|Ninay, The First Filipino Doll|
The Ninay Collection
The Ninay collection, however, is not just about a single doll. It is a set of 58 tableaus that portray and document the Philippine cultural and social life during the Spanish era, as depicted in the novel. âOur focus, really, is Filipino traditions,â says Tesoro. âAnd what I like about Ninay (the novel), is it really shows the traditions.â
This rich heritage is accurately represented in the collection, which includes âNagsisimbaâ (Going to Mass), âSantacruzanâ (The Procession of the Holy Cross), âLola NagnoÂnovenaâ (Grandmother Praying the Novena), âPanunuyoâ (Courtship), âDoÂmingo de Ramosâ (Palm Sunday), âPasÂkong Filipinoâ (Filipino ChristÂmas), just to name a few.
In addition to the Ninay heroine, the tableaus also feature other types of people who lived in the 19th century, like âTindera en Dimasalangâ (Merchant in Dimasalang), âAlmacen de Parianâ (A Shop in the Chinese Quarter), âTrabajadoraâ (Peasant Worker), âTindera ng Pamaypay at Tsinelasâ (Fan and Slipper Vendors), âBurdadoraâ (The Embroiderer), âLa Maestra y su NiĂ±aâ (The Tutor and her Girl), and âLa Mujer de las Floresâ (Lady of the Flowers.)
When Tesoro tries to articulate how it all started, she inevitably betrays her passion for dolls, recounting her lifelong romance with them. âWhen I was a little girl, I was always making rag dolls from the scraps from my motherâs dress shop,â relates Tesoro.
Her brother, Myk Pamintuanâthe project coordinator of Katutubong Filipino Foundation (KFF), a Tesoro brainchild that aims to revive all indigenous aspects âthrough livelihood, culture, and arts and crafts,â bears this out. âAs a child, she was always making clothes for dolls,â he recalls.
As an adult, Tesoro, the fashion designer, was asked to outfit Snoopy twice. She also designed two series of Filipino Barbie dolls, complete with storylines.
In 1999, while seeking funding from the government for their livelihood programs for KFFâwhich include revitalizing the piĂ±a, abaca and natural dye industriesâshe met Gomez, who heads the Balikatan sa Kaunlaran Foundation, another organization with similar aims to KFF. Gomez, well connected in the government, was able to help Tesoro reÂÂceive $100,000 for KFFâs projects.
The beneficial collaboration was only just beginning. The two women discovered that they shared the same passion for dolls. Gomez, who was already exporting angel dolls, confided to Tesoro that her dream was to create a genuine Filipino doll. When Tesoro revealed that she had the same vision, it did not take long for the two women to pair up and establish their company, which they named Perfectly Intricate, Incorporated, to pursue their shared objective.
Creating a Cultural Icon
Initially, the two entrepreneurs hired a dollmaker who exported her own dolls to the U.S. market. âThe doll was very beautiful, but it wasnât what we wanted,â says Tesoro, noting they found the dollmakerâs dolls too big, and with features that werenât sufficiently Filipino.
Not about to give up so easily, they commissioned another popular dollmaker, Paulette Cuiâwho also exported her works to North Americaâto make the dolls. Cui hired two sculptors from a nearby province to create the molds. This time around Tesoro and Gomez were pleased with the output and they gave the nod to the production of 20 clay molds, including ten heads.
For what Tesoro calls the âfirst editionâ of the Ninay line, 160 dolls were made (20- to 22-inch âadultâ and eight- to 12-inch âchildâ dolls); 98 of these dolls were used for the 58 tableaus.
There was still another problem. Tesoro was not satisfied with the expressionless look of the dolls. SerenÂdipitously, famous Filipino painter Romulo Galicano dropped by her shop. When she showed him the dolls, Galicano, who shares Tesoroâs love for all things Filipino, offered to teachâfree of chargeâTesoroâs workers how to paint the dolls using oil.
Rich in Filipino Heritage
The workers then create the doll parts from the clay molds, and construct the dolls. Next, the dolls are painted and dried. âOil is not easy,â says Tesoro, explaining that it takes a long time to dry (about two to three weeks; even a month, if the weather is humid).
Costuming is the next step in the proÂcess. Tesoro, emphasizing that the dolls are fashion dolls, explains that their outfits are all made using her fabrics, which include jusi, piĂ±a, sinamay, tânalak, abaca, cotton and linen.
Each dollâs costume requires about three to four yards of cloth. âWeâre not scrimping,â she stresses. She illustrates this by counting the layers of a dollâs saya (skirt); there are seven in all, excluding the bloomers. Indeed, the dresses are miniature versions of Tesoroâs works, complete with beadings, embroideries and other embellishments.
