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West Central Illinois Doll Club 2014
Written by DOLLS Staff   
Tuesday, 25 February 2014 22:02

The West Central Illinois Doll Club hosts an annual doll and toy show and sale. The 2014 event, held at the Sandburg Mall in Galesburg, Illinois, was the biggest ever, with 14 vendors and 50 tables.

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

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
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 or call (802) 447-7072. — Pat Burns
Madame Alexander Doll Club Convention

The Madame Alexander Doll Club’s 29th annual national convention at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Atlanta was exceptional in that it“Blessings From Margaret,” the 2011 Convention Souvenir doll. celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the club. Missouri collector Margaret Winson, along with other Madame Alexander doll lovers, began what was initially called the Madame Alexander Fan Club with from the company in 1961 “to study, research, discuss, and write about Madame Alexander dolls; to collect and preserve Madame Alexander dolls; and to conduct any and all activities that will promote collection of Madame Alexander dolls and related items.”

For the early arrivals among the approximately 300 attendees, convention chairwoman Marsha Hunter and her team arranged tours of local attractions, including Margaret Mitchell’s home and Stone Mountain Park, as well as a special Wednesday evening MADC Peach Festival and Pageant. Attendees at this break-out event received an 8-inch Maggie-face “Georgia, Little Miss MADC” while a 10-inch “Miss Georgia Beauty Queen” reigned over the table centerpieces.

Thursday morning, conventioneers gathered for the Welcome Breakfast. An 8-inch Caroline doll, inspired by a 15-inch version first issued in 1961, was the table centerpiece doll. An 8-inch brunette “Blue Party Dress,” wearing an outfit inspired by an early 1960s release, was the souvenir doll. The convention team received “Southern Azalea” dolls to reward their hard work. Placques were presented to this year’s Who’s Who award winners: Caroline DesRochers, Mary Ann Duffield, Annette Palombella, Patrice Perkins and Tonya Rice-Turner, then Margaret Winson announced the 20-Plus group’s Hart Award recipient, Ann McCurdy.

“Classic McGuffey Ana,” the souvenir doll from the Lissy Luncheon.After breakfast, the board of directors conducted the club’s annual business meeting, followed by events for newcomers, children, and teens along with two workshops; the opening of the sales, raffle and hospitality rooms; a presentation by the Alexander Doll Company; and the opening of the special display and the Design Contest exhibit.

The break-out Cissy Dinner that evening had a “Gone With The Wind” theme. 21-inch “Confederate Soldier, Ashley,” guarded each table, and “Scarlett O’Hara Saratoga Cissy” was the souvenir. Scarlett’s gown, a Walter Plunkett design, did not appear in the movie and had never before been produced by the Alexander Doll Company.

Friday morning’s All-in-a-Row breakfast was a breakout event for guests who have attended five or more conventions consecutively and focused on Madame Alexander’s cloth creations. Paying homage to children’s author Joel Chandler Harris, a plush Brer Rabbit and an 8-inch Joel served as the centerpiece, with attendees receiving an 8-inch Chandler souvenir.

The ticketed Travel Doll Luncheon took attendees back to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the first USA gymnastics team to win gold at a fully attended Olympics. An 8-inch USA Gymnast was the event souvenir and a girl and boy pair dressed in red, white, and blue was the centerpiece. More workshops and other activities occupied attendees both Friday and Saturday.

The breakout Cissette Dinner’s theme was Steel Magnolias, Strong Women of the South. The event souvenir, a 10-inch Southern Bride, Johnnie Benson, chairwoman of the Cissy Dinner, and Rodney Waller.was inspired by Julia Roberts, a Georgia gal. And no wedding would be complete without the Mother of the Bride that presided over the tables as the centerpiece.

A set of Lissy Little Women from the late 1950s was part of a display by South Shore Dolls of Massachusetts.Conventioneers who have been club members for more than 20 years were honored at Saturday’s 20+ Breakfast, where the centerpiece was “Golden Memories Lissy” wearing a vintage-inspired gown. The event souvenir was an 8-inch “Glamour Girl Picnic Day” adapted from an 18-inch version produced in the mid 1950s.

Lissy was the star of her own ticketed event, the “Lissy Through the Bookcase” luncheon. The centerpiece doll, “Lissy Southern Belle,” wore a Scarlett-type gown and the souvenir was “Classic Lissy McGuffey Ana,” inspired by the 1963 model.

