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Ninay, The First Filipino Doll
Señora Doña Ninay is available for $900. Patis Tesoro is well known in the Philippines for her indigenous fashion designs, and more importantly, for almost single-handedly reviving dying local textile and fashion industries, such as the production of piña and abaca cloths, and natural dyeing. Last July, she added another feather to her cap when she, and business partner Guia Gomez, officially launched “Ninay, The First Filipino Doll.”

The Ninay Collection
Ninay, the 51-year old Tesoro explains, is the eponymous heroine of the first Filipino novel, written by Pedro Paterno in the 19th century. “The story is about Ninay, and Ninay has many faces,” says Tesoro. “There’s Ninay as a baby, as a grown-up and as a grandmother.”

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. “Our focus, really, is Filipino traditions,” says Tesoro. “And what I like about Ninay (the novel), is it really shows the traditions.”

This rich heritage is accurately represented in the collection, which includes “Nagsisimba” (Going to Mass), “Santacruzan” (The Procession of the Holy Cross), “Lola Nagno­novena” (Grandmother Praying the Novena), “Panunuyo” (Courtship), “Do­mingo de Ramos” (Palm Sunday), “Pas­kong Filipino” (Filipino Christ­mas), 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 “Tindera en Dimasalang” (Merchant in Dimasalang), “Almacen de Parian” (A Shop in the Chinese Quarter), “Trabajadora” (Peasant Worker), “Tindera ng Pamaypay at Tsinelas” (Fan and Slipper Vendors), “Burdadora” (The Embroiderer), “La Maestra y su Niña” (The Tutor and her Girl), and “La Mujer de las Flores” (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. “When I was a little girl, I was always making rag dolls from the scraps from my mother’s dress shop,” relates Tesoro.

Her brother, Myk Pamintuan–the project coordinator of Katutubong Filipino Foundation (KFF), a Tesoro brainchild that aims to revive all indigenous aspects “through livelihood, culture, and arts and crafts,” bears this out. “As a child, she was always making clothes for dolls,” 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 KFF–which include revitalizing the piña, abaca and natural dye industries–she 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 re­­ceive $100,000 for KFF’s 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
Tesoro and Gomez went to great pains and expense to make the dolls as accurate, realisticRespecting the Elders is one of the series of tableaus representing the traditions and values of the Filipino culture. and detailed as possible. The faces and limbs are made of resin using clay molds, while the rest, including the torso, are made of paper, wire and stuffing.

Initially, the two entrepreneurs hired a dollmaker who exported her own dolls to the U.S. market. “The doll was very beautiful, but it wasn’t what we wanted,” says Tesoro, noting they found the dollmaker’s dolls too big, and with features that weren’t sufficiently Filipino.

Not about to give up so easily, they commissioned another popular dollmaker, Paulette Cui–who also exported her works to North America–to 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 “first edition” of the Ninay line, 160 dolls were made (20- to 22-inch “adult” and eight- to 12-inch “child” 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. Seren­dipitously, famous Filipino painter Romulo Galicano dropped by her shop. When she showed him the dolls, Galicano, who shares Tesoro’s love for all things Filipino, offered to teach–free of charge–Tesoro’s workers how to paint the dolls using oil.

Rich in Filipino Heritage
Tesoro oversees the construction of the tableaus herself since she doesn’t yet have a full-time person to supervise production. Tesoro starts with the basic concept, and determines the look of the tableau and the number of dolls to be used in it.

The workers then create the doll parts from the clay molds, and construct the dolls. Next, the dolls are painted and dried. “Oil is not easy,” 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 pro­cess. Tesoro, emphasizing that the dolls are fashion dolls, explains that their outfits are all made using her fabrics, which include jusi, piña, sinamay, t’nalak, abaca, cotton and linen.

Each doll’s costume requires about three to four yards of cloth. “We’re not scrimping,” she stresses. She illustrates this by counting the layers of a doll’s saya (skirt); there are seven in all, excluding the bloomers. Indeed, the dresses are miniature versions of Tesoro’s 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 accessories–like the birds, or the paynetas (ornamental combs of silver with gold coating) are ordered from department stores. When they can’t find what they’re looking for in Metro Manila, they scour the neighboring provinces.

Prototypes are usu­ally made. “We just want to see,” explains Tesoro, “because from theory to actual creating you don’t know what will come out. It’s like a painting.”

