Miriam Bos, a free-lance graphic designer and illustrator from the Netherlands, discovered her first BJD on the internet. The doll fascinated her, and she began to search out more dolls and more information. The more she found, the more interested she became. The clincher for her was how customizable the dolls were. “when I found out that their faces could be painted by yourself and that it was also possible to customize them in any way you could think of, I knew that I really would like to have one.” After much hesitation, Miriam finally decided to purchase a Cerbus Project Miyu from eBay. “Man, she gave me the shivers. I had never spent so much money on something not practical in my whole life. By practical I mean something like tools. I usually only bought things like computers, printers and scanners, because I needed them for my job. But this was the first time I bought something this expensive for a hobby.”
Miyu’s first face-up was a self described ‘failure’. “It was done in a dark room without enough light and with the wrong size of brushes, so yeah it was not so good. Next day with daylight I saw what I had done, and it was… interesting.. ” Soon Miriam became an avid visitor to doll forums where she learned more information on the dolls. As she learned more about modding and face-ups, she became more confident that she could tackle them. Before she knew it, friends who saw her dolls were requesting face-ups from her. “Some of my friends sent me their heads for a face-up as well which gave me a bit more of practice, and after a while I considered doing commissions.” Before she knew it, her skills became known and she had a new business. “At the moment I have done a big amount of face-ups in a short period of time, and I love it.”
Modding dolls attracted Miriam too. Her first ‘victim’ was a spare head from Dream of Doll. “With apoxie I made her some big elven ears. It was my first try, and I was rather happy with the result at that moment. Later I have removed them again and have redone them. I am never happy for long ” To gain more modding experience, Miriam picked up inexpensive used heads. She has tried to push her abilities with each of her modds. “I recently finished my Chobits project. I modded a winking Unoa Lusis faceplate. I opened her eye a bit for the manga big-eyed look, removed her ears and added magnets, and then sculpted her Chobit ears out of apoxie. She was really a fun mod to work on. I also modded a Puki Puki head recently and gave her a critter face (like a mouse or rat or bunny). I made her magnet rabbit ears and mouse ears. When I have time I am going to airbrush them…and there are more projects waiting for me. Time is always lacking though!”
Miriam opened an online site for her face-up service called ‘Sweetly Twisted’. Much of her business comes from Doll Forums like Den of Angels, Sweet Addiction, and Dutch Dolfie Dots, and through her Flickr account. Most of her business is face-up work, but she has done some modding work for clients too. “What I do mostly are lip mods, or scar mods, or mods for which I have to adjust the shape of a face a little. For example, I recently received a Dollpire (from Dollmore), and the client didn’t like the heavy eyebrows much, so I sanded them and shrank them to normal size. A little while back I did a scar mod for a doll that had to look like the scar of ripped wings, a little bit gory.”
Her interest in BJDs also spread to other family members. “After a while I started to infect my family with my enthusiasm for BJD’s and being so creative with them. The result was that my mum and my sister now both own their own BJD’s. And my mum is very busy with making pretty clothes for them all the time.” Miriam’s family who own Triskel Fantasy Shop, began to include various doll lines in the shop. Fairyland, Souldoll, Cherishdoll, Doll in Mind, Pipos, Angell-Studio (to be added soon), and Charles’ Creatures Cabinet. ”
Being a part of a family that runs a hobby store has proven very handy. “It’s great that we own a webshop that sells hobby products. Of course this is really helpful for me, because I can get my materials a little bit easier. This way I can get a lot of experience with different kinds of products as well. My mum especially tries things out herself so she can tell customers how it works (and me too of course). ” It really helps that my mum is also a very creative person. She has a lot of knowledge when it comes to hobby materials and other creative products. I often ask her for advice, or discuss things, like different kinds of apoxie or whatever comes to mind.” You might say that Hobby Materials and Dolls were not exact a logical decision, but for us it clicked. Collecting BJD’s can be a very creative hobby.” Face-up services from Sweetly Twisted can also be obtained through the Triskel website.
At this point, Miriam has built up a moderate collection of BJDs in different sizes from different manufacturers. “My own collection now consists of 10 BJD’s. It’s pretty crazy. But also fun. They are my own little projects. I own: CP Miyu (Miyu), D.O.D. E-an(Anemone), Narin Charisma (Finn), Unoa Lusis/mnf hybrid (Floortje), Unoa Winking Lusis/lati hybrid (Chii from Chobits), LittleFee Pipi (Marcus), MiniFee Seorin (Sander), Pipos modded Curo (Beatle the Buccaneer), Puki Puki Pipi (Minti) and Charles’ Creatures Cabinet Kayu.” She enjoys working on dolls whether hers or her customer’s. “It is really so cool that there are people who like to have a face-up on their doll done by me. It’s really a thankful job, and it’s great when someone is happy with the doll they receive after the facial paintings. It’s always a bit exciting as well.”