The final event was the Golden Jubilee Banquet, which opened with the traditional Living DollFrom left: Alexander Doll Company President Gale Jarvis makes a special presentation to club founder Margaret Winson (second from the left) as Convention Chairwoman Marsha Hunter and MADC President Carol Dowdy look on. Parade, where young collectors dressed as their favorite dolls entered the room as a group. The tables featured an elegant “Golden Jubilee Cissy” as the centerpiece. The Service Award, the highest honor given to a member of the MADC, was presented to Georgia Shields for her outstanding contributions to the club. There was a lively auction for a OOAK “Cissy Scarlett” and, as the evening drew to a close, the convention souvenir doll was distributed — an 8-inch Wendy named “Blessings from Margaret,” the closing associated with Margaret Winson’s correspondence to club members.

The 30th MADC convention is scheduled for June 20-23, 2012, in Albuquerque, N.M.. For more information about the Madame Alexander Doll Club and next year’s convention, visit or call the club office at (212) 368-1047.
2010 Tonner Halloween Convention—Mysticism and Mayhem
Written by Superadmin   
Thursday, 29 September 2011 17:42

Zombies, witches and ghouls, oh my!  For those who love dolls and also enjoy celebrating Halloween “whole-hag,” the 2010 TonnerRobert (“mad, bad and dangerous to know”) Tonner channeled Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter at the opening-night Trick or Treat program. His lovely companions are Tonner Doll staff members Michelle Hodge as the White Queen and Shauna Perry as Alice. Halloween Convention, held at the Sheraton hotel in Burlington, Va., from Oct. 29-31, 2010, was the place to be for spook-tacular fun. Where else but at a Tonner Halloween event can you dress up in wacky costumes, scoop up fabulous dolls by the armload and watch male trick-or-treaters dressed as a Mei Li doll and Mom from Psycho compete for a costume prize?

More than 250 collectors attended the event, some traveling from as far as France and Germany to join the freaky festivities. The three-day schedule was jam-packed: four full programs, each with its own dress-up theme and event doll offerings; four workshops/seminars; two terrifyingly tempting salesrooms; and a multiple-category competition.

Many longtime Tonner fans were on hand, including Deryl Colson from Georgia, a veteran of eight Tonner events. “I give this convention two thumbs up!” he says. “I was wowed by the incredible centerpiece dolls and the outstanding costumes by the attendees. And I especially like how Robert always tries to meet each person and make him or her feel welcome.”

The conference souvenir, The Queen of Hearts, was inspired by Tarot card art. Limited to an edition of 250, she has the “Tyler” sculpt. The hunky The King of Hearts uses the “Batman” sculpt. He is limited to 200.Convention first-timer Sophia Paliotti, 9-year-old daughter of mom Laurie-Ann Paliotti from Rhode Island (attending her second Tonner event), dressed as Harry Potter heroine Hermione Granger for the opening-night Trick or Treat program. (Laurie-Ann was costumed Professor McGonagall.) Wand at the ready, Sophia couldn’t decide what excited her more: the convention dolls or the eagerly awaited release of the seventh Harry Potter film!

Tonner Design Director Joe Petrollese was up to the challenge of developing concepts for the event’s 14 centerpiece and souvenir dolls. The trick to creating these treats, he told DOLLS, was to interpret Halloween themes in a way that maintained the “Tonner fashion slant.” Petrollese explained, “We couldn’t be too literal. A representation of ‘Death,’ for example, could be a skeleton in a hooded robe, but we had to do it for our collectors.”

The result? Inspired, in part, by tarot card art, the Tonner “Death” centerpiece doll is a hauntingly beautiful, alabaster-toned version of the Wicked Witch of the West sculpt, garbed Goth-style in flowing black chiffon. She is intense but not scary. (In the tarot deck, Death can symbolize a powerful transition.)

Tonner and Petrollese kept also kept practical matters in mind when creating the event dolls: For this reason, the “Big Bad” and “Who’sTwo of the most popular centerpiece dolls was this his-and-her werewolf duo, Who’s For Dinner (limited to 125) and Big Bad (limited to 100). For Dinner” his-and-her werewolf centerpiece dolls had removable tails and ears. And for collectability, edition sizes were kept small, with many dolls limited to only 100 pieces. “We kept the editions close to the bone!” Petrollese joked.

This was Tonner Doll’s third Halloween convention to date, and the third time was the charm.  Tonner noted, “This year, it was wonderful to see the complete involvement of the collectors with the events and their costumes.” Many attendees spent months planning and creating their Halloween attire and competition entries. The Macchia family (mom Stacey, dad Michael, and daughter Brighid) from Pennsylvania dressed in to-die-for costumes (some were handmade by Stacey) for each program, earning the grand prize for best costume—a free registration to the upcoming 2011 Tonner Convention.

