this is how I displayed Saranbileg (my Saranbileg head on Therese Olsen’s Twiglimbs 2 body) for NIADA and the UFDC Expressions show.
Her clothing is by Magalie Houle-Dawson of MHD Designs and the photograph is by Lloyd Wilson.

Saranbileg in silks

Kamila Mlynarczyk –

met a great new dollmaker at NIADA, Kamila is Canadian – really sweet person, sells on ebay as Alimaky and has a wonderfully twisted, detailed mind….
her figures are polymer with softbodies and wonderful costumes …. she also gives incredible attention to the details of their environment and presentation.
I really enjoyed talking with her – she created a wonderful printed board book showing her work that I fell in love with….

my personal favorite was her blind girl… Kamla's blind girl

she also had 2 sleeping (?) brothers – Kamila's sleepers

her website is , can’t wait to see more by her….

home from NIADA – Mrs. Fukuda and Robert McKinley

This was an amazing NIADA for me —- I was given a gift of so very much cool encouragement…. I never realize just how very much I crave positive strokes, but this trip really made it obvious to me.

Its so very good to be back home….. Las Vegas in July is just too hot for me! I walked out along the strip one afternoon and it really felt like i was being flash fryed…. it was only 109 degrees, but I found myself pausing in the doorways of the casinos, relaxing in the airconditioning…. Enjoyed the Chihuly flowers at the Bellagio, and saw the Beatles Cirque show at the Mirage….wanted to walk down to see the pyramid but chickened out. maybe next time.

I was given the most incredible kind gift of encouragement from Tomoko Fukuda, a wonderful Japanese Dollmaker, member of NIADA
Mrs. Fukuda's Persimmon child

who came over with her daughter to talk to me about Saranbileg. She said that she knows Mr. Yoshida (who wrote the wonderful book on making Ball jointed dolls – Yoshida Style) and his students who have become professional doll makers, and that she felt that Mr. Yoshida would approve of Saran…..

sometimes, when you are trying to make a doll based on a different culture, you worry that you might offend, or somehow miss the things that make the figure appropriate…. i hadn’t even realized how much I was worried about that until she so kindly spoke to me.

So Therese! we did good!!! and a number of people were wanting to know more about ball jointed dolls and how they could get a body and head like hers.

i’ve spent a lot of years sculpting what i wanted to sculpt, and as long as I was happy with the sculpt, it didn’t matter so much that other folk didn’t often understand the piece or like it. but i have to admit, it sure feels wonderful just once to have made a sculpt that many people like!

Mrs. Fukuda's dolls (with pics of her and her daughter too)

Mrs. Fukuda’s people are real – she had one piece there that caught me completely – an older woman sitting patiently waiting for her cat to wake up and play with her…


I’m going to wallow in the pleasure of having done something “right” for just a little while more, before i go back to my more normal outsider type stuff. funny how seductive a little acceptance is, isn’t it?

But I think that I really want to catch the emotions of a moment in time, like Mrs. Fukuda has done with the old lady and her cat…. maybe that is the lesson i will take away from this NIADA, Saran is beautiful and I love her….. but I really, really wish I had made a piece like the old woman. Ok, so maybe it will be an old lady sitting with her tattoos fading on her wrinkled skin, holding her elderly snake (how do you tell a snake is elderly?)… but I want to catch that sweetly sad emotion.

Mrs. Fukuda’s figures made me think of Robert McKinley’s work. Robert McKinley’s figures were why I wanted to join NIADA in the first place. I bought both of his dollmaking books and tried to follow his way of making figures, when I was first starting out. I’ve heard from a number of people who sent him letters with questions and received wonderful, encouraging replies from him. I never did contact him, being way too shy, but at this NIADA conference, Michael and Jan Langton put up as a helper gift for people to buy tickets for, a little sketch Robert McKinley had done…. and I won it!!!

It makes me smile so very much — thank you Michael and Jan, and thank you so very much Robert — still encouraging us, even now –

sketch by Robert McKinley