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.

Selling Ninay
“Our marketing is still raw,” Tesoro admits. “Since we don’t have a store yet, we have exhibitions. We show one-day, one-month exhibitions.”

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. “Collectors appreciate the kind of work put into the pieces and they understand that these are works of art,” 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 details–like 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. “May­be more single pieces be­cause sin­gles are less expensive and therefore more af­fordable for a lot more people,” Tesoro says.

Doll lovers on tight budgets can buy the mass-market and smaller version called Nenita (small Ninay), which BSKF produces. These dolls–there are more than ten versions of Nenita–are 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. “Everybody loves a doll. Even a man would love a doll,” Tesoro insists. “There are so many beautiful things to look at and enjoy.” Feasting one’s eyes on each of the Ninay tab­leaus, one can only agree with her.

For more information about the Ninay tab­leaus, e-mail patisboutique@­pacific.net or call (632) 726-5058.

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How much are these dolls and where can we buy them? Thank you.
Ardythe Enriquez , November 27, 2012 | url
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Hi!

How much is this doll (Ninay)? Do you also have other filipino dolls?

Thanks,

Lani
lani acosta , August 19, 2011
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Good day. I would like to inquire how much a ninay doll costs? Also, are you making fans (pamaypay)?
ella gaspar , February 08, 2011
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i once painted these dolls smilies/smiley.gif
i miss doing them sometimes . . .
venus penaflor , October 19, 2010
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.. ang ganda po ng mga ninay dolls..
.. smilies/smiley.gif



-maui delfino-
maui , August 24, 2010
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what a nice dolls..
cathy , June 26, 2009 | url

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2013 DOLLS Awards of Excellence

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.

 

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DOLLS publisher Carie Ferg wins special Colliii Award

Iola, Wis. – Jan. 9, 2013DOLLS 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.

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Wow, this is some great info on this competition. Congratulations to her and I hope that she will continue to make dolls in the future. There are so many things that can be done in the doll making world and it is good to know that these people who spend a lot of their time and energy on creating them are recognized in this manner. I hope she will continue to create.

 

 

 

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ProSculpt 2012 winners announced

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:

 

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I'm of the same frame of mind, these are figurines, not dolls and should not be in a magazine devoted to DOLLS. That is one of my main complaints with the Haute Doll mag that Dolls is putting out, seeing Figurines and not dolls, and advertising that is not specific to the magazine bugs me too.
Jennifer Duff , March 17, 2013
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I don't understand how these things can be considered dolls. I would call them statues or figurines but not dolls.
Lorie Schatti , January 17, 2013

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A Chair for Your 16-Inch Sweetheart

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.

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Rockin’ Out at Rockefeller Center: An outdoor winter event showcases model-worthy Manhattanites.

Available on December 6, “Ravena, Winter Chic” is an exclusive BJD from Ruby Red Galleria and DOLLS magazine. It can only be purchased through DOLLS.
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I just learned about a new BJD debuting on December 6—it's a Ruby Red Galleria exclusive for DOLLS. The creation is so spot-on in its costuming and its attitude, I swear that one of the designers must have been tailing me last month.

When my friend Cam phoned me and invited me to the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, I should have said “no.” Any sane person would have, but sanity and an evening with Cam rarely go hand-in-hand. Instead, I agreed, and we headed out to Midtown Manhattan on one of the most crowded, most frantic nights of the year.

As we attempted to approach the skating rink where the enormous evergreen will reign supreme, I looked at Cam and burst out laughing.

“Isn’t this how ‘The Day of the Locust’ ends?” I shouted to him. (That film from the 1970s is among my and Cam’s favorite flicks. It stars Karen Black and Donald Sutherland, and it concludes with a horrible, free-for-all deadly crowd stampede.)

“Don’t be such a Grinch,” he called back. “Or should I say ‘Grinchette’!”

“I’m not sure there is a female Grinch,” I replied. “I know there was a Smurfette, the only blue gal around. But a Grinchette? I have to check my Seuss.”

And so this intellectual discourse continued as we fought our way through the jangling and jostling crowd—and, yes, the mass of people were LITERALLY jangling as they jostled. A huge number of them had on Santa hats with bells affixed or had bells attached to their lapels or collars. They were rude but they were rhythmic!

