The Hobart Doll Show


This weekend the Hobart Doll Show is being held at the Hellenic Hall in North Hobart. I always try to get to it as we don’t have many doll shows in Tasmania and this is the only one that is easy for me to get to.

The show is put on every year by the Hobart Doll Club and the main feature of the show is the competition for porcelain doll makers.   The club holds classes and workshops for its members. The theme of this years show was “Roaring Twenties”. Here is one of the prize winners.

A Flapper from the Roaring Twenties
A Flapper from the Roaring Twenties

To be honest although I think some porcelain dolls are beautiful and I admire the skills of the people who make and dress them I really prefer play dolls. The porcelain ones display very nicely but you can’t really do a lot with them. They are not meant for that.

A lot of the dolls I saw today were “Reborns”. For those that don’t know Reborns are vinyl baby dolls which have been repainted to resemble real babies. They have really delicate looking skin and are often weighted to imitate the feel of a real baby. They can be scarily realistic. I had my own “Baby in the Bag” moment when I saw a lady carrying one of these dolls around the show. It looked so realistic I actually did think it was a baby at first glance even though she was carrying it in rather an odd way for a real baby. Reborns sell for insane amounts of money because of the complicated and time-consuming process of creating them. Baby chimpanzees and other primates are also getting the reborn treatment now although I think the artists are trying to make them more like baby humans than baby animals. The show had a fantasy section too which included a baby Dracula if you can believe it.

Two of the Fantasy category entries.
Two of the Fantasy category entries.

Here are some competition entries that I liked:

DSCN3808

Prize winner in the Toddler category.
Prize winner in the Toddler category.

There were also categories for cloth dolls. There is a club for cloth doll makers in Tasmania too. It is called the “Not Just Cloth Dolls Club” who meet on the third Saturday of every month. Here are a couple of samples of what the cloth doll makers have been up to.

Cloth dolls
Cloth Dolls at the Hobart Doll Show
Prize winner in the Cloth Dolls Fantasy category.
Prize winner in the Cloth Dolls Fantasy category.

Of course there were trade stalls too and these were the main reason that I wanted to go. As well as painting supplies for the reborn artists, haberdashery, patterns, kits and dolls dresses there were modern dolls and teddies for sale and a smaller number of older ones.

Dolls and bears for sale.
Dolls and bears for sale.

I didn’t see many dolls I liked that I could afford at first but on my third circuit of the hall I discovered a little vinyl Pedigree doll in a basket. I swear she hadn’t been there the previous time I’d passed that stall. I picked her up and she was hanging on to a smaller baby doll by the ribbon of its sash. I wasn’t sure if they were meant to be together or not but the Pedigree girl was only $7. That was a bargain as she was spotless and had all her eyelashes and her original shoes although she had been redressed. The stall owner assured me that the two dolls were meant to be together, “A doll for a doll.” she explained. We both knew I was getting a bargain but she didn’t mind which was nice.

I wasted no time in taking a photo of my new doll. I won’t have much to do to her, just a bit of a hair tidy up. I will find her a new dress though because I don’t really like this one. Tomorrow she’ll be meeting the rest of the British Doll gang on the shelf in the doll room. She is marked “Made in England” and I’d put the date to the early 1960s. My sister had a doll a lot like this except she had bright red hair. The little friend doll is marked U.D. Co. Inc 1969 Hong Kong which is a pretty nice description so I hope I’ll be able to trace the company that made her.

My newest doll.
My newest doll.
Here she is with her little friend.
Here she is with her little friend.

As a bonus I also discovered that there is a lady doing doll restorations in Hobart and have got her contact details. That’s great because I have two or three dolls I’d like work done on and I really didn’t want to send them or take them to the mainland in case they were lost or damaged on the way there or back.

The sun shone, I had a lovely walk through North Hobart and took a lot of non doll photos so all in all a very enjoyable day out.

Links:

http://www.stillmomentsnursery.com/store/ – see some reborn dolls

http://www.ebay.com.au/gds/The-Ultimate-Porcelain-Doll-Buying-Guide-/10000000177627406/g.html

http://www.porcelaindollsbyme.com.au/index.html- making porcelain dolls

http://www.allcrafts.net/dolls.htm#clothdolls – patterns for cloth dolls

 

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4 comments

  1. I also prefer play dolls though I admire the craftsmanship involved in the doll making process. I’ve done a lot of doll restringing, repainting, redressing, etc. But never wanted to build my own. I not really very crafty. I just like dolls.

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    • I’ve made teddy bears and rag dolls, the simple kind that children play with not artist dolls and bears which are what they had at the doll show. I admire the craftsmanship but I don’t consider these to be toys.

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