By Liz Frost
I have been involved in the art world for most of my life. My ancestry includes many artists from different genres which has flowed down through the family tree. I think any artist will tell you that their art is a constantly evolving, part of themselves that doesn’t have an off button let alone one that says slow down!
I live in a very beautiful part of Australia by the beach alongside bushland. This bushland is an Aboriginal Nature Reserve that has areas of sacred meaning to the Aboriginal culture. I believe it is very powerful and must influence my work to some degree.
I live with my husband and my rascal of a rescue dog Jaspar, the children having left home. The nearby beach is my sanity which I walk on most every day.
I had been collecting and dressing Himstedt dolls when I first discovered BJDs. The fineness and posing ability certainly piqued my interest. The ball joint system and accuracy it took to make it all work fascinated me.
When I first laid eyes on a Kaye Wiggs BJD I started searching for one to make my own. By that time Kaye was not producing dolls of her own any more, but I found a Mallory on the secondary market. Then fate stepped in. I was very fortunate to meet Kaye and her dolls for coffee one day and since then Kaye has become not only a friend but a very generous mentor. Kaye’s help and guidance has been invaluable to me, and I know she has done the same for many other doll artists.
At first I was happy to dress, face up and photograph BJDs, which for me was a creative art form in itself. BJD collectors started asking me to make outfits for their dolls. Grace from Jpopdolls was very generous with guidance at this time. I had dabbled in sculpting in earlier days and it did not take long for me to want to try my hand at sculpting my own BJD. I sculpted the head first so I knew the character and then the real fun began when I tried to make her a body to suit.
Kaye very kindly offered for me to visit, and she then set about casting my first head in resin. I asked if she would mind painting my first head. We then started throwing names around and when I said Maddie, Kaye said “that’s it”
From what I gather, most doll artists unwittingly sculpt to a family resemblance. When I laid eyes on my first head cast in resin and painted, she looked familiar but I couldn’t quite put my finger on where her likeness came from. My daughter then pulled a photo from the archives and there was my much younger daughter with a little girl named Maddison, who was a very special part of my life some time ago. A little girl that had a very rough start to life and spent half the week in my home for several years whilst young. Fate had stepped in once again and my sculpt owned her name!
Somewhere in the nether reaches of my brain I knew that someone had named their doll Maddie quite recently. Eventually, the penny dropped and I realized it was another talented doll artist, Judy Porter. I contacted Judy and asked if she would mind me using the same name for my first sculpt. She very courteously replied positively. I am constantly amazed by the generosity of so many in the BJD community.
I wanted Maddison to have a friend that would always be by her side and what better friend than the ever faithful Teddy Bear. So out of Maddie’s toy box evolved Ted my second sculpt.
I still have to pinch myself sometimes when I look at Maddie with Ted and think…..”I did that”!
I hope to continue sculpting and produce new dolls next year. The next head for the MSD size body has been started and another “animal cracker” sidekick from the toybox will follow closely.
Photos above from top: Fair skin Maddison, white resin Ted.
Wizworx ~ Liz Frost’s website includes her doll fashion designs and face-up art as well as her BJDs.