Author: DOLLS Magazine Contributor

In Memoriam: Robert Campbell Rowe

April 1, 1941-Sept. 22, 2009 The founder of DOLLS magazine, Robert Campbell Rowe, died on Sept. 22, 2009, at his home in Paradise Valley, Ariz., after a brief illness. Journalist, publisher, entrepreneur, man of ideas and connoisseur of the fine things of life, Rowe built a mini-empire of magazines and books that brought an unprecedented level of professionalism to the coverage of popular hobbies for collectors: plates and figurines; miniatures; dolls and teddy bears. Born in Santa Monica, Calif., and educated in Arizona at The Orme School and the University of Arizona, Rowe came to the East Coast in...

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Dolls as a Support System

My mom cherished the family stories that she heard growing up and as I grew up she liked to remind me of things that I had done. Sometimes it would be embarrassing and other times old wounds would be opened and I’d reiterate my side of an event. But there was a sweet thing that she would recall from time to time and it still represents something about my character. When I was a little girl and my mom found me alone and playing with dolls, she assumed I had been in an argument with friends. I’m sure there were times when I was just playing alone by choice, but I know she knew what she was talking about. Sometimes stories about ourselves as children are repeated so often that we believe they are our own memories. But this behavior I do remember. As a kid, wanting life to be in crisp black & white, I began to learn about shades of grey. During childhood, life is happy/sad, love/hate, play/fight, etc. Kids “go out and play” and “get into fights“. After battling to the bitter end, I would retreat and return to my dolls. I still do that. Sometimes it isn’t others that we fight, but our situation and circumstances. When my mood is low, my mind is blank or my emotions are getting the better of me, putting...

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Adventures in Doll Shopping

There are not many shops that carry collectible dolls in my state and it’s a lengthy trip to get to one. Due to time and budget constraints, the majority of my research and shopping is done online. But recently I traveled to a town, generally known for it’s heritage and tourism, as it had a shop which provided a chance to see collectible dolls in person. I had no idea that I would be entering a wonderland filled with amazing sites and friendly characters In the past I had difficulty connecting to the shop online, but recent research confirmed that the shop still existed and indicated that the town had a few historic buildings. Although I have a passion for photographing architecture, I never hoped to find such an abundance of amazing structures spanning much of the town‘s 155 year history. But, typically for me, before I could explore the town, I had to go shopping and the shop was yet another wonderland. In a small town, main street shop environment, fashionable accessories selected on buying trips to New York were mixed with high end country/folk art collectibles. Not my style, but with a loft full of dolls from some of the best manufacturers in the world and a clearance section on the main floor, I didn’t want to leave. A wonderland has to have it’s characters and they...

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Doll Patterns

Just as the familiar scent of autumn arrived in the evening air and sidewalks became alive with the crunch of fallen leaves, my interest in dolls shifted from warm to cool. While in childlike anticipation of the Fall/Holiday season, I became disinterested in my collection. Perhaps I tried too hard to avoid coming under the spell of the new doll releases. Already, one doll has a hold on me and she’s not a photograph of the prototype anymore. She’s the real thing, even better than expected, and I have been admiring her online a bit too much. My Holy Grail 2010 has been established. Like seasons, moods change and attention shifts. After a month of obsessively changing my doll displays, I was bound to get tired of it. Without realizing it, boredom turned into disillusionment. The next step was to buy a cool, new play line doll. After weighing the pros & cons of the doll, I was confident in my choice until she was deboxed. There is always a let down at this stage. Once a doll is released from her prison of packaging, it’s hard to adjust to life on the outside. Once we spent some time together, I knew the right choice had been made and like the season, my mood changed and my attention shifted and all is right with the doll...

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A Voyage of Porcelain Perfection

Whether it’s her charming marionette dramas, realistic wool animal miniatures, museum-quality oil paintings or porcelain ball-jointed dolls (BJDs), Patricia Cabrera puts every ounce of heart and soul she possesses into creating an enchanted world of art for all to enjoy. Blessed with talent and stamina, Cabrera has a rare and unpretentious sense of joy and peace within herself because there isn’t much she is afraid to tackle in the arts sector. Until her mid-teens, Cabrera lived with her family on a coffee farm in Bahia, Brazil. “I come from humble beginnings, and no one in my family ever made...

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Wishing & Waiting

At this time of year I develop what I call Sears Wish Book syndrome. As a little girl that catalog meant that Christmas was coming and I could prepare for my visit to Santa. Even though one year I got distracted and wondered why Santa needed to wear a wrist watch, I still remembered to tell him what was at the top of my list because I believed he had to at least honor that wish. In the past few years, my anticipation for the autumn/winter holidays began to coincide with the previews of fall/holiday doll collections and the arrival of new play line dolls on store shelves. I am determined to wait to see if certain dolls equal or surpass their prototype photographs and committed to wait a year for reasonable prices. But lately every new doll seems to suit my tastes whether it’s an innocent little girl or the darkest Goth. I’ve begun to find spare moments to window shop for dolls online and it seems that every doll that I’ve ever considered is available at a great price. For now I’ve bought some brightly colored school supplies for my home office and I’ll look for a few decorative items for the upcoming holidays. There is no cure for Wish Book syndrome, but on Christmas morning, when I finally release my allocated 2008 dolls from their boxes,...

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