Welcome to my website
Here you will find galleries of mythical, magical, romantic art, inspired by fairy tales, folklore and themes of transformation. The dolls shown here were made–from beginning to end, one at a time–in my studio in San Anselmo, California. May they bring you some measure of the joy I have discovered in the process of creating them.
I love working in porcelain for its quality and endurance. There is something magical about a medium made up of natural materials that are transformed through fire into a material that has remained largely unchanged since its birth in the Orient more than two thousand years ago. For all these centuries, porcelain has been highly valued for its beauty and strength. Cold, water, sunlight and the passage of time will not affect it.
With more than 35 years of experience working with porcelain comes a certain confidence that enables me to take more risks with my work, I would like to think that my sculpting and attention to detail has improved. There was a period of time when I had a partner and eight employees who helped assemble the dolls. During that period I did not have a lot of creative time, as I was running the business and churning out porcelain to be dressed. So I decided to cut down my production (and income!). Now I make many more one-of-a-kind dolls and fewer production pieces; I spend a lot of time creating intricate detail in my pieces. I want each piece that comes out of my studio to be the best that I can create.
Sculpting & Porcelain Clay
I start by sculpting my pieces in either sculpey or casteline (a wax product). I then make plaster molds of the sculpt and sometimes refine the piece by casting and rescuplting in porcelain clay, then firing it to shrink and making another mold. Until a few years ago I always used premade dollmaker’s porcelain flesh, but now prefer to use white porcelain and washes of flesh-colored china paint to create more depth in the painting.
Once the molds are made I cast them and then resculpt to define features and get the animation that I want. Although I make molds for my work, I individually sculpt each clay piece after it is removed from the mold. This allows me to give each its unique character, and the movement and expression of the figure is not limited by the restrictions of my mold making. Because my work is small I can manipulate the porcelain clay to get the gestures that I want. Often this means cutting the piece apart and reassembling it with clay and slip. I then clean and fire the piece. All my work is china painted which requires several firing in the kiln.
In this world of mass production and assembly lines I think that people find a handmade object very desirable. I try to create pieces that have an heirloom-treasure quality. I hope that my work will endure the test of time and continue to inspire a pleasing response in future generations. I hope people will always stop, look, reflect on what they see and that, if they look deeply enough, they just might find a bit of soul staring back at them.
Most of the pieces on my website were commissioned or have been sold. I’m happy to discuss commissions, with the proviso that while I can make something very similar to a particular doll, it’s impossible to make something identical. Limited Editions will vary slightly from piece to piece–that is, of course, the nature and beauty of handwork.
I like to create a vast range of prices in my work so that anyone can afford something. Certain miniatures that use leftover fabric scraps have sold for $65, while some of my one-of-a-kind pieces have sold for $8,000. The average price of my small editions is about $500.
- Earth & Skystephanieblythe2018-10-09T09:48:45-07:00
- Jewelry & Souvenirsstephanieblythe2018-10-17T09:44:46-07:00
- The Kissstephanieblythe2018-09-24T14:12:59-07:00
American Craft Council
101 Doll & Study Club (President 2007-2012)
National Institute of American Doll Artists (NIADA)
(1st Vice President 2004 – 2007, Standards Chair, Director at Large)
United Federation of Doll Clubs
Women in Toys