“The first Ball Jointed Doll Convention (BJDC) was organized by Rochelle Dolowitz in Round Rock, Texas in 2006. At that time, a new type of doll was coming out of Japan and Korea. These dolls were being cast in polyurethane resin, had a strung internal structure, and had multiple joints. The sculpting was often done in what is now called the Asian Esthetic. There was a core of doll collectors who helped make the first BJDC happen through their love and passion for these dolls. Sherri Rhein has organized the last 3 conventions and is organizing this year’s BDJC Texas. The theme is , which includes all sea related topics from Merpeople (Mermaids) to Pirates. The convention is 3 days and includes a food event for each day, a souvenir bag and other convention goodies. The convention limited edition doll is being made by Kaye Wiggs using the new head mold, Izzy.” ~ BJDC
Two years flew by so fast! The Ball Jointed Doll Convention returns August 2-4 to Austin, Texas. Favorite vendors from previous conventions, including The Doll Peddlar, Michele Hardy Design for Dolls and many others will be joined by new doll makers, fashion designers and retailers. Sherri Rhein has returned to chair the event along with a very capable staff. The theme for this year’s event is The Enchanted Sea. According to Sherri, “Lin, our current treasurer, approached me with the idea for this year’s sea-themed convention. I have always loved the sea and loved the idea. She pitched me an idea for the final banquet’s Final Display that was irresistible!!” Sherri was also enthusiastic about the exclusive convention-only item. For the first time, BJDC has offered a convention-exclusive Limited Edition doll, a new sculpt by KazeKidz artist Kaye Wiggs. Grace from Jpop Dolls is producing her. Grace was happy to oblige, “It was truly an honor to be asked to participate in the offering, as the convention chooses something that symbolizes our wonderful hobby.”
After initially discussing the concept of a convention doll with Sherri, Grace ran the idea by Kaye. “I called Kaye and told her; she was as thrilled and honored as I was. We skyped and emailed back and forth during the sculpting process.” Kaye said she felt that “The face had to have a certain look and be unique. I showed Grace the (prototype) pics and she forwarded them on Sherri. Sherri was pleased with her, so we decided she would be the one for the convention. Sherri wanted a mermaid theme, so I thought maybe she needed mermaid ears. I set about sculpting ears with fins. When I had finished, I didn’t like the look, so I changed the ears to elf ears. I showed pictures to Sherri and gave her the option of having the human or the elf, and she chose the elf.” Grace concluded, “Finally Izzy was born; her face is very unique and sort of ‘Mer” looking…You can just picture Izzy swimming around and playing with sea foam. She has a very impish smile and eyes filled with curiosity. Izzy will never be made in this color and form again, so lucky attendees will have a very special girl in their life.”
At this time, all the vendor spaces for BJDC are full. Several talented doll-makers will be represented on the sales floor. Cristy Stone( Xtreme Dolls) is bringing a new doll sculpt, her second BJD release. “I have a new sculpt for my 62cm resin BJD doll which will be available, and a new SD16 clothing line which will be release by Dollheart for the convention. The new Dollheart collection is very exciting! The name of the collection is On the edge with Xtreme Steampunk. I will have 3 sales tables with lots of handmade mohair wigs, and a variety of clothing for SD16 dolls and for Kaye Wiggs MSD dolls.” Another popular doll fashion artist attending BJDC also just recently released her very first resin dolls named Eppie and Winona. Connie Lowe of Marbled Halls will bring both her new dolls and many other items as well. “In Austin expect to see Dollstown OOAKs as well as costumes, hand dyed wigs, new shoe designs and some familiar favorites along with some of the OOAK Eppies and Winonas! These are ones that were reserved for this show. The costumes I am bringing will include new designs and wonderful vintage fabrics and trims as well as some from my Garden of Secrets collection featuring a mix of floral fabrics. Its going to be a wonderful show, and I might just have a surprise or two up my sleeve!” Newcomer to the event Sarah Seiter (The Mushroom Peddler) will be bringing her Wonderling anthro dolls. “This will be my first year at BJDC… I am so excited! I am planning on creating a special new doll that will be unveiled and available at the con in limited numbers.” Another new attendee, Bo Bergemann (Bergemann Dolls) is flying in from Hawaii with a load of dolls representing ages from toddler to teenager. ” I will have just a couple of Ambriel’s with me at the con as she is sold out, but I saved a couple for myself and for special projects. Since I have not yet been to any other BJD show and have been assured this is the best in the US, I knew I had to save a couple very special versions of Ambriel to bring along. ” Her grand project won’t be revealed until the sales floor opens. ” My really big news and reveal at the con is top secret. All I can say is it is a HUGE project combining several of my own artistic mediums including my doll making. I have worked in many art forms over my lifetime and love them all. But one is more dear to my heart than the others as I fell in love with it as a very little girl the same time I fell in love with dolls. It is something I’ve been planning since I was aged 5 that is now coming to fruition and which I hope to reveal first at the Austin BJD con!”
Some of the vendors were previous BJDC conventioneers. Cindi Stowell (Cindi’s BJD Designs), who designs both doll outfits and clothing patterns states, “My first exposure to the convention was in 2008 when I went as an attendee. I did not know much about BJDs at the time, but I had recently purchased my first doll. The show was outstanding in it’s many displays of every BJD imaginable. There were all kinds of clothes, shoes, eyes, and wigs available for purchase. At the following convention in 2010, I was a vendor selling my patterns and OOAK outfits. By then my own collection of BJDs had grown. I met some wonderful people. Everybody at the convention is easy to talk to and also very helpful. I am anxiously awaiting the 2012 BJD Convention. I will be selling my patterns, wigs, shoes, and I will have some special OOAK outfits available for purchase just for the convention. BJD doll collectors and enthusiasts from all over the world come to this convention and they all go home very happy that they did not miss out on this wonderful event!” For Virginia Obeius of Raw-Kiss and Forever Virginia BJDC will be a new experience. “This will be my first time at BJDC although I have attended other doll conventions before. My table will have clothing for Tinies (Littlefee) and MSDs (Kaye Wiggs, Doll Chateau, MSD) mostly. I do have an SD girl coming so there’s a possibility of offering that size but not sure yet. I’ll also have hats and jewelry accessories, probably my printed glasses and faux fur wigs.” Virginia will also be running a workshop on fur wig making. ”The workshop is for making faux fur wigs and should be a lot of fun! I’ve run a workshop before, and was happy when Sherri asked me to participate. Every attendee will get my wigs pattern and enough faux fur to create any size they want. We’ll be making them in class and adding streaks, pigtails, accessories and styling them as desired.” A face-up demonstration with Natalie Cervantes will be held, and also a lecture by Jennifer Kohn Murtha titled There is Nothing New Under The Sun: Antique Dolls and Their BJD Counterparts. Jenn explained that, “My seminar for UFDC this year is what you see at BJDC… A friend from our group sent NotDoll Citron to the group a few years ago. This doll has a detachable tongue and is made, obviously, with salacious intent. I remembered a very rare Jumeau from the 200 series with her tongue also hanging out, but it isn’t detachable. That got me started on thinking that there is nothing really new under the sun, doll wise, and so that’s the story of my lecture for Austin.”
According to Grace, “The BJDC in Austin, Texas is the most important event of the year for Ball Joint doll lovers and collectors in the USA. It is the only large scale doll show devoted solely to BJD’s. Each convention, the organizers offer something special for attendees. ” Jenn recounts, “Austin’s convention is in a little boutique hotel, with a sunken bar in the lobby. The thing I remember most clearly is that we all sat in the comfy chairs and drank and played dolls. It was amazingly grownup fun! The sales room is just chock full of lovely BJDs and there was something for everyone.” Cristy Stone summed up the convention, “BJDC is always my favorite event. It’s well planned and always has the best sales room!”
Photos above: Early prototype of Izzy by Kaye Wiggs, Eppie by Marbled Halls, Bo Bergemann’s Addie with costume by Charie Wilson.
BJDC’s full registration price per person is $140.00. Included in the registration package is food for the convention events, convention souvenir bag and other convention goodies. A limited edition doll will be available for purchase separately. There is a convention hotel rate at the South Park Omni of 95.00 per night, which is available to all attendees.
Join us on iDolls, a yahoolist for organizing the convention.