Tiny dolls are more popular than ever, and there are many more available than when I began collecting dolls in 2007. While originally I was exclusively a collector of larger dolls, I have since succumbed to the charms of smaller dolls ever since I purchased my first tiny one, a Brownie (made at the time by Felix), and my first 1/6 size doll, a DollZone Ani from JunkySpot. Since then, my smaller-scale doll collection has grown quite a bit! (Note: This article does not include anthro dolls. Hopefully a future article will be devoted exclusively to animal dolls.)
Small is beautiful, and also cute, funny, silly, or downright ridiculous! Little BJDs are taking over more and more doll collections. The reasons vary. Some people like the smaller price-tag of many (but not all!) tiny dolls. Others cite the smaller space the dolls take up in their home. Tiny dolls are fun photo subjects. Collectors can also find a wide variety of furniture and accessories made for doll houses and children’s toys that are in-scale to their dolls.
The past year has been a great one for collectors of smaller BJDs. Some new companies with tiny doll lines have opened such as Dream High Studio and Doll Leaves, and established companies like Angell Studio and Crobi Doll have added new lines of smaller dolls. Other companies have expanded their current lines to tempt the collector. One popular trend in BJDs in the under 30 cm category is the expansion of choices for mythological creatures. Soom Emporium’s The Gem introduced their first Teenie Gem Monthly Dolls in February 2009 when Glot and Glati were released. The introduction of smaller scale dolls with hooves, paws, horns, and tails has inspired other companies to design their own fantasy creatures. Many of these BJDs are sold as complete human dolls with add-on parts so the owner can re-assemble the doll with fantasy limbs and magnetic attachments to turn the doll into a cat, or an imp. This year ImplDoll has begun releasing some unusual 1/6 size fantasy dolls including “Tree Baby” Harley with tree trunk legs, leaf ears, and branchy fingers, and the new Greta with chick feet, hands and tail. Normal human dolls can also be adapted with the help of kits from Peapod Doll. The company makes resin parts that can convert a normal little Volks Yo-SD or Soom Teenie Gem into a goat, unicorn, sheep, or mermaid.
Fairies, elves, and similar dolls possess human-type bodies sometimes with different proportions, and they often include magnetic attachments like wings. FairyLand unveiled a new style of doll to their tiny lines with their release of Real Pukis last autumn. According to the company at that time, “The director of the sculpting team at Fairyland wanted to create dolls which look closer to the western idea of fairies.” A new Indonesian doll artist named Donny Harijanto makes his tiny dolls with an East-Meets-West twist. His 5 cm tall fully jointed micro mini BJDs Squee and Boo have become especially popular. He has also created a “Fire Maiden” fairy named Mimi and some full-set sprites which he sells under the name Dream High Studio (sold through Luxour Academy). Carrie Atwood of England has been making dolls in this tradition since her company The Sleeping Elf Lmtd. opened in 2007. This year she has added an all-new doll to the line-up, a sturdy 10 cm tall little elf with long ears named Thistledown. (The doll can also be purchased with human ears). Recently The Gem unveiled their new Fairy Legend line. The Fairy Legend dolls, like other fantasy dolls from the company, come with articulated human bodies and attachable extra feet and wings to convert them into fair folk.
New smaller dolls with more mature proportions have also appeared. PlanetDoll Mini dolls are made to resemble pre-teen or young teenagers instead of the pre-school to elementary school look of most dolls in the 20-30 cm range. Originally the minis were all an all-girl line, but the first boy doll named Paul was just released. Australian doll artist Kaye Wiggs of KazeKidz (sold through Jpop Dolls) released a small Bobobie-cast doll named Sage years ago, but has now returned to the size with a whole new series of pre-teen 25 cm tall girl dolls this year that are similar in scale to the Planet Doll minis. A few baby BJDs are available at this time. The Soom Emporium’s Neo-AngelRegion shop introduced Nappy Choo, a doll that looks similar to to the classic Kewpie doll. New artist Bo Bergemann of Sugar Baby BJDs is preparing to release her third baby soon. The new BJD named Jade Blossom will join Leilani and Chelsea Rose, and all three possess classic chubby baby looks.
A number of doll artists have introduced little dolls in the last year. Though they may be similar in scale, each artist’s work is distinctive. In addition to Kaye Wiggs, American Artists Kimberly Lasher (Kimberly Lasher Originals), Berdine Creedy (Berdine Creedy Originals), and Paulette Goodreau (Goodreau Doll Company), and Korean artist Jung Ji Youn (Limhwa), have released smaller dolls in the last year. Berdine Creedy just introduced her tiniest line of 5″ dolls and previously released a new 8″ line earlier this year at IDEX. Jung Ji Youn introduced the new Aria dolls and created new To You dolls Sara and Mari within the last year. While the Aria dolls and To You dolls are close in size, the Aria girls are sculpted to be children while To You Sara and Mari are teenage to adult dolls.
Unlike larger-scale dolls which tend to have stoic expressions, tiny dolls with more expressive features are becoming increasingly available. Fairyland has been creating these for a while, making wonderful faceplates for their smaller lines. Many expressions including winking, smiling, and laughing are available, and there are also animal faces to turn a doll into a pig, cat, or ducky. Dream High Studio’s micro BJDs currently come with two different face sculpts, each with open or closed eyes. The company will be releasing two more characters soon to join Squee and Boo. Doll Leaves, a new Chinese company, has created a 16 cm tiny line with laughing, crying, giggling, and surprised expressions along with a 20 cm doll line with detachable resin wings. Cherishdoll‘s mischievous Cynical Babies are earlier character tiny dolls. They are still available as basic dolls and are re-released in new full-sets periodically.
There are so many choices, it may be difficult for a collector to decide what to buy! There are little dolls that fit well with larger scale dolls, and tinies that demand their own little world. Doll house lovers can surely find the perfect occupants for a miniature Victorian mansion or a tiny rustic retreat. Rement collectors can also find the perfect doll to play with their sets. Dwellings for smaller dolls will take up less space in the home than would a home for larger dolls, and more furniture and accessories are available for smaller BJDs. Since the dolls themselves take up less space, that leaves more space for all the stuff that they might need!
Banner photo dolls (from left) Doll Leaves Fay with resin wings, DollZone Leo event doll with resin wings, The Sleeping Elf, Lmtd. tiny Mina, Bobobie Sunny, Sugar Babies BJDs Chelsea Rose, and Fairy Garden Tiny Near.
Photos above from top: Peapod Doll mint Mermaid tail, Chelsea Rose and Leilani from Sugar Babies BJDs in Spampy Stuff outfits.
Special thanks to Emory of The Junkyspot. Also thanks to mEda of Luxour Academy and Kaye Wiggs of Kaze Kidz for sending photos especially for this article.