When Mary Benner was a little girl, she loved playing with dolls. Her grandmother loved dolls, too, and when Mary visited her on the farm, she had full access to the huge trunk in the attic that was filled with old dolls, doll clothing and accessories.
As Mary grew up, her love of dolls was put “on hold”. Then in 1989, her passion was revived when she attended a doll making class with a friend. The rest, as they say, is history. With encouragement from her husband, Mary’s doll business grew and thrived, and then in 1996, Mary added a new dimension, when she began sculpting her own artist dolls. Mary specializes in elegantly detailed Victorian era costuming for her artist dolls and her beloved antique re-creations. An award winning artist, Mary and her husband, Allen (her right-hand man!) have two daughters.
Sandra Bilotto, is a gifted award winning American doll artist and knows what makes collectors feel good. From the time she was a little girl, she was always using her hands to build or create things. She loved sewing doll dresses, making puppets, and building doll theatres. As she grew, she studied the violin, but a greater dream was to become a violin maker. She studied art in high school and apprenticed to a violin maker before going on to college where she studied three dimensional designs. She worked for several toy companies and went back to NYU post graduate medical school to become a prosthetist-orthodist. Her reputation for quality is unsurpassed and she sculpts with elegance, great sensitivity and perfection.
Sonja Bryer has loved dolls all of her life. Her home and studio are an impressive "museum" of the many dolls she's sculpted and collected through the years.
1980 was a benchmark year for Sonja as she began selling her dolls commercially; became a member of ODACA and UFDC doll associations; and won several (of what would become many) awards for her first portrait doll.
Since that time, she has received many other honors, including having her sculpt, "Norma Jean" featured on the cover of "Contemporary Doll" magazine. Sonja's sculpts have a uniquely feminine distinction to them. She is truly a master portrait sculptor.
Kymberli Durden, is a daughter, grand-daughter, wife, and mother. As a grand-daughter, she was taught to appreciate and to develop art. As a wife and mother, she has been provided a close-up view of the myriad emotions that children’s faces reveal. She has been introduced to some form of art since her beloved grandmother taught her to crochet at the tender age of five. “My God-given love and desire to create has bloomed continually from that point. As an artist, I am fascinated by the art form of doll making and the many great artists that have come before me.” Kymberli says, “It is these two things that drive me, and that peaks my passion and love. A passion and love so strong that I find myself working from dusk to dawn researching and applying the techniques of this great art form.”
After studying in Pittsburgh and Rome, Italy, Michael Evert moved to New York City in 1981 and began wide-ranging work as a sculptor. He has done the original sculpture for many mannequins, including projects for the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, working from life with prominent fashion models as well as with illustrators and fashion designers. His first doll sculpt was Mel Odom’s Gene in 1992 and he has done a number of dolls with Mel, Marie and others since. He lives in downtown Manhattan with his wife, son, and daughter who are all presently coping with a new puppy.
Paula Nelson-Hart, a self proclaimed creative diva, lives, works and creates “outside the box.” She grew up in Southern California, where her mother filled her childhood with a passion for art, design and creativity, lovingly supporting Paula’s early clothing design efforts by allowing her to wear some of those first (and often very odd) creations to grade school. Paula studied fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, and then continued her education at Brigham Young University. Living in the mountains near Sundance, Utah, she loves to integrate her love of nature and the inspiration of “her mountain” in her designs. “I love the challenge of translating nature’s perfection into wearable art, especially for these beautiful dolls.”
Ping Lau was raised and educated in Singapore. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the National University of Singapore. She returned to her "true calling" in art, however after immigrating to the U.S. in 1989.
Although she has been painting all of her life, she began sculpting dolls in earnest when she came to America and realized how many people shared her fascination and love of dolls. Her dolls are meticulously detailed, depicting children of all ethnic groups, which reflect her own exposure to many different cultures throughout the world.
Her dolls receive tremendous response and recognition and are occasionally mistaken for real children!
Pat Moulton, has been an artist for as long as she can remember, with oil painting, drawing and sculpting to her credit. She is a self-taught artist learning by trial and error. She is always open to learning and strives for the best so that she can give her very best to others. She comes from a family of artists. Her grandmother was an artist, an aunt and uncle as well as her mother. It was just in the cards that art would be her career. As a young person, Pat's first career was a licensed hair stylist and salon owner. She then had three children and four grandchildren with a great supporting husband by her side to make sculpting her career. She has many published articles on how to sculpt. She also teaches others in a classroom setting on how to sculpt. She is always willing to share the art of sculpting with others.
Tawny Nix comes from a family of talented artisans. Sewing, crocheting, knitting and making crafts has been passed down through the generations of her family, so crafting comes naturally to her.
When she first started making dolls, they were primitive cloth dolls. She loved the feel of the cloth dolls, but wanted more depth in their faces. Tawny read an article about molding cloth over a sculpted medium, and hence, a lot of experimenting and designing began.
She started with molding a dyed fabric over other artist’s porcelain heads, but she desired to use her own faces, so she taught herself how to sculpt from books and also how to create her own molds. “I can’t tell you how many plaster disasters I’ve had in my garage”, says Tawny! In 1998, her hobby turned into a part-time business, as she started selling her original dolls at area craft and doll shows.
Tawny is an award-winning artist who says, “I feel very blessed to have been given the opportunity to share my talents and give something that evokes emotion in people . . . happiness, comfort and joy. For me, that is the best thing about being a doll artist.”
Jane Pinkstaff, discovered sculpting about 10 years ago when she stumbled upon some clay in her son’s room, found it intriguing and began “playing” with it. Although Jane came from a family of artists, she had always been considered the “math and science” type. After discovering her talent, she found herself drawn to the challenge of duplicating the human face, emphasizing realism and attention to the smallest detail. Today, Jane’s specialty is sculpting realistic, life-sized, one-of-a-kind babies. The life-like babies have been featured in many doll and collector magazines and Jane’s one-of-a-kind dolls are considered treasured collectibles. Today, Jane lives in Livonia, Michigan with her husband and is a beloved mother and grandmother.
Jo Ann Pohlman lives in a suburb of Chicago, where for many years she worked from her home, teaching ceramics and doll making classes, specializing in reproduction dolls.
After spending several years working with others’ sculpts, she felt a desire and need to start sculpting her own originals. She is a self-taught artist who began sculpting dolls in the mid 1990’s. Jo Ann has sculpted dolls for many of the industry’s top companies. She has a unique ability to capture the innocence and realism of a child.
Jo Ann is inspired by the expressions and personalities of small children
and it is her desire that collectors enjoy her dolls as much as she
enjoys creating them!
Jen discovered her life's work at the early age of nine when she realized she was an artist. For many years, she has drawn and painted with colored pencil. In May 2004, Jen discovered the world of art dolls. Since she was a child, Jen has wanted to create a doll. Discovering how to create one was fulfilling a childhood dream. After that first doll, Jen was hooked.
Jen is a member of The Professional Doll Makers' Art Guild. In September 2006, Jen graduated from the Professional Doll Makers program at Johnston Original Artdolls Academy of North Salt Lake City, Utah becoming a Professional Master Doll Artist.
Jen's award-winning dolls can now be found in collections throughout the world. She is looking forward to seeing where this adventure takes her.
"I enjoy capturing a moment through my dolls. Children grow so fast. It's so easy to miss the moments."
“Honey I’d like to make just one doll!” That was truly a profound understatement and the beginning of Monica’s doll career. Already a cosmetologist and advanced hair and color technician, she had a deep desire to do more in the fine art field. It was an insistent gnawing that wouldn’t go away!
Supported by her family and husband John’s encouragement to sculpt her own original dolls after a decade of doing reproduction work, she received additional training at the College for Creative Studies, Wayne State University in Michigan. In addition she attended seminars by renowned teacher and artist Philippe Faraut.
