Doll Artist Julie has worked in various doll-related businesses for more than 15 years. She originally ran a doll restoration shop called Dollykingdom. Wig designing and selling became an important part of her restoration business, and she eventually hired a family of seamstresses overseas to make doll wigs to her specifications. Julie searches for the materials for the wigs, including mohair and human hair which she supplies to her wig-makers. She has created a steady business selling wigs for customers on eBay under the name Jakzjewelz.
eBay is also where Julie discovered her first BJD, a customized Volks SD girl doll. While that doll was too pricy for her at the time, she eventually found a second-hand Volks doll and purchased it for a fit model. Her first overseas purchase of a doll was a Volks MSD Maggie. Mohair wigs were virtually non-existant for BJDs at that time, and soon her wig business blossomed. Julie stated “I was selling some 20-30 long white mohair wigs a week, then I began to custom color them in vivid coloration.” Jakzjewels still produces wigs for collectors including custom orders. “I have so many styles, we have made probably 100 wig styles minimum. We have 8 big bjd styles and are now doing custom streaking and colors for the Lusion Dahlia kanekasilk wigs. We do a human and mohair mix wig style also, just alot of fun things.”
As she was interested in creating her own dolls and figures, Julie has taken various online sculpting classes. She clarified, “It had not been my intention then to make a BJD, though I began working on different BJD head sizes and shapes putting them on my BJD’s necks, including one exceedingly humorous Lucille Ball head that I worked on for days. It was all for fun. It was only after I found the company who would make my dolls in China that the plan to make a full BJD formed.” Julie’s first BJD was her 1/4 size doll Lierre. The doll was released last year. Lierre was offered in cream white and pale tan “creole” versions. While it took a little time for collectors to discover Lierre, she eventually took off and sold quite well. Soon Julie will be introducing a new sculpt called Eve/Evianna. The dolls will have the same head, but Eve will come with a human body, and Evianna will have a body adorned with vines and flowers in relief. The pre-order will start this fall.
While Julie sculpted the prototypes for her dolls and designs all of her wigs, she is quick to acknowledge that her visions would not have taken form without the talents of others including her wig seamstresses and the skillful staff at the factory where her doll is cast. “I am not big at tooting my horn because it is certainly not my horn alone, I am more of the director as I make use of many other busy hands.”
Q: Can you tell me a bit about your new doll for Jakzjewelz?
A: My newest BJD is probably closest to my roots of sculpting because the vines are on many of my little sculptures in sculpy, I love the idea of being close to the earth and getting energy and life from the living. She is very much an Eve in her own way, of being a first and a unique BJD, while very beautiful and fashionable too. I am delighted in her as an artistic object as well as a playable pose-able articulated little doll. The idea of her being fun for even a novice to customize the vines really gave me further impetus to bring her to life.
I imagine the vine being painted in grey shades of the tattoo, cherry blossoms all pale pink on a deep brown vine, glimmering mica powders, soft pastel chalks and of course acrylics. The leaves could be mottled, a small hummingbird or bee could be painted next to it. I even thought it would be unique to see it painted in relief (all the area around the vine airbrushed in grey shadow while the vine remained white), so I was thinking from the beginning about the collectors enjoyment.”
Q: Do you currently own many BJDs? What are some of your favorite dolls and companies?
A: I own about 20, and my favorite companies include Souldoll, Iplehouse, Dollmore, Kaye Wiggs, Kim Lasher, and Volks.
A: She came about a bit by chance in that I liked the head sculpture and had put it on a Volks MSD body, but had no one to make her into resin and was not even sure it could be done, so for about 2 years she was mine alone. I would model wigs on her and always get more email requests on “who was the doll?” and “where she could be found?” over the wig she was modeling, I realized she needed to be made for collectors to enjoy, but it was only after I found the factory that I was able to bring her into a resin reality.
Q: Will she ever be re-released in the future?
A: The Creole has remained open as some people are still on a list, but the Le Creme Lierre is closed. I have bought a handful to keep, still in factory wrap, but they are out of the original number.
Q: How is Eve/Evianna different from your first doll?
A: The face is a whole new sculpt, I show a side by side on the website, The body with vine is also a little edited from Lierre’s body with a slightly smaller waist and slightly larger breast, it’s subtle and probably not enough of a difference that Lierre’s clothing won’t fit, but enough to give her a little more maturity shifting from the bashful 12-13 year old Lierre to the confidant 15-16 year old girl.
Q: Why did you decide to create two versions?
A: I love the sculptural vine body but wanted the option of a regular human body; versatility for the collector is the main reason.
Q: Can you tell me about your resin color choices for your new dolls?
A: I wanted a green for sure since Evianna is a nature girl and I like the soft green this factory offers. I also liked the lavender resin samples, its very soft and subtle, especially in my mind’s eye of seeing the vine painted in grey tones. It kind of blew me away. I thought the white was nice with the face style and eye shape. I could see it being painted like cherry blossoms in the very dark browns with the softest pink / white flowers. The first two available will be green with vine and white without vine, then the offering will be white with vine and lavender with vine.
Q: Will the dolls be offered in other color choices in the future?
A: If enough requests came in, I would be open for the tan skin. I had originally requested a very dark brown or black shade because I wanted to do a vine in the jeweled tones of mica powders which is very vivid on dark backgrounds, but they laughed a bit at my request, so I guess those shades are not yet available.
Q: Will Eviana’s vines come painted by the factory or left blank?
A: That will be an option choice. The vine is pretty simple to tint with chalks or acrylics, and I look forward to people wanting to do their own and seeing what is done. I know a lot of people are worried to try new things on a face, and I totally sympathize, but on a body its a bit different story, The vine can be painted by the factory in soft pastels but they can’t do individual requests, so it has to be painted like the sample shown.
Q: Are you currently working on any other dolls?
A: Yes, a smaller doll, 11-12 inches, who has been in my mind since I was a youth of 10.
I went to a strict religious school and every morning we had to sit in an elaborately decked out golden chapel on our knees for over an hour praying, I used to dream I had a little angel doll friend who was flying and landing on the elaborate candelabra and climbing in the gilded cages that surrounded the hanging lamps swinging them from side to side, sliding and hanging ten off the polished pews just having a great time in that silent, elaborate but uncomfortable chapel. I would always imagine her in different cool outfits, and she was very upbeat and sweet. In my mind’s eye she was a teen Bridgette Bardot, and she got me through those long mornings as I planned all the styles she would wear.
Photos above: Detail pale green Evianna head with factory face-up, Lierre Le Creme version with Sweet Cherubic Waif Mohair Wig, a BJD doll wearing a Full Curls Tails Mohair Wig.
Jakzjewelz Julie’s website: dolls and wigs