Well, here we are again. It’s 5pm on New Year’s Eve and time to review the year from a doll collecting point of view. I have just finished reading my 2021 review and can’t help feeling that with a few modifications I could almost post it again as this year does not seem to have been all that different. As you all know I was looking forward to going to the Hobart Doll Show this year but was prevented at the last minute by Polly getting sick. Of course, I wanted to do what was best for Polly but I was very disappointed not to make the trip, not only because I hadn’t been to the doll show in so long but also because I haven’t been anywhere overnight for three years now. Hopefully I will have better luck in 2023.
I was fortunate enough to purchase the Littlechap Family at the Wynyard Market and Canterbury Patch from a Facebook doll group member. My new Kid Kreations playline Flower Magic Sindy from a store in Sydney. Pedigree Little Princess came from an Op Shop in Ulverstone and Regal Connie came from one in Burnie.
My biggest source of new dolls this year has of course been The 180, the collection of dolls that Naomi’s friend was forced to get rid of. Initially we hoped that once her new home was reorganised, she would be able to take some of her dolls back. She was very sorry to have to give them up. However, her circumstances changed again and she was not able to remain in that house so the dolls are here for good now. I’m still in the process of photographing them all but as I mentioned, after that some will be rehomed as neither of us collect fairies, mermaids, princesses or Disney dolls, nor do we really have the room to store them. We will also move on any dolls we have two or more of. Those dolls will be sold hopefully to collectors who will enjoy them. I have put aside a crate where we will store the ones we really like, well the ones I really like I should say. Naomi mostly only collects male fashion dolls these days and there were only a couple in the crates which she didn’t really care for. Naomi wants to cull her older Ken dolls anyway so I think we will be doing a lot of eBay selling next year. We will keep the Round The World outfits which I’m still photographing. It has been a lot of fun trying to ID these dolls and cleaning them up.
As well as the fashion dolls I did adopt several larger dolls who all cleaned up quite well. Finally, there were many boxes of porcelain dolls. Most of them were the sort that you get in gift shops like Homeart, inexpensive modern porcelain dolls. A few were better quality. Some had broken hands or feet. I did buy a new pair of porcelain feet for one of them and fastened it with a cable tie as I thought she would be going back home. Naomi had explained to her friend that we really didn’t collect porcelain dolls and had no room to store them but somehow, they ended up here anyway. Just before Christmas we took the majority of them to a local Op Shop. We had to do it; the boxes had been in the living room for months. Some of them went on display in the front window so I hope that they will find loving homes too.
The doll room is still a work in progress. Next year I hope we’ll be able to put up some more shelving so that I can get more dolls on display. We need some better lighting when we’re doing things in there. It’s too dark to do much photography so we’ve decided to buy halogen lamps similar to the ones that Naomi has put into her art space, a repurposed shed. That will make the task of photographing fashion shoots easier. I do enjoy photographing the dolls outside but I worry about losing shoes and small accessories, it messes up their hair and at least one doll has taken a dive off the railing on a windy day. It will also mean that I will be able to set up my sewing machine at last and maybe start making a few things for our dolls and teddies.
I know I said it last year too but in 2023 I will try to blog more often. Although our readership has dropped off a lot these past couple of years, we appreciate those loyal followers who have been with us for years now and next year I’d like to provide more for you to read and enjoy.
There is one other thing I’d like to address because of a comment I received recently. A first-time visitor said that their first impressions of this blog were that I didn’t look after my dolls and that there was not enough diversity, it was too whitewashed. I replied to the comment but it has bothered me quite a lot since it happened. I think that in nine years it is the first really negative comment I’ve ever received and maybe that’s why. Now, it is true that many of the dolls I photograph look very played with. Of course, the rescue dolls do, that’s the point of those posts, to show how they looked when I got them and what can be done. As for my own dolls, many of them now look a bit played with too. Midge’s legs are so swingy she can’t stand unaided anymore and as I mentioned their hair gets messy when I take them outside. I will never have pristine, perfect dolls because I do play with them. That is what I like to do, dress them, photograph them, tell stories with them. I wouldn’t get as much joy from just looking at them.
The whitewashing comment probably upset me more though. It is true that I have more Caucasian dolls than any other but I do have Asian dolls, Hispanic dolls and African American dolls. I don’t have as many because they are rarer here. When I started collecting you hardly ever saw AA dolls in the shops here. Most of mine are display dolls for that reason, just taken out for the occasional fashion shoot. Many are still packed away.
I have never thought that I should buy dolls on the basis of what is politically correct anyway. If I think they are appealing and I can afford it I buy them and yes, the majority are white. Not because I am white but because I like them. I don’t think about that when I’m playing dolls. They are toys. As Woody said. T.O.Y. You all know that I don’t care for dolls with white or coloured hair so I don’t buy those either, nor do I buy dolls with hairstyles I don’t find attractive. I’m 65 and I don’t need diverse toys to teach me tolerance and respect for others. I think we learn those things as children from the adults around us the same as I don’ t believe Barbie is responsible for body image issues. It is people who put those ideas in children’s heads not toys.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that a child can have a doll that looks like them whether it’s colour, race or physical attributes. Every child should be able to have the dolls that speak to who they are. But I don’t think I should be censured for not having them if I don’t want them. I might add that later that week I got a comment on a photo on my Flickr of some golliwogs. The person had commented “racist dolls”. To me gollies were just soft toys, companions to teddy bears who wore colourful clothing. I never thought about them representing people. Maybe they were intended to but to me as a child they were just toys.
Well, that is my little end of year rant. I had originally decided to just move on from those comments but I kept thinking about it so I had to put my thoughts down. I’ve always tried to steer clear of controversy on this blog. It’s just for fun. I hope that nobody will be offended because that’s not my intention. I should also add that I am speaking for myself alone although I believe Naomi would largely agree with me. I guess we are not very “woke”.
Finally, we thank all our readers for your loyalty and wish you all the best for the coming year. See you in 2023.