Interview with Angela Schoenfelder, face-up artist, wig & clothing designer and shop owner of Oobie Doll.
Q: When did the Oobie Doll open?
A: Truly, the shop of Oobie Doll began as an artistic outlet before a retail store. In 2009, I was introduced to my first Blythe doll and the doll making process. This naturally led me to the path of resin ball jointed dolls and the comfortable family of collectors and customizers. In 2010, Oobie Doll was born and has been evolving ever since. My first years were spent on building the business itself with the online structure and only recently I have been able to branch into the full time artistic work of Oobie Doll. I have been creating wigs from the beginning, and more recently have added the limited clothing sets and now continuous make up services. All has kept me very busy indeed!
Q: What doll companies have you represented?
A: I have had the pleasure to choose companies carefully to work with. Soul Doll, Planet Doll and Doll in Mind had been here since the beginning. These 3 companies have been a joy to work with. DIM has since streamlined their company to no longer have dealer partnerships. They were wonderful to work with through the years and are missed.
In 2013, I was lucky enough to add three additional doll companies. These are Shiny Doll from Japan, Circus Kane Dolls from France and the Doll Chateau company. I had sought these companies out because of their exceptional work as sculptors and my many customer requests to carry their dolls. With Oobie Doll being based within the United States, this has allowed many companies to order their dolls through me from the overseas companies. I have helped many with creative lay-away plans and even hand delivery of dolls! I am also very careful to choose companies with solid reputations for my own and the protection of my customers. It is the nature of this business to trust in our orders and embrace the time needed to complete each doll.
Q: What makes Oobie Doll stand out in the BJD shopping community?
A: Time permitting, I love to chat with my like-minded doll customers. Some very fun projects have resulted from these casual conversations. People have contacted me looking for those hard-to-find and special items not to be found elsewhere. Recently I have collaborated with DollHeart to produce exclusive Oobie doll shoes. My first design will fit that very long and skinny Doll Chateau Kid foot! We have worked together to produce trendy and perfectly fitting skimmers that will be available by this summer. DollHeart and I will continue this work for those oddly shaped feet. I will always entertain requests.
Q: What services are available at Oobie Doll?
A: Any makeup request is welcome and scheduled as time permits. There are limited slots available throughout the year, which I schedule according to the busy dolly seasons. At this time, the Circus Kane Dolls and Shiny Doll orders have make up available at their checkout.
My knowledge is also a service available here at Oobie Doll. I have personally walked many BJD newbies through the face painting steps as well as wig making steps. Both are equally challenging, and I have found it very gratifying to help beginners and also to see their own work evolve.
I also have a very strong following as a wig maker. Requests are asked of me daily, and this sort of drives my wig making direction. You will find the typical Tibetan mohair wigs right along with my hand wefted and hand sewn natural fiber wigs. I love fiber and meeting the animals that produce the fibers! I hand pick all of my shorn alpaca fleeces directly from the farms and you will always see a little description of the animal the wig came from. The most valuable trait of a shorn fiber wig is the color will come from the animal itself. Alpaca naturally come in blonde, auburn, blacks, brown and even rose grey! You will never need to worry about your wig staining your valuable doll, so this type of wig is very special to me. The process is very time consuming and somewhat dirty, so only a few of these are made during the year.
You will also find limited clothing sets for a variety of dolls. I tend to sew for those hard-to-fit tiny dolls and other oddly shaped dolls. 2014 will bring in a very special seamstress willing to help me with all of the tiny clothing work. This is very exciting as I have looked for a few years for just that right person! She will be introduced soon.
Q: How do you approach doll customization and face-ups?
A: I listen to my customer’s requests before beginning any makeup commission. Many fun and personal emails are exchanged throughout the process, always resulting in a new friendship. Each doll is treated as its own unique being and character and is not delivered home until everyone is in love with it. If you are lucky enough to catch me with some free time, your doll will come home with personalized gifts made especially for them.
Q: What materials are used in your make-up work?
A: My background is in realistic human portraiture, which is the backbone of my work. I understand and have worked in all media, and this allows me the freedom to create intuitively. I use only recommended artist chalks and acrylics suitable for the resin and protect my work with a matt UV sealant. High gloss enamels are used in the final touches to enhance eyes and lips. These are all well established techniques and are widely used in our doll communities.
Q: How has your style evolved?
A: That is a good question. I will say that my style has evolved right along with the dolls I have been working on. My realistic look has always been constant and is applied when the dolls call for it. I do not challenge the work of the sculptor, but I work to enhance it. My recent partnership with Circus Kane Dolls is the perfect example of this. Nefer has repeatedly created dolls crying for other makeup than the traditional faces of a human doll. I have learned to study her sculpt and paint with emotion and expression.
Then, there are the eyebrows. I have always had a fascination with hairy and unkempt eyebrows. As a small child, I had this type of eyebrow! Years of manicured looks has tamed this, but I still love them. The day a doll is ready for the eyebrow work and the tiniest of hairs, is the day I love.
Q: What is your inspiration?
A: I have always been inspired by elves and woodland things. I have been hopeful in the reality of elves.
Also inspiring are old antique fabrics with their own stories and other little weird things. I love to search the second-hand and antique shops for forgotten trinkets and treasures. Most of my elves wear these items.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about the Flea Market Finds section at Oobie Doll?
A: Here you will find the many things I like to work on in my spare time. Those fully dressed OOAK dolls will be found here. Those perfect little antique store finds will be found here. You just never know what might appear in the flea Market!
Q: Do you have anything to add?
A: I will welcome any and all of you into Oobie Doll with requests and questions and we shall see where it all takes us!
Photos above from the top:Effee Elf, EeffeeElf v.2, Alice in Labyrinth AIL head on a Volks older body,
Circus Kane Dolls: