Connie Lowe of Marbled Halls has always had an impeccable reputation for fabulous OOAK outfits and distinctive face-ups. This year she has added accomplished doll creator to her list of achievements. With the release of Eppie and Winona, she has won over many BJD enthusiasts. Now Connie is offering her latest dolls through her website. In spring 2009, I visited Connie’s house and interviewed her and made a short video of her dolls. The result was the article Nouveau Antique ~ The Blended Fashions of Marbled Halls . At the time she had started her first doll. Now she has realized her dream to create her own BJD company.
Q: Was the doll I saw at your house in 2009 you made of paper clay ever cast?
A: Yes, Winona. This is the doll you took pics of when I was working on her. She was finally released last year as a 2012 delivery. There was a production release of 120..I have 2 left. Not sure about the shops. My shops are listed on my website. She represents a young girl born in the mid 1920s and is half American Indian, and her whole history comes with a clothing set I am just now releasing. It is her history set and comes with coat, hand-knit hat, mittens and much more! There are three different sets, and I will be selling them as well as my dealers. They are limited editions of 50. It took me almost 6 years to get this point!
I had struggled with the body sculpting and dismayed, set it aside. It was not until I learned I had cancer that I picked up the sculpt again. With encouragement from Paulette Goodreau, I picked her up and finished, and not only did I finish her, I also did a 30 paper clay jointed girl and another sculpt…Eppie.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about Eppie?
Eppie, is an edition of 50 production and 50 artist OOAKs. This little girl took the collectors hearts and sold out in minutes. Since her release, I have been paining the OOAKS and selling a few at a time. Some went to my shops and some I took to shows, some sold on line. I have only a few left, and will continue to release those a few at a time until they are all spoken for. She has inspired many collectors, and stories of her adventures can be seen on forums. While the Winona sculpt has a part of my soul, Eppie took a part of my sense of humor and heart and gave it to her owners. She just seems to make one smile and want to pick her up!
Q: I understand you designed a doll for MDCC?
A: When asked to do an event for Modern Doll Collector I said yes! Then I thought…what have I done? I took 6 years to come up with the nerve to finish Winona, then I did Eppie, and how can I follow up after her success? My Friend Paulette again encouraged me and came out of retirement and even helped me, sculpting a companion to go with my doll. So I picked up the sketch pad and after a few weeks, LuLu was born. I worked out the idea of a Little girl who spends the day in Las Vegas and her adventures. I sketched most of the story before I got around to sculpting Lulu herself. Again, a funny little imp, similar to Eppie, but with an attitude and charm all her own. She met her audience with much success along with her poodle companion,”Pooey” (Paulette’s contribution). I have agreed to do an event again for this coming year’s MDCC in September. First picture was the original pre-production design. The final doll had a brown bunny suit and red hair.
Q: What are your latest creations?
While attempting to sculpt an elegant, Sd sized Bjd . I struggled to get the ethereal beauty I wanted and became very frustrated. I set the clay aside and came back to it later. I picked it up and said…”Okay you win…what is inside you?” I started sculpting, and out popped Meek, a shy little girl funny big head, Funny body…but full of personality. I picked up my sketch pad and 5 more kids were developed as well as three pets. “These were a collection” I thought, “and they would need a name.”
I remembered the Jetsons from my childhood and how I always wondered what Cogs and Sprockets were…Those of you who might remember…Cogswell Cogs and Spacely Sprockets was where George Jetson worked. Well…Sprockets just seemed to fit as a Collection name. I sculpted a second one, Glum…and she seemed just that. Each character I drew had a different personality and mood…so each were named by the feeling they gave me when I looked at them
There is Meek , Glum, Glee, Frazzle,Grim and Oops. They have three pets, a rabbit named Rocket, a cat named Spat and Cog the dog. I have already released the first two, Meek and Glum, with much success, and if the rest of the production is met with the same success, then there might be more little Sprockets to come.
Q: Your first dolls were released by various shops. Your new Sprockets doll series is sold through your website. Will you be selling all of your future dolls at Marbled Halls or will you also come up with shop-exclusive dolls?
A: Winona and Eppie were released both by my shops and by myself. I will continue to have shops release some dolls in conjunction with me but will also have artist special dolls…the Sprockets are completely artist…no production clothing. No factory face ups. Something I want to offer the collectors directly from me.
Q: Many of your costumes or dolls in the past echoed the 19th century and earlier periods. Why do your own dolls tend to sport clothes that reflect 20th century fashions?
A: My sculpts seem to reflect myself and my own children, and have roots in the roller coaster of emotions that I felt over the last two years. They seem to be reflecting a more currant thread of emotions rather than my clothing which I draw on my love of antiques and classical and all music with a twist of eclectic humor. The one thing they do have in common is humor I think..very subtle, but if you look, it is there in both my clothing an my sculpts…the mix of fabrics, the odd hats, plus a depth of heart, perhaps vulnerability is more the word. I try to put myself in everything I do.
I do hope to someday make dolls that will wear the clothing styles I am known for but right now…they seem to come from two different states of mind.
Q: Now that you are also a doll company, have you cut back on making OOAK fashions?
A: Not at all actually, I have made even more! I LOVE design, and am working on some really cool shoes designs, and just finished a unique line for Ldoll festival. I am working on some new ideas for IDEX this spring as well as new sculpts. I don’t want to waste a moment of life.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about your experiences at Ldoll?
A: Actually this is the first time I was able to attend. I became ill and was unable to go until this year. I was impressed with the show, a very young audience, and I see this show growing into a really big event. I will definitely go back next year.
Q: What do you hope to release in 2013?
A: I will be releasing of course the rest of the Sprocket gang, A friend for Eppie , a show release of a sculpt at IDEX and a special doll for MDCC…who knows what else? I never considered myself a sculptor, but I have found I really enjoy it …actually I love it. I do still hope to sculpt that big ethereal girl someday, but for now it seems my time will be spent making these funny little kids that hopefully make people smile.
Q:What plans in general do you have for the future?
A: I love what I do, and plan to continue the direction I am taking. I like to get my hands on every aspect, from the sculpt to the wig, clothes and shoes. I do hope to do more one-of-a-kind sculpting as art pieces, and am working on some paintings. That is where my art skills started, in water color paintings, but this time I am picking up the acrylics! I will let you know how it turns out!
Photos above (from top) Eppie at BJDC, Sprockets dolls.