Naomi and I had a very interesting visit to the Hobart Doll Show. As well as checking out the stalls we had patients to take to the Dolls Hospital mobile clinic. We had a good browse around the stalls and I made an unexpected purchase at the end.
Although it is a relatively small doll show the Hobart Doll Club’s annual doll making competition is the biggest in Australia. The theme this year was “A Day at the Races”. As well as the various classes for porcelain dolls there was also a cloth doll competition, Reborn dolls and teddies. Let’s take a look at some of them.
A lot of work goes into making these dolls, apart from the actual assembly of the dolls there is the firing, the painting, the research into correct hairstyles and costumes and props. As you can see some of these dolls are pretty large but the tiny ones must be very fiddly to do. I have made bears so I know how important it is to get their features correct. Wonky eyes or badly placed ears can change the character of a bear. As for these cloth dolls, they are very far away from the rag dolls I have made. These have needle sculpting and painting to give them more expression as well as their fancy costumes.
This is my favourite doll from this years competition. Aussies will easily recognise Dame Edna Everage, overseas readers may have come across her in stage shows in the UK or on episodes of Ally McBeal in the early 2000s.
Of course, the stalls are always a big attraction for us and there were a lot of really nice vintage and new items that we’d have loved to take home. There were two or three prams I liked, dolls beds and plenty of dolls from some rather dishevelled Barbies all the way to vintage composition dolls, hard plastic walkers and vinyl dolls. I always like to go round the hall a couple of times before I decide what to buy. Naomi bought a little boy doll to go in her “Beacon Hill” and a cat doll who is very appealing. I’m sure she’ll show them later. We really liked some of the Heidi Ott dolls house dolls but they were too expensive for us to consider this time. I was attracted to a little composition Pedigree baby who was very reasonably priced but in the end, I spent my money on something else but I am getting to that.
We didn’t get these ladies names but we loved their outfits and I asked if they would mind if we shared their photo on this blog. They said that they didn’t mind at all so here they are.
We will be writing a post about the Hobart Dolls Hospital a bit later. They have been operating from a home studio for about five years now and usually come to the doll show where they do small repairs and admit more serious cases to their hospital. As we have so many old dolls and bears we have quite a few in need of more help than we can give them so we each brought a patient to be looked at by Doctor Kitty. Naomi had brought James, one of her vintage teddy bears who needed a leg reattached and Kitty was able to do that while we wandered around the hall. James also received a new growler so he was able to tell us how pleased he was to be mended. I had brought Penny, my 16-inch Pedigree Walker. Penny needs a wig, eyelashes and a face repaint and will also be getting a new crier. Penny had to be admitted to the hospital so I will go and pick her up when she is ready and after that, I hope to be able to tell you more about the dolls hospital. Kitty’s husband Peter was helping at their stall by taking down admission details and collecting the money and we had a nice chat with both of them. Here you can see Kitty working on James while Peter looks on.
The lady in the background is Susan who works at “Chez Moi French Style” a gift shop in Hobart. Last year Susan and Karen the owner had a great display of a French Style Cafe with many fashion dolls. This year Susan had brought a vintage Barbie Fashion Store and was set up next to the hospital. She apologised that many of the dolls in her display had been sold already but it was still a cool display.
While I was chatting to Susan about her display she mentioned that she hoped she’d be able to sell it at the end of the day. Out of curiosity, I asked her how much she wanted for it and it was a lot less than I expected although more than I had intended to spend at the show. In the past, I have often seen things I liked and not bought them because of money, space or shipping. As I finished taking my photos I thought about how I would regret passing up such a great opportunity to buy a vintage Barbie shop. So, I bought it.
Susan was happy to pack it up for me there and then but of course I could not bring it home on the bus so it has gone home with Naomi and she will bring it to my house next time she visits me. If I had gone to the show alone I would not have been able to buy it. Susan told me that she had bought the shop from its original owner in the USA with help from the Australian Barbie Club. She paid a lot more for it than she charged me and she was kind enough to say that she was pleased I was the one to buy it. When I get it home I’ll set it up for a photoshoot and I hope it will become the new home of Vivienne and Jans fashion shows.