The Austin Doll Collectors Society is an organization of antique, vintage, and modern doll collectors, dealers, and artisans. We meet on the first Monday of each month and our meetings are fun and educational. We begin with refreshments and socializing, and, following our brief business meeting, there is a special doll-related program and "show and tell." The Austin Doll Collectors Society is a nonprofit organization and is a member of the United Federation of Doll Clubs.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 2, 2015, Meeting

 The theme for the refreshments was St. Patricks' Day.

There was a drawing with this sweet colleen as the prize.

Member Kimberley Nystrom did a program showing how she creates her realistic silicone infant dolls.

She brought many examples of her wonderful and whimsical wee ones.

A basket of her itty bitty babies.

Kimberley described the detailed process for creating these newborn babes. She begins by building a metal armature. Using a sculpting material, she then builds the doll over the simple wire skeleton.

Once the sculpting is complete and hardened by baking, she uses the form to make a silicone mold.

This mold is for a baby head that will have inset eyes.

The silicone casting material is poured into the mold, and, once it is set, the mold is peeled off.

These blue babies are forms Kimberley uses to make additional molds. She can use these forms to modify the basic doll, such as making an anatomically correct baby boy.

The doll is then assembled and painted to achieve realistic skin tones and detailed touches.

Members brought dolls to share, like this little dear dressed in John Deere. 

One lucky member displayed her rare Kammer and Reinhardt character doll, still in her original outfit and box!

These are wooden dolls sold as souvenirs for the House of the Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts, made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel of the selfsame name. A recent article in the United Federation of Doll Club's publication, "Doll News," had an informative article about these dolls.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

February 2, 2015, meeting

 The refreshment table was pretty in pink, with a timely Valentine theme.

Member Sharon Weintraub did a program on frankendolls and other fakes.  Sharon explained that a "frankendoll" is new doll cobbled together out of old antique doll parts and broken figurines excavated from the massive dumps behind the former doll factories in the Thuringia area of Germany, such as Hertwig and Company and Limbach. She said that like Frankenstein's monster, these creations are created from buried parts and brought back to "life."   The photograph in the center was taken at a 2014 German doll fair showing a table full of newly created frankendolls.  The larger dolls around the edge of the picture are all frankendolls, while the two small dolls in crocheted clothing are authentic antiques by Hertwig and Company.

Sharon warned the members that some frankendolls are often being offered as rare antique dolls. She said such dolls are not antique, but are new dolls made out of old disparate parts.The dolls are are fantasy pieces that look nothing like the dolls actually produced by German factories.  The little black cat in the crocheted dress is an antique and scarce all-bisque doll by Hertwig.  The doll next to it is a frankendoll, its felt costume hiding the mismatched parts.  The largest doll demonstrates the poorly matched parts, typical of frankendolls.  The little brown and white cat is an antique nodder whose head may have served as the model for the head of frankendoll next to it.  Sharon noted that the same heads keep appearing on the frankendolls, and that they are often of better bisque and decoration than the rest of the doll.  She told the members that she suspected that the most popular heads were being reproduced, so that a frankendoll may not even be entirely of old excavated parts.  The two large cat dolls have their swivel heads attached to the bodies by a piece of wire coming out the top of the head.  Sharon stated that authentic antique all-bisque dolls never had their heads attached this way, so this is one sign of a frankendoll.

Sharon explained that another series of fakes coming out of Germany are new all-bisque dolls dressed in vintage-looking and sold as antiques, often attached to their "original" sample cards or boxes.  These dolls are sold as old salesman's samples, warehouse finds or forgotten stock.  The pair on the display card are modern fakes, and the standing doll is an authentic antique.

Sharon told the members that although the modern dolls are well made, one "give-away"is the facial painting.  They tend to have ill-fitting glass eyes, giving them a bug-eyed look, and spiky eyelashes that splay away from the eyes like bicycle spokes.  Below is a comparison of the facial painting of the modern and antique dolls.

Sharon told the club that another fake all-bisque doll coming out of Germany is a mold number 292 googly with huge oversized eyes. These dolls often come dressed in cute outfits made from vintage-looking fabrics and sometimes are sold in their "original" boxes or tied to their "original" display cards; the dolls have been sold to collectors as antiques, some for hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. These dolls look nothing like the authentic antique 292 all-bisque German googly dolls.  Although the antique 292 models have big googly glass eyes, the eyes are still in proportion with their chubby faces. They also have pudgy toddler bodies and molded socks with Mary Jane shoes.  The dolls on the ends are authentic antique 292 googly dolls, while the doll in the certain represents the 292 imposter (this particular doll is a copy made by talented Canadian doll artist Deb Holt).

Sharon told members that yet another group of reproductions is coming out of Belgium, made by Mundial Company, which does business under the name Keralouve.  She said that although the company no longer makes all-bisque dolls, it still produces bathing beauties and half dolls.  The products, which are not marked by Mundial, have turned up at antiques markets throughout Europe and the United States, where they are often misrepresented as antique.  The quality of a Mundial copy is typically far below that of the antique original, but is good enough to fool many dealers and collectors who have not had a chance to see the authentic antique.  Below is an antique bisque lady by Schafer and Vater in the foreground and the Mundial copy behind it.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

January 5, 2015, Meeting

Member and fabric doll artist Faydra Jones gave a program on her charming creations, inspired by the Waldorf doll.

The Waldorf doll is used in the Waldorf education system, which is based on the educational philosophy developed by Austrian Rudolf Steiner.  These soft dolls are made out of wool and cotton and are intentionally very simple to encourage creative play.

Faydra described how she makes her dolls, using natural cotton and wool.

Faydra hand processes and spins her own fiber and yarn.  She brought her spinning wheel and gave a demonstration to the club.  You can find out more about Faydra's dolls at her website, With Love, Hannah.

(Thanks to Elaine Jackson for providing these pictures!)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Party, December 8, 2014

Member Bette Birdsong again offered to host the club's annual Christmas party at her beautiful home, which was decked out with colorful holiday cheer.

The members provided a wide variety of delicious delicacies for the holiday dinner.

Many members donned their gay apparel (Fa-La-La-La).

Members brought festively-wrapped presents for the gift exchange. . . .

which they eagerly unwrapped and shared.

Perhaps the hit of the party was "Mr. Perfect," a real doll who always knew the right thing to say, such as "Honey,  I love doing the dishes for you!" and "Good morning, I made you breakfast in bed, again!"