My name is Ellen Tsagaris and I am an author of doll books, doll collector, doll blogger, doll maker, museum curator, and doll historian. I have worked with and know many of the participants of this unique online convention, and do my part to support and encourage it. We just finished the second, very successful Virtual Doll Convention, (VDC) held June 19-23, 2019. Let me pause to say that June 19th is my birthday, and attending this convention was the ultimate birthday present. Its organizers helped make doll collecting the positive, creative hobby it was meant to be. As one who loves doll history, I'm thrilled with the presentations and the knowledge behind them. I loved the videos and souvenirs, too. Best of all, Virtual Doll Convention proved yet again that dolls bring the people of the world together in a positive, loving light.
Nashville was a hoot and a holler to say the least! For both the virtual attendees and in-person attendees, we had a spectacular time seeing and getting to know everyone.
To live and relive the experience, I made a playlist for you to refer to with links to all the content. Most of these videos are on Facebook, and some are inside the June Virtual Convention Group. We are also adding videos to our YouTube channel today.
While we were not allowed to film anything within the actual event, we made our special content outside of the 'official' activities. We were officially unofficial and had a BLAST - please share and enjoy these 15 videos.
*Make sure to change your Facebook video view settings to the highest setting (HD) for the best viewing experience.*
Walk through the The National Doll Festival with me! We are having the BEST time. 💕🎸 (50 minutes)
LIVE at the National Doll Festival with the booth of Elizabeth Christensen (9 minutes)
The VDC Meet Up Details and Room with Bradley Justice Yarbrough and Billye B. Harris (4 minutes)
The HILARIOUS opening ceremonies to the VDC Meet Up with Kathy Turner and BelleAnne Curry!! You’ll love this song and dance. 🎉🎉🎉 (4 minutes)
The VDC meet and greet with Robert Tonner, Michael Canadas, and lots of fabulous friends. Thank you for everyone who stopped by! (11 Minutes)
Dollmaker Superstars in one room! Enjoy a chat with Helen Kish, Maggie Iacono, and Robert Tonner (8 minutes)
The Pink Princess shares her gifts chat with Bradley Justice Yarbrough (5 minutes)
GOOD SOUND! A fun different view of our meet up and conversation with Robert Tonner and Michael Canadas. What a fun event, thank you to everyone and thank you Billye B. Harris for sponsoring this gorgeous room for us! (11 minutes)
“Bad to the Bone” Miniature Steiff Dogs Program with Steiff Gal live in Nashville (18 minutes)
Kruse Collecting: A Beginner’s Guide with Jonathan Green (7 minutes)
“Booth Undercover - Secret Shopper” Shopping Treasures with Michael Canadas and David Robinson (21 minutes)
Meeting Gregg Ortiz by the Fountain (3 minutes)
PART ONE: Tips and Tricks of the China Doll Trade with Kathy Turner and special celebrity guest filmed LIVE in a secret location! (5 minutes)
Part Two: China workshop in undisclosed location with Kathy Turner and BelleAnne Curry (2 minutes)
We ducked out for a fun and exciting announcement about the January 2020 Virtual Doll Convention with Gregg Ortiz! Learn about the amazing mask workshop we will have AND learn a special dance move to use in the doll salesroom. ✈️🎉💕 (4 minutes)
Our friend Alan Pate also took his own videos that we loved and wanted to share:
Inside the Salesroom - this booth, WOW! https://www.facebook.com/antiquejapanesedolls/videos/2315650685373973/
Special Exhibit of 18th Century Japanese Fashion Dolls: https://www.facebook.com/antiquejapanesedolls/videos/662251767604368/
Enjoy a gallery of snapshots from the VDC Impromptu Meetup - thank you to everyone who was able to come by and to Billye B. Harris for sponsoring this space for us.
If you have ever been curious to learn more about The Doll Artisan Guild, here is your complete guide!
The Doll Artisan Guild® - Who We Are
The Doll Artisan Guild® is a member organization dedicated to the education of porcelain dollmakers. Founded in 1977 by Mildred Seeley, a world renowned collector of antique dolls, the Guild has evolved over the years. It is an independent International organization. Enjoy a complete evolution of The Doll Artisan Guild in a new video produced for the Virtual Doll Convention.
Founded in 1977 by Mildred Seeley, a world renowned collector of antique dolls, the Guild has evolved over the years. It is an independent International organization.
This professionally run self-supporting organization has a long history of integrity with a Code of Ethics, an elected Board of Directors and a part-time staff dedicated to providing dollmakers with:
• A quarterly publication DOLLS Beautiful
• Annual events/conventions in locations around the globe
• Top notch seminars focused on all aspects of dollmaking taught by talented DAG certified Instructors
• DAG Competitions with top awards (the Millie, Magge and Louise Hedrick Costuming Award)
• Title program for certification in the Doll Artisan Guild School of Dollmaking
• Products for dollmaking such as fabulous doll molds, patterns, educational downloads (shop.dollsbeautiful.com) and more.
The Doll Artisan Guild welcomes new members. We hope you will support the art of porcelain dollmaking and sign up today to enjoy a lifetime of learning, sharing, creating and most of all, fun!
You will find us at www.dollartisanguild.org and on Facebook.
A Lifetime of Enjoyment
DAG School of Dollmaking
The DAG School of Dollmaking is (DAGSD) the foremost school of its kind, dedicated exclusively to the advancement, enjoyment and education of porcelain dollmakers. Thousands of dollmakers and porcelain artists around the world have earned titles and awards by following the steps and building the necessary skills and knowledge. DAG seminars are taught by DAG certified Instructors or Teach-ers who are recognized as the most talented and knowledgeable in the field today.
Dollmakers Event Calendar
The Doll Artisan Guild - sponsors of the June ‘Art of the Doll’ Virtual Doll Convention - thank you so much!
Andy and Becky Ourant have been working hard on their programs for the June Virtual Doll Convention, and I am excited to share with you one of the dolls they will be showing us in a couple of weeks. It melds two things I have long admired. Wyeth paintings and Munich Art Dolls.
When a special Wyeth Exhibition came to Denver many years ago, I will never forget the feeling I had standing in front of this painting. “The Islander” by Jamie Wyeth. The painting had the thickest impasto I had ever seen, and I stood there for at least 10 minutes. I was an instant super-fan of this talented family - so you can imagine my excitement when I received the email from Becky below.
Message from Andy and Becky Ourant about their program:
This Munich Art Doll has a very special provenance. Renowned late 19th and early 20th Century American illustrator N.C. Wyeth purchased this Munich Art doll for his young family when it was new.
The Wyeth family is full of talented artists and two of N.C. Wyeth's children are known to have included this doll in paintings. Featured in this posting is a photo of this Munich Art doll and a watercolor painted by Ann Wyeth McCoy. The other known painting is a 1982 tempera painting by Andrew Wyeth titled “Ann Wyeth.” If you are interested in seeing the Andrew Wyeth painting “Ann Wyeth” which includes this Munich Art Doll, it is illustrated in the Andrew Wyeth biography “A Secret Life,” page 33, by Richard Meryman.
In the early 20th Century, it makes perfect sense that an artist would encourage his children to play with this new "natural" style doll. Ann Wyeth McCoy grew up to be an artist, musician, and doll collector and kept this doll all her life. When she passed away in 2005, family friend and doll collector/dealer Richard Wright purchased many dolls from her collection. Ann’s Daughter, Ann B. McCoy, gifted Richard the watercolor her mother painted of her doll. We were fortunate to be able to buy the doll from Richard and when he passed away in 2009, his partner Glenn Stevens gave us the painting. Andy and I are honored to own a doll with such a rich American history.
Please join us at the Virtual Doll Convention to learn more about the fascinating dolls of the German Art Doll Reform.
- Andy and Becky Ourant
Thank you SO much to Andy and Becky Ourant for this exciting program in the works - exclusive to the June ‘Art of the Doll’ Virtual Doll Convention.
Gail Lemmon of ‘All Dolled Up’ is passionate about doll collecting, art, and has many interests including horses. This multi-faceted lady is a Sponsor of the June ‘Art of the Doll’ Virtual Doll Convention. We are EXCITED for all of the wonderful things Gail has coming with her business and upcoming doll show in October. Visit Gail Lemmon in the June Virtual Convention Group (and salesroom) and DO not miss the Ohio National Doll Show in October. In this blog, we will get to know our friend Gail, and learn more about her passion for dolls. Watch Facebook this week and inside the June Virtual Doll Convention Group for fun and factual history on her current project - Skippy dolls!
When did you start collecting?
As a child, I was about everything Barbie. I had an extensive collection and would meet with my friend, playing with our dolls for hours and even doing some trading. The love of dolls was my own, but the appreciation for family heritage and history came from my mother. I would listen to her for hours telling stories of her childhood growing up during the depression and her young adult life during World War II. My passion for history and collecting all things antique grew. One day at an estate sale, the two forces merged when I purchased an Ideal Toni and so the doll collecting began. It wasn’t long before I started selling a few dolls to upgrade my collection and support my habit. Twenty years later, I am a full-time doll dealer, meeting with my friends at doll shows. We still play with our dolls for hours and do a little trading too.
Have your tastes changed over the years?
Over the years, as my knowledge has grown, my tastes have not necessarily changed, but they have developed and grown as well. Being the nostalgic sort with a love of history I find myself progressing backward with my tastes always turning to earlier dolls. When I began the main focus of my collection was the dolls of my mother's era, 1930’s and 1940’s composition dolls. Soon it expanded to earlier American made dolls including Schoenhuts and primitive cloth dolls, then to the wonderful German and French bisque dolls. Now my interests and appreciation have grown to include all types of dolls.
What are your favorite types of dolls and why?
My favorite dolls are those with a story behind them, character dolls representing historical figures, celebrities, or characters from literature. This often leads me back to the composition dolls of the 1920s and 1930s. Among these dolls, you will find iconic celebrities such as Charlie Chaplin, and Judy Garland, wonderful characters from literature such as those found in the books of Marguerite Di Angeli and Louisa May Alcott, even dolls like the Effanbee Historical dolls that chronicle over two centuries of American fashion. My research on these dolls has given me a look into American history, and it’s culture.
Do you sew for your dolls?
My creative talents lie more in sketching, oil painting, and wood carving, none of which I have time for these days. While I am not an expert seamstress, my favorite aunt was. Although I never perfected the skills I did learn the basics from her, so, on occasion, when inspired, sewing for my dolls provides a wonderful, creative outlet. Most often, I am looking for dolls in their original or appropriate vintage and antique clothing.
What are the characteristics that attract you to a certain doll?
While we all consider condition and originality when looking at a doll, I tend to take a broader approach in that the doll must have some special quality. This could well be the dolls mint condition, and it may be an unusual feature, the rarity of the doll, an exceptionally beautiful face or fabulous clothing. As I scan the tables looking at hundreds of dolls at shows or auctions, it is always one of these features that will make me take a second look.
You are known for your love of horses. Can you tell us more?
As my mother inspired my interest in history and antiques she also passed on my love of horses and all animals. She was truly a woman before her time and a bit of a tomboy. Her passion for horses and riding grew in a time when “Wild West” shows and cowboy movies were all the rage. She rode her pony to school, practiced stunts she saw in movies, performed trick riding in rodeos, and was offered a job in a traveling show. Instead of a life on the road, she married my father and raised her family, but her passion for horses did not end there. My father built her one of the first indoor riding arenas in Pennsylvania where she trained horses, held college equestrian classes and taught her daughters to ride.
The love of horses and riding has been instilled in me since birth. I have been riding and showing horses since I was three years old. I married my high school sweetheart with an equal passion for horses. Together we trained and shown horses for more than thirty years. My husband continues to train horses and coach amateur riders, and even though my attention has turned to dolls, the love of horses and all animals is part of my soul. My favorite horse Leaguer’s Investment, affectionately know as Arnie”, gave me many winning rides and carried me to the finals in western pleasure at the All American Horse Congress.
We lost Arnie a couple of years ago, but I am still surrounded by horses, my dog and traveling companion “Penny” who is well known at the doll shows and “Sophie” my 19-year-old cat who keeps us company when we are home.
Tell us about the big Ohio National Doll Show coming up in October - we have heard a LOT of buzz about town!
The Ohio National Doll Show offers an expansive and elegant chandelier-lit salesroom with dolls and toys from antique to modern. The sales room is over 24,000 square feet with many well-known dealers from across the country. Enjoy the experience of buying at a show where one may touch, observe and discuss the dolls with expert sellers. There will be antique, vintage, modern, and artist dolls and bears, for every collector genre. The show is easily accessible from Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio and most airports. This is one of the major doll and toy events of the year with dolls, educational opportunities, appraisals, prizes and fun for everyone! Be sure to add it to your doll schedule today! Sponsored by the Olentangy Valley Doll Club of Ohio with a percentage of the proceeds benefiting the UFDC Doll Museum and the local doll club. OhioNationalDollShow.com
**Portions of this interview was originally published in conjunction with Antique Doll Collector Magazine Blog. The Antique Doll Collector is a Sponsor of the June Virtual Doll Convention. Subscribe today!
Hello Conventioneers! You probably didn't realize that your registration to the VDC also includes a trip to Germany - sort of. But don't worry, you won't need a passport, and you certainly don't have to speak German to join in the fun!
The June Virtual Doll Convention had the opportunity to visit North Carolina and the wonderful museum located in Spencer - The North Carolina Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys.
The NC Museum of Dolls, Toys & Miniatures has been open for more than eight years. Inspired by the life of Amy Dawn Morris, they embrace the same joy and optimism that Amy displayed despite suffering from a terminal illness. Her beautiful spirit and collection of dolls gave them the idea to open this one-of-a-kind museum. Located in Spencer, North Carolina, they are a 501(c)(3) board-only nonprofit organization, and fall under the classification of a private foundation with public charity status.
Co-Founder Beth Nance takes us on a digital tour of this magical place in this blog. Here she is introducing the museum, and chatting about their special mission in honor of her sister, Amy.
Take a peek at a fun 1940s rotating exhibit on display right now.
and you will NOT want to miss this wonderful prized dollhouse!
Take a trip down memory lane when you go to NC Museum of Dolls, Toys & Miniatures in Spencer, North Carolina. You will get a chance to revisit your childhood when you see their vintage toy collections.
A visit to the museum is also a great way to learn new things. Make sure to tag your family and friends along when you come!
You will see a comprehensive array of dolls, miniatures, model Lionel trains, and toys on display. Our collection is growing and changing all the time. The Shirley Temple Doll Exhibit and the Schoenhut Circus Figures are two of the largest public displays of their kind in the US. Below are some of the many exhibits that you can expect to see at this museum.
1910 Schoenhut Circus Figurines – Rare wooden toys from the American toy company
1922 Boy Scout Milton Bradley Game (SC Boy Scout Museum) – Ask us how Scouts can earn a Fun Patch
Lionel Model Train Village – Watch our many trains in one of the largest displays in the Southeast
Cloth Dolls - Edith Flack Ackley Cloth Doll is just one of the many cloth dolls we have on display
Porcelain Doll Heads - Rare porcelain heads, dolls and molds from the 1840's-1860's
Boy Scout Jeep - Many Boy Scout treasures (SC Boy Scout Museum)
Tonner Fashion Dolls - Popular Tonner Dolls are highly collectible
Miniatures - Mini, Mini and Mini....you will see many exhibits
Barbie Dolls - Bob Mackie Designer Barbies in gorgeous gowns
Celebrating Over 100 Years of Girl Scouting - Scouts can earn a Fun Patch
Amazing Collection of Vintage Cap Guns - Holsters, coloring books, guns, and more
1922-1975 Ginny Dolls - Accessories, dolls, and toys made by Vogue Company
Schoenhut Circus - We are proud to showcase the 1910 Schoenhut Circus collection
Princess Diana – Princess Di in her prettiest gowns
Dollhouse - Thatched roof house with indoor and outdoor miniatures
Proud to be American - Come see our many tanks, military vehicles, and ships
Punch and Judy - Original theater with characters
Airplanes - Test your knowledge and identify the planes at our airport and hanging from the ceiling
Schoenhut Farm Set - A rare complete playset from 1903
Queen of England Display - Check out the letter signed by Queen Elizabeth and her guards
Vintage Gun Collection - Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy, Wyatt Earp, Lone Ranger
Our Little Towns - Airport, Festival, Western Town, Christmas Village and more...
Raggedy Ann - It's 100 years for Raggedy Ann, come see our large collection
Battle of Waterloo and Civil War - Active soldiers from many regiments
Angela Peterson's Dollhouse - This dollhouse is a home replica down to the closets with clothes hangers
Learn a Little Bit of History - Battle of Waterloo and Civil War
Dolls of the World – This features hundreds of dolls from different cultures; see which ones are your favorites
Boudoir Dolls from 1920's and 1930's – Bed dolls for decoration
1930-1980 Shirley Temple Dolls - We have more than 100 dolls of the Sweetheart of America and