“If you should find one perfect thing, place, or person, you should stick to it.”
— spoken by the second Mrs. Dewinter (played by Joan Fontaine) quoting her deceased father in the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock movie Rebecca.
Rebecca and friends
In October 2000, Rebecca arrived in a wooden crate from California, initiating what was for me a new life surrounded by life-size dolls.
Rebecca is a Realdoll created at the turn of the century by Matt and his team at Abyss Creations. Several observers have mentioned that, even in flat photos such as this (if you look away slightly) she breathes. And was that a sigh?
The dolls on this page are some of my family of artificial girls who collectively constitute the Doll Teashop.
I sometimes obtain the assistance of make-up, hair styling, and clothing experts who accompany visiting magazine and television crews.
Caroline was made by Abyss Creations in 2004, although this is her second body, made in 2008.
This was before I glued Caroline’s mouth shut.
Virginia is the youngest headmistress in the history of the school and, likely for that reason (it seems to me) she is overly strict.
I took this photo of Virginia after I glued her mouth closed too.
When Benita photographs your dolls, you can only watch in awe and try to learn as much as you can.
Lina, a Realdoll made in 2006, is the maid. (At least, she is when she is attached to her body.)
Laura, despite being surrounded by a loving family of dolls (and me) is occasionally beset by unfathomable sadness.
Joanna was made by Matt (the other Matt) and Bronwen during their time at the Realdoll factory (Abyss Creations) while Matt No.1 was AWOL.
That’s Virginia on the left and Joanna sitting up and discussing the arrangement with the subject of this documentary made in Canada, pioneering photographer Elena Dorfman, out of view on the right.
So many personnel turned up for this that they could not all fit in the house and some milled about or sat on their many equipment cases outside. Fortunately, the weather was fine.
This sequence for a National Geographic documentary, also in 2009, was not used. Lina at this time was a large doll (this was her first body — much too heavy) but she looks small here only because Steve is a large guy. He had some great experiences to relate, including filming with a hand-held camera under severe G-loads in an aerobatic airplane.
When I leave vehicles in the street outside in everyday life, such as to load or unload hang gliders for a group trip, we risk a fine for unauthorized parking. In contrast, film makers confidently stop traffic and draw small crowds with no problem.
Here, Annabelle is trying out Anoushka’s shipping crate for size in 2016. (She is not going anywhere, however.)
Matt (the other Matt) and Bronwen had, by this time, handed Abyss Creations back to Matt No.1 and started their own doll creation venture.
Compatibility between heads and bodies of different doll manufacturers is rare, but June can borrow Laura’s body. This photo of June is one of a series of three I had on an earlier web site (now gone). The caption to the photo preceding this one was something like, “The hum of insects reminded June of an incident in her family when she was younger.”
Kylie’s face is based on a sculpt by master model maker and doll owner Professor Sakai in Japan.
Cynthia is Annabelle and June’s mother. (Best not to analyse these relationships too critically!) She took a break from her busy life to visit her daughters here in 2013 and she never left.
For more about the Women’s Royal Naval Service of World War 2, see Shooting a line, my review of Requiem for a Wren, by Nevil Shute, 1955 (link farther down).
Faina always seems to me in distress at being ignored or rejected by whichever Prince Charming she is interested in at the time. We comfort each other in our shared suffering. We promised each other that, should either of us get married and/or have children, we will never live more than a short walk away from each other. A more wonderful sister I cannot imagine.
The restaurant scene was part of a television shoot for Japan in 2015.
Faina is named after the character in the 2012 novel The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey. See Snow devils in Alaska, my review of the book (link farther down).
I said to one magazine team that, according to rumour, the Russians were bumping off attractive women living alone, plasticising their bodies, and selling them as life-size dolls. This was met by sideways glances and nervous laughter…
Thermoplastic (TPE) dolls are less expensive, but more fragile, than silicone rubber dolls.
Unlike a real daughter, Eleanor will never leave home and be swept off her feet by a daring young fellow. There will be no fairy-tale wedding for her at the priory. She will never leave me.
Angela is one of the teachers here at Stepford-on-Sea Finishing School for Girls, from which no girl has ever graduated, and no teacher has ever left, retired, or taken maternity leave.
My father’s letter to Sigmund Freud, to which this postcard is Freud’s reply, is in the Freud museum in London.
Rebecca shows signs of age and some obvious shortcomings of the early Realdolls. However, to me she is the most beautiful doll ever made.
This topic continues in Rebecca and friends (page 2).
Guns and roses, my review of Guys and Dolls, a documentary by North One Television, 2006
Lars and the real Everard — my review of the Canadian movie Lars and the Real Girl, 2007
Shooting a line—my review of Requiem for a Wren, by Nevil Shute, 1955
Snow devils in Alaska—my Overview of the novel The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, 2012
Our Doll Community — an alternative forum that includes some manufacturers not catered for on The Doll Forum (and vice versa)
Stacy Leigh Has Dolls — blog of Playboy model turned artist, photographer, and doll owner Stacy Leigh
The Doll Forum — the largest international repository of information about life-size dolls