. John Wright store. The day culminated with a Fourth of July BBQ followed by fireworks at dusk.
Workshops by dollmaker Gail Wilson and a program by Alan Pate, a leading American expert on Japanese dolls, were offered on Friday, along with several roundtable discussions on various topics. Attendees dressed up for the frightfully fabulous costume parade leading into the Halloween Masquerade luncheon, with prizes awarded in five categories. After lunch, the newest piece from R. John Wright’s Wizard of Oz collection, “Wicked Witch of the West,” made her debut in front of an enthusiastic audience.
The ticketed Victorian Yuletide Dinner featured traditional table decorations and an enchanting program, “A Victorian Christmas,” presented by Nardone. The event souvenir was the 10-inch “Mary Frances,” the latest addition to the Victorian Children Collection. Available for purchase was her 7-inch little sister, “Baby Grace.”
Saturday morning’s activities included another program by Pate and a workshop conducted by Emily Wright. That afternoon, a Valentine’s Day High Tea charmed conventioneers with fine teas and delicacies. The newest addition to the Flower Fairies series, “Rose Fairy,” was available for purchase. The evening’s closing event was a New Year’s Eve Gala Celebration. This elegant banquet featured another entertaining program produced and presented by Nardone. When the souvenir dolls were distributed, delighted attendees found the adorable 12½-inch “Celebration Scootles” would be going home with them. As an added bonus, her delightful twin brother was available for purchase.As the convention ended, attendees were already making plans for next year’s “Around the World” event, which will be held at the same location June 20-23, 2012 and will celebrate the magic of children around the globe. There will also be an added treat as the first bear event held at an R. John Wright convention will be incorporated into the excursion to the Wrights’ facility in Vermont. For more information, visit www.rjohnwright.com or call (802) 447-7072. — Pat Burnsread more