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~Charm City Dolls~

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Keysha Costley aka “costleyhobby” has taken her love of little BJDs to the next level. Recently she opened her own company, Charm City Dolls and released her first tiny doll, Verse line Philia. Keysha lent us Philia so she could be transformed into the 2012 New Year Dragon Baby.

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By Keysha Costley

I’ve always been creative – drawing, writing, photography, theater in High School, and I have a Bachelor’s degree in English. I used to do portrait commissions. I first fell in love with Latidoll’s Yellow Lea, and it took me 2 years of oohing and ahhing before I finally took the plunge. Now I’m addicted, of course. I prefer the tinies. I also have a modest collection of custom Blythe, and about a dozen Pullips. I tried my hand at customizing those, but have really been drawn to BJDs.

I just got an idea last fall that I’d love to make my own line of dolls. My partner’s last name is “Muse”, we have a daughter Lyric (who will be one doll), and I live in Baltimore which is known as “Charm City”, so all these pieces just started to feel like kismet. So I contacted the Weiju Factory in China–they are also Island Doll.  I’ve been working with Ivy there since, sculpting and developing my line. I make the sketches, and they make a rough sculpt, and we collaborate until the final product is what I want.

I started with a tiny line, 11cm. I have a second doll in the works. Then I have plans for a 3rd,  and then I’d like to start a second size, around the 15-18cm range. If all goes as planned, I intend a Yo-SD size down the road. All the dolls by Charm City Doll will be “Muses” . There are 9 muses in most literature, and so there will be 9 different muses in the line, 3 different sizes. the first, the tinies, are “Verses”.

Philia is the first Verse, based on Erato the Muse of Love Poetry. though she is more of a companion to the Muse, not the actual Muse. The 2nd will be Aster, the companion of the Muse of Astronomy. Lastly, will be Hyacinth the companion of the Muse of History. As for resin skin-tones, right now it is financially realistic to offer only one skin-tone per doll. Hopefully, if success follows, there will be multiple skin tones available for each mold. For now, Philia is Island tone normal skin, Aster will be snow white, and Hyacinth will be tan. Each doll will have different ears (I think).

It didn’t start out this way intentionally, but the tiny line will be more character-type dolls. I’d like the 15-18cm line to be more “cutesy-baby-face”, and the Yo-SD line will be my “beautiful” line.  The middle size will be called “Lyrics”, and the taller size will be “Arts”, and will be based around the remaining 6 Muses. Even if the line never takes off, I plan on seeing this all out to completion, spaced so that I won’t go broke doing it. I figure it’s like buying a couple of BJDs every 5 or 6 months. Verse doll Aster is due out around March.

Charm City Doll

The OOAK  2012 New Year Baby Dragon Philia was costumed by BJDcollectasy,  face-up by costleyhobby, eyes by Ersa Flora – Doll Eyes. Philia’s Dragon wig was handmade.  Directions for making a similar wig can be found HERE.

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Sketches for next Verse

Sketches for next Verse

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Philia's costume was hand-sewn. The wings and overalls were made of wool felt.

Philia’s costume was hand-sewn. The wings and overalls were made of wool felt.

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Back of wings. They are wired so they can be posed.

Back of wings. They are wired so they can be posed.

The wig was made of scraps of fur with dragon horns sewn on at the seams.

The wig was made of scraps of fur with dragon horns sewn on at the seams.