Poor Matt! AnneMarie Biegner’s Beware of the Black Widow captured the People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice prizes for best competition entry.More than 50 eye-popping entries were submitted to the competition. AnnMarie Biegner of Rhode Island snared the People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice prizes for her sinister black widow: an eight-legged “Stella” trapping hapless “Matt O’Neill” in her web. Maryland-based designer, Miriam Shepard O’Mahoney, earned three judges’ ribbons for her creations, as well as the Robert’s Choice award for best entry for “Time Traveler,” her  steampunk-style witch. “There were so many good entries,” Robert said.  “The doll I picked was well executed and beautifully thought out.” The final convention highlight—for Tonner and the attendees—was the foot-stomping “Thriller” dance number performed at the closing program by Tonner and his staff. The Tonner zombie team rehearsed for seven weeks to prepare for the performance, which was wonderfully choreographed and good fun to boot.

Integrity Toys & Jason Wu’s: Dark Romance

Like their trend-setting, sought-after dolls, Jason Wu and the team at Integrity Toys know how to do their conventions up right, too. ThisJason Wu and Vaughan Sawyers conceive many of the Integrity Toys designs that wow collectors around the world. year, Dark Romance, which more than 400 guests enjoyed Oct. 28-30, 2010, was no exception. The Integrity Toys staff came on stage to honor owner Percy Newsom for a job well done during the last decade. The company’s 10th convention to be held in six years, took place in Pittsburgh, Pa., and featured the attendance of Sherrilyn Kenyon, best-selling author of the Dark Hunter novels from which the Integrity Toys character dolls were produced for The Ashton-Drake Galleries. Fashion design superstar, and part-owner of Integrity Toys, Jason Wu was also in attendance for Saturday’s events.

Collectors enjoyed a stunning convention collection against the equally stunning backdropSouvenir1 of flawlessly orchestrated events, workshops, museum, design competition, sales room and the Design-a-Doll Studio II. With impeccable event design (down to the Dark Romance hotel room key cards) top-of-the-line gourmet food, the best in local live music, scads of exquisite dolls and freebies, a rocking awesome costume party, and stars in attendance, collectors went away satisfied they had attended the doll event of the year.
2010 Modern Doll Collectors Convention: Kaleidoscope: a Return to Elegance

A kaleidoscope is defined as a complex pattern of constantly changing colors and shapes, and the 2010 Modern Doll CollectorsThe annual Fashion Doll Runway was held at 201 MDCC and “Ellowyne Wilde” was this year’s model. Volunteer designers created amazing ensembles for Ellowyne, and after each one was walked down the runway, they were auctioned, with the proceeds benefiting Brenner Children’s Hospital at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. Convention reflected the theme in a multifaceted array of pre-convention activities, breakout events, seminars, workshops, gatherings, a fashion doll runway and a gala closing banquet.

The MDCC convention services coordinator and manufacturers’ liaison, Billie Stevens, at the 2010 convention with husband Bob. The convention kicked off with the opening luncheon hosted by the Vogue Doll Co. Vogue was one of 11 manufacturers and artists who held breakout events during the convention. Others included: Alexander Doll Co., Tonner Doll Co., Berdine Creedy Originals, Kish and Co., Horsman, Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls, Boneka, Wilde Imagination, Heidi Plusczok and Goodreau Doll.

Between the meal events, conventioneers could participate in six different workshops and try their hand at adding special touches to gorgeous gowns, knitting hats for their dolls, smocking sundresses, making kimonos from hankies,Shabby-Chic1 painting doll faces or customizing vinyl dollies. If you were creatively challenged, you could attend one of two programs, visit the helper room, enjoy the Ann Estelle gathering, or participate in the Yahoo Group’s new event this year, a “Buy, Sell or Trade” Meet and Competition.

Helen Kish and collector Jackie Obinski at the event Kish held at the 2010 MDCC.After dinner on Friday evening, the annual Fashion Doll Runway was held and “Ellowyne Wilde” was this year’s model. Volunteer designers created amazing ensembles for Ellowyne, and after each one was walked down the runway, they were auctioned, with the proceeds benefiting Brenner Children’s Hospital at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.

The fun-filled doll event closed on Saturday evening with the Shabby Chic Ball, where Ellowyne Wilde was the guest of honor. Many of the attendees wore their very best shabby chic attire, which added to festivities. A special Ellowyne lounged on her chaise, suffering an attack of chronic ennui while serving as the centerpiece doll but, as part of the program, her doctor (a.k.a. Robert Tonner) gave an in-depth report on the state of her condition. At the end of the evening, Ellowyne rose to the occasion and appeared as the souvenir in a delightful shabby chic gown.

2010 Tonner Convention a Home Run!
Wednesday, 26 May 2010 17:00
The 2010 Tonner Doll Collectors' Convention, themed The Sun, The Moon and The Stars, was held May 20-23 in Lombard, Ill. Click here for DOLLS coverage of the outstanding event.
Modern Doll Collectors Convention 2009
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 06 November 2009 17:58
Doll and Teddy Bear EXPO 2010
Wednesday, 08 July 2009 21:05

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