After the carpenters have constructed the platforms, everything is assembled. Tesoro says that most of the parts are hand-made and hand-painted. Everything except for the miniature flowers, which are ordered from China, is made in the Philippines.
Pamintuan explains that some of the miniature accessoriesâlike the birds, or the paynetas (ornamental combs of silver with gold coating) are ordered from department stores. When they canât find what theyâre looking for in Metro Manila, they scour the neighboring provinces.
Prototypes are usuÂally made. âWe just want to see,â explains Tesoro, âbecause from theory to actual creating you donât know what will come out. Itâs like a painting.â
Definitely more than a painting, the entire process is a lavish production that employs around 20 workers, and in which a single tableau can take up to two months to finish.
The first of such exhibitions was during the launching. The dolls, which ranged in price from $600 to $3,600, were such a hit that 25 tableaus were sold right there and then. âCollectors appreciate the kind of work put into the pieces and they understand that these are works of art,â says Tesoro.
Spurred on by the initial favorable response to the dolls, a new set of Ninay dolls is presently being created, with the launch tentatively set for the early part of 2003.
Tesoro notes that everything is evolving and improving. For the next edition of Ninay, more appropriate materials will be used to replace some fabrics. They will also pay more attention to diversifying the detailsâlike different sets of slippers for the various classes of people represented by the dolls. More affordable tableaus are also part of the future game plan. âMayÂbe more single pieces beÂcause sinÂgles are less expensive and therefore more afÂfordable for a lot more people,â Tesoro says.
Doll lovers on tight budgets can buy the mass-market and smaller version called Nenita (small Ninay), which BSKF produces. These dollsâthere are more than ten versions of Nenitaâare dressed in the same materials as the Ninay collection; the only difference is that they are painted with acrylics instead of oils. Nenita, which costs $50, has been so popular that a male version, still nameless, is already in production.
Ever the visionaries, Tesoro and Gomez conclude that their ultimate dream is to build several doll museums for Filipino children that adults can enjoy as well. âEverybody loves a doll. Even a man would love a doll,â Tesoro insists. âThere are so many beautiful things to look at and enjoy.â Feasting oneâs eyes on each of the Ninay tabÂleaus, one can only agree with her.
For more information about the Ninay tabÂleaus, e-mail patisboutique@Âpacific.net or call (632) 726-5058.
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The winners of the 2013 Industryâs 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 yearâs 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 yearâs Industryâs Choice winners go on to become the nominees for the Publicâs 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. â Jan. 9, 2013 â 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.
âWe 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,â said Colliii Awards Director James Carlsson. âThe VIP Award is presented every year to a person or organisation that has made a significant contribution to the doll world. It was Colliii.comâs pleasure to present this to Carie as a token of appreciation for her hard work.â
Past VIP Award winners include DOLLSâ Editor-at-Large Jill Jackson for her work with "Doll Reader," the Biemann family from SchildkrĂ¶t 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 Valentineâs Day, Haute Doll introduces its new exclusive by Horsman Ltd., the modern-style âHeart Chairâ perfect for 16-inch fashion dolls. The design was inspired by Verner Pantonâs 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 yearâs 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 âIt was a crazy cool day.â Although the event officially ended Saturday night, 11 fans stayed for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Willowbrook Wildlife Center Sunday. â 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 âCelebrations!â 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. Patrickâs 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 âluck of the Irishâ would help them find that perfect doll or dolls.
Thursday began early with the Easter Morning Breakfast; those attending this ticketed event didnât 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 âPeep,â a 3-inch yellow mohair chick as their event souvenir. His companion, âPosey,â was available for sale. After breakfast the special and competitive exhibits opened, along with the helper room. This yearâs special exhibit, arranged by John and Susan Wrightâs daughter Emily, was titled âHappy Holidaysâ 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 Wrightâs Wizard of Oz collection, âWicked Witch of the West,â made her debut in front of an enthusiastic audience.
The ticketed Victorian Yuletide Dinner featured traditional table decorations and an enchanting program, âA Victorian Christmas,â presented by Nardone. The event souvenir was the 10-inch âMary Frances,â the latest addition to the Victorian Children Collection. Available for purchase was her 7-inch little sister, âBaby Grace.â
Saturday morningâs activities included another program by Pate and a workshop conducted by Emily Wright. That afternoon, a Valentineâs Day High Tea charmed conventioneers with fine teas and delicacies. The newest addition to the Flower Fairies series, âRose Fairy,â was available for purchase. The eveningâs closing event was a New Yearâs 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 12Âœ-inch âCelebration Scootlesâ 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 yearâs âAround the Worldâ 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 Wrightsâ facility in Vermont. For more information, visit www.rjohnwright.com or call (802) 447-7072. â Pat Burnsread more