I Play With Dolls

Just for Fun

Not that that’s anything new to those of you who’ve been around a while.

But it bears stating, flat-out and without shame or censure. Why? Because some people think that collecting dolls and figures (much less playing with them as an adult) infantalises us.Of course, the same person who wrote that article previously penned one in favor of playing with Lego blocks as a platform for information. While clearly the author of both articles has proven himself to be a hypocrite, it does make you wonder what makes one set of plastic parts worthy and others, not.

Not a damn thing.

If it makes you happy and doesn’t a) hurt anyone else or b) impede your ability to meet your commitments (like getting to work, paying your bills, or caring for your family) I don’t think it matters one iota how you like to spend your time. So, you know, to each their own. And the aforementioned author could stand a little bit of perspective.

But anyway!

I actually participated in a photo challenge for the last 6 weeks that centered around one of my newest dolls: a Dal from the Pullip family of dolls by Jun-Planning/Groove. I purchased her because she came in a monkey suit (based on the story of the Monkey King, her style name is “Monomono”) so of course she was the correct first choice but she’s proven to be quite fun to dress up in different looks. Each week of Dalicious (held on the Dolly Market forum) had a theme and we had a week to submit our picture. The winners of the challenge will be announced later today, but I definitely don’t expect to be among that number. I was happy enough to make it through all 6 weeks (we started with just over 30 entrants and ended with just under 20).

Kasia will cast a spell on you!

Kasia will cast a spell on you!

The first round’s theme was Magic and I felt pretty good about my entry. Eagle-eyed readers might recognize the background as my Cabinet of Curiosities from a Gauche Alchemy project which happened to just be the perfect size. Kasia (my doll) is hunched over a cauldron (a 3-footed salsa pot) fitted with a bubbler from my Halloween decoration stash to create the lights and mist.

I don't know what treasure Kasia thought she'd find in this pile of bricks...

I don’t know what treasure Kasia thought she’d find in this pile of bricks…

The second round was Adventure, so I went with the somewhat predictable (but reliable) Indiana Jones tribute. I spent a bit of time each night creating her entire outfit (except the shoes, those I ordered from PullipStyle). I was especially proud of being able to rig her in a somewhat realistic climbing pose without using anything more than the crocheted hemp rope anchored around a brick (out of frame) and around her waist (hidden by the overshirt).

Playing at being a grown-up this week.

Playing at being a grown-up this week (officially Dal is only 14).

Week 3, Vintage, was when time started to get away from me a bit. Still, I managed to pull out a pretty decent picture (I think) and at least I was the only one that went the wine-vintage route. The background is a picture I took of Cobb Lane in Birmingham, AL, many years ago but it came in quite handy for this shoot. The dress is a Barbie outfit cinched in at the back for a better fit.

We missed the mark with this one, I fully admit.

We missed the mark with this one, I fully admit.

Mythology–the theme for week 4–should have been a piece of cake. Unfortunately I was under a time crunch and had way too many ideas and way too little time to do any of them justice. I decided to punt with a Birth of Venus-ish shot, but didn’t want to deal with arranging all that hair into a suitably demur shot, so I sewed a pretty little sheath dress for her (with plenty of pearl details) and that’s about all I can really claim went right. But I got a picture in on time and made it through to the next round.

Kitchen fun is better with friends!

Kitchen fun is better with friends!

It was at this point–Week 5, Cooking–I was able to rally quite a bit and pull out the various kitchen playsets I’d begun collecting last year but never used. I also gave Kasia a friend to interact with in the photo (an Ai doll, Matricaria, made by the same company but of a different line), which I think helped. That mini-mixer is an old clock that I think I got right after high school but have been carrying around all this time–sometimes I’m really glad of my magpie-like hoarding tendencies. (Repainting the oh-so-pink props is on my to-do list; even I have a limit!)

What was that noise?!

What was that noise?!

Ending as it did just after Halloween, it’s no surprise that the final challenge theme was haunted. A combination of our spooky “mirror” decoration and some moody lighting produced what I think is a suitably haunted look. Reflection photos always look a little impressive, even with the fun-house appearance of this one.

Despite my mid-contest slump, I really enjoyed participating in Dalicious and look forward to some more informal challenges that are coming up. Staging and photographing the dolls is a common pastime among the collectors (at least those that de-box and play with their dolls–collectors vary in their stance on that) and one I plan to continue. And it’s good practice for non-doll photography, too: the skills of composition, lighting, and post-production (which is minimal in the above photos) are just as important with small scenes as they are big ones, and a convincing miniatures portrayal is something worth striving for.

4 thoughts on “I Play With Dolls

  1. Wow, I had no idea you were a doll collector. My best friend has a few of her own too and some other friends throughout the years.

    I must say, wow… you have displayed a lot of creativity with these photos! I can appreciate all the time and effort it takes to stage a shoot and to do 6 in a row weekly is impressive! Not sure which one is my favorite, but I love all the small touches, like the shoe themed cake in the baking one. 🙂

    1. A friend of mine turned me onto this particular line and it’s just so much fun to indulge my childhood fascination with miniatures and dolls in a way I never could have back then 🙂

  2. It’s a little off your subject, but did you see what went around FB this week concerning American Girls dolls and what the retired ones are worth? I forwarded it to my girls, who are right now kicking themselves for letting those dolls go!

    1. No, I must have missed that one, but I wouldn’t be surprised! You just never know what something will be worth on down the line.

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