Since our trekking was so slow, and the other gawkers had gotten their much earlier to stake out their spots, Cam and I didn’t so much watch the tree lighting as watch the other folks’ reactions to all of the events.

A shrill shriek would emerge from the people way ahead of us.

“What is it?” I’d ask.

“Il Vole,” Cam would reply, referencing the teenage opera singers.

A cheer would erupt.

“Who is that?” I questioned.

“Chris Mann, from ‘The Voice.’” Another opera singer, who is marketed as a heartthrob.

Then just a smattering of applause.

“Mayor Bloomberg,” we both declared.

Since we were merely hearing the audio playback of the concert, we gazed at all the young men and women surrounding us.

“I think there is more wool here on Sixth Avenue than in all the sheep farms in Scotland,” Cam proclaimed.

Looking around, I had to agree.

Guys and girls were all decked out in the “official” apparel of the season: woolen flap hats, jauntily tied scarves, and boots. Girls had on legwarmers—“Hello, Flashdancers”—and fingerless gloves. (“What’s the point of that?” Cam groused. “Are we supposed to WANT our fingernails to turn blue?”) We had our very own Joan & Melissa Rivers Red Carpet fashion critique.

There’s a certain hip look that New Yorkers achieve—even when they are multilayering, they still come across as thin, chic, and hip. When I add scarves and sweaters and hats to my wardrobe, I look bundled up and ready to explode: envision the Michelin Tire Man, but not as perky.

When these twenty-somethings put on the extra bits of fabric, they look like they are taking a break en masse from shooting the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog. It really is quite amazing.

“I wish we could bottle their youth,” Cam lamented, looking at all the rosy-cheeked kids, teens, and college students who were scrambling about.

“Yep,” I agreed, “but can you imagine how much it would cost? And just how big would that bottle have to be! Better just to dream about it.”

And, wouldn’t you know it, just in time for Christmas . . . a doll that perfectly embodies that free-spirited New York City style has loped onto the scene.

The ball-jointed doll, which is a collaboration between DOLLS magazine and Ruby Red Galleria, is fittingly named “Ravena, Winter Chic.” Limited to 100 pieces, she’ll sell for 149.95. And, like all the other fashionable femmes who congregate in Manhattan, she weighs only 2 pounds, 6.9 ounces! The “Ravena” doll is bundled up and beautiful. Quite a feat, indeed!

Like her advertising copy says: A New York City native, the harsh NYC winters don’t stop “Ravena, Winter Chic,” a DOLLS dressed doll exclusive by Ruby Red Galleria, from exploring the city she loves. From uptown boutiques and coffee shops to downtown restaurants and theater, “Ravena, Winter Chic” bundles into her purple tights and faux-fur boots, corduroy short pants, pansy T-shirt, black motorcycle-style jacket and cozy knit hat to hit the streets in style. Even when the elements are unforgiving, “Ravena” survives and thrives in the city that never sleeps! The fully dressed 12-inch ball-jointed vinyl doll features removable wig and eyes, plus underwear and a sweet “love” tank top.

Ruby Red Galleria always has a way with its wardrobe, and “Ravena, Winter Chic” is no exception. I am sure Cam will be ordering one online. He’s probably circled December 6 on his calendar. After all, if he was willing to chew “instant youth” vitamins or spray on “adolescent forever” cologne, can you imagine how happy he’ll be to have a chic New Yorker to call his own?

“Exercising and eating well . . . who could be bothered,” Cam knowingly observes. “I’d rather play my way to younger days.”

And, yes, it can’t be denied. Cam has the healthiest inner-child in town!

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Pullip and Dal Doll Lovers Event
Fans of Pullip and Dal pose with their dolls at PUDDLE 2011. Photo by Mike Hurlock

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.

5_costume_contest_newEvery 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 Easterly

For information on PUDDLE 2012, visit www.puddlestyle.com.
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R. John Wright Convention

Attendees at the third annual R. John Wright Convention enjoyed the festivities of several major holidays coupled with outstanding dolls,R. John Wright introduces the “Wicked Witch of the West,” the newest piece in the Wizard of Oz series, at the Halloween Masquerade Luncheon. 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.

“Rose Fairy,” a new addition to the Flower Fairy series, was available for purchase at the Valentine’s Day High Tea.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 byElaine Romberg won the Best of Show ribbon in the Competitive Exhibit for her exceptional Lenci Leprechaun Gnome type character doll. 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 Burns
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