Monica has become an international award winning, published doll artist and designer known for her dedication to excellence in porcelain doll artistry; especially her painted eye technique and her innovative renditions that capture both reality and fantasy in her dolls.
Donna RuBert, was a born artist. From childhood she honed her skills and studied with renowned artists the world over. While still in her twenties she was awarded a lifetime teaching certificate for California colleges and taught her unique and realistic method of painting and drawing for eighteen years. Donna enjoyed years of success with her painting but she could not touch her painted subjects so she decided to try combining painting with sculpting, and in 1990 her first doll, “June” was born. In this one doll, Donna finally found the magic she had been searching for all of her life. Her superb oil portraits, portrait sculptures and dolls are recognized worldwide. Today, Donna lives in Roach, Missouri with her husband and is a beloved mother and grandmother.
Since her childhood, Jessica has been fascinated with babies and dolls. In the summer of 2004, while searching for dolls on the Internet for her daughters, Jessica discovered the wonderful art of hand sculpted one-of-a-kind baby dolls. She loved the unique quality and characteristics each had to offer. Jessica knew she had to try sculpting for herself. She has sculpted nearly everyday since then.
Karen began sculpting porcelain dolls in 1989 when her mother read an article about doll sculpting. Knowing her daughter's artistic ability, Karen’s mother went out and purchased some clay and sculpting supplies, dumped the lot on a table in front of Karen and told her to get started. The rest is history!
Karen enjoys sculpting all types of dolls, and reveals that "when I am truly into a work, something else seems to take over, so that my hands seem almost to work of themselves."
Karen not only credits her mother with her love and talent for doll making, but her father as well. He is an accomplished portrait artist, and Karen was following in his footsteps until the sculpting bug bit her. "Once I stuck my fingers into the clay, I was hooked," says Karen. "And I haven't drawn another portrait since!"
Rachel Scott, the daughter of renowned doll artist Karen Scott, was constantly surrounded by creativity while growing up. She remembers going to many doll shows with her mother and grandmother. She loved seeing all of the dolls and spending time with her family at the same time. At 19, Rachel tried her hand at sculpting a head, not knowing that the “creativity” inside of her would soon take over. Her mom has taught her a lot and she is grateful for that. Who would have thought that all of her “mess making” as a child was actually preparing her for her future.
Karen began her costume designing when, at the age of six, she created costumes for tag board paper dolls.
She jumped into sewing for profit one Christmas season, designing an entire Barbie Fashion Show for her sister Michele; her friends; and their moms, grossing a whopping $10!
Karen loved designing and sewing her own clothes, as well, and she received her B.S. Degree from Brigham Young University in Clothing Construction and Textiles. Time would prove the wisdom of this decision, as she was able to combine being a stay-at-home mom with a career she enjoyed. (She and her husband, Ron, have 6 children.)
Although Karen has created her own clothing line for Nordstrom; had her own sewing business; does film work, including “Touched By An Angel” to name a few . . . working with the Marie brand, Karen admits she’s come full circle, back to the very thing she began doing as a young girl, designing and sewing for dolls. “Working with Marie and Lisa, is the best way I could use my talents. I love doing this, and the three of us have become good friends along the way!”
First ceramics; then reproduction dolls; then ultimately being tutored by Hummel’s Master Sculptor . . . Beverly Stoehr finally began sculpting her own dolls in 1989, which she admits, “Was the beginning of a new life for me.”
Beverly met Marie Osmond in 1997. They formed a successful working relationship and a treasured friendship, resulting in many collaborations together, including Marie’s first real sculpting effort . . . “Olive May”.
Beverly enjoys teaching other budding sculptors as well, as they develop their skills to create treasures for future doll collectors. She is an award-winning sculptor who offers this sage advice based on personal experience . . . “If you have a dream or passion for something, don’t be afraid to follow it. Sometimes, those dreams come true!”