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Eva Helland: A Moment in Time

The adorable “Starly” is irresistible in her exclusive original gown.Seldom does a day go by when Eva Helland does not have a piece of clay in her hands, mohair at her feet or paint in her hair. This deep-rooted passion to create started in childhood. “As far back as I can remember, I have always had the desire to sculpt babies from whatever materials I could find—from mud to fruit and everything else in between,” Eva confides. “My grandfather was an accomplished ice sculptor and I believe this is where I inherited my love of sculpting. Following my marriage and while raising my two sons, the desire continued but at that time I concentrated my efforts on cloth dolls and teddy bears. It happened by chance. During an activity time with my boys, we decided to try using clay, and this face began to emerge within my hands. It was at that moment I knew I had found what I had been searching for since childhood. Al­though at that time I had no idea what a one-of-a-kind baby was, I began to research the subject of dolls through magazines and reference books and managed to purchase some clay locally. I have never attended a sculpting class, thus al­lowing my art to progress at a natural pace.”

When Eva’s babies were first offered to collectors some 20 years ago, they were greeted with gasps of delight the world over, and demand to own one has continued to grow. While the first babies were approximately 2½ inches in length, Eva soon moved to life-size versions. “Normally my babies will range from 19 to 22 inches in length, although there are variations to this when working on portrait and some edition babies,” Eva notes. “For the head and limbs of my babies, I use a mix of polymer clays, which is then attached to a specially designed body. The body itself has taken many years to evolve to what you see today and al­though it may look a little strange, when baby is dressed, it’s the most realistic I have been able to design in both feel and poise. Unless otherwise requested, I use crystal glass eyes for my awake babies in darkest gray shade, as I believe them to be the closest to that of a real-life child. In the early days, I would apply mohair to the scalp, but now it’s baked directly in since I feel it gives the most natural appearance.”

Eva also pioneered the use of solid silicone for dolls. “In early 2001, I was looking at a figure made from this medium; the texture and feel both fascinated and intrigued me,” Eva recalls. “It was from this point that I decided to research the possibilities of using this medium, as I felt it would allow me to create a very realistic baby, not only in look, but also in feel. It took about two years of experimenting with the whole process of mold making, different types and grades of silicone, as well as painting until finally, in 2003, ‘Nikita Helland’ was born.”

The collecting world had never seen a baby like Nikita before and, although realism was the main motivation behind this new method, it also allowed Eva to offer more babies to collectors at one time. Nikita has been followed by six siblings; the last baby, “William,” is in the new edition size of ten. In an attempt to meet the demand and pockets of all those who want a baby doll, Eva launched a 14-inch two- baby “Tiny Footprint” series in 2006. “For a long time I have wanted to reproduce a larger edition of babies in a smaller size. To do this, I had to commission an overseas company. The babies are made from solid silicone and while they are not hand finished by me, I do oversee all aspects of production to ensure the best quality possible. The babies are painted to my own specifications and their hair is hand applied. ‘Jenna,’ the awake baby, and sleeping ‘Daisy’ go home wearing cotton onesies and diaper shirts, complete with hair bows.”

January 2007 saw the dawn of a new era for Eva with the debut of “Aiko Sakura,” her first limited-edition artist resin doll. “I have been asked by collectors for some time to produce a baby in this medium and I was keen to try. The medium is one that allows me to reproduce a baby extremely close to that of my original works and one whose results I love.” Collectors loved it, too. The edition of ten ba­bies sold out quickly.

“We had been in business for a short time when the phone call came from Eva enquiring about“Hevinly” looks heavenly in her original gown. the mold-making and casting process for ‘Aiko Sakura,’” says Barbara Lefler of Multiplicity Cast­ing Studios, who pour the resin for Eva’s dolls. “When the baby ar­rived to the studio and we pulled her from the box, it was the first time we had seen an original piece. To say the doll was breath­taking and flawless is an understatement. We were amazed! Throughout our communication while working on this edition, we have always found Eva to be gentle and extremely modest about her work. We consider it a great honor to be working with an artist of Eva’s stature.”

Eva is busy producing more crowd pleasers. Babies currently in production and never before seen except in this DOLLS exclusive include the triplets “Hevinly,” “Starly” and “Skyly.” They will be available in both artist resin and solid silicone.

“For seven years I have wanted to offer realistic premature babies to collectors‚” Eva says with a laugh. “It has been my biggest challenge to date to not only get the proportions correct, but to also enhance much of the detail of a premature baby, while allowing for the similarities in real-life triplets.

“These three babies were made using the exact measurements of a real-life, 32-week gestation baby girl and many weeks and days spent studying photographs,” Eva continues. “Premature babies have a unique look; their skin hangs looser in very soft folds not only around the limbs but also along the jaw line. Their ears are softer and a bit ‘squished’ in the top area. It is also common for the top of the head to have a slight raised area where the skull bones have not fused yet. These are just a few of the areas I tried to re-create through the birth of the triplets who started out as twins, but I wanted to give collectors a good range of facial expression so the edition grew a little.”

The babies are approximately 17½ inches in length. Each baby is available in a limited edition of ten in both mediums. They have fully sculpted arms and legs, which are affixed to a cloth body. “Starly,” the awake baby, will have darkest gray crystal glass eyes. The silicone babies’ hair will be rooted and collectors can select the style, color and hair amount. Since the resin does not allow for rooting, these babies will have applied hair; their new moms can chose the hair thickness and color here as well. The triplets will go to their new homes in individual-to-each-baby, custom-de­signed outfits in Eva’s chosen theme of heirloom and baptismal. This consists of gown, bonnet, pants, vest, socks and boutique-purchased shoes. They will also have an exclusive variation of cotton crochet accessories color coordinated to the above items. Each baby will be wrapped in the finest soft yarn afghan blanket.

“As a special thank you to collectors of my work, I will also include either a soft knitted or crochet matinee set, so each new mommy has a full range of clothing with their new edition,” Eva explains. From her home nestled in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Eva shares, “When I am not sculpting, I love to walk in the mountains and explore my other love—nature, especially the hummingbird whose grace and beauty holds so much wonder for me. I have not taken a vacation in years, as I don’t like to be away from sculpting for very long. It’s a part of me and I am of it; there is no separation of the two. In more recent years I have been able to attend some doll shows in America, including the Doll & Teddy Bear Expo in Washington, D.C., and IDEX in Orlando, Fla. It’s an experience I have enjoyed so much, meeting with old friends and making new ones. I feel honored to have been able to spend my life working in my chosen field and would dearly love to express my gratitude and thanks to all the collectors for their support over the years.”

With no area overlooked, the works of Eva Helland are astounding. The artist sculpts with such accuracy and precision it comes as little wonder she is critically acclaimed worldwide as one of the best in her field.

For more information, visit www.evahellandbabies.com.

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I love your babies! Do you have any solid silicone body baby kits? I will never be able to afford a finished one, but maybe I could afford a kit and reborn it.
Thank you & God Bless
Shirlo
Shirl Fisher , May 24, 2012
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I love your doll. I would love to see more pictures of them. Did you live in Stanley, ND?
Brenda Bjelland , April 03, 2012
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Keep up the good work of making the mommy people happy.smilies/cry.gif I can't aford one but I just love look at you babies online.smilies/smiley.gif
Diane , March 27, 2010

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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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There are going to be times when there is just no money to pay online casino gate so it is important to watch your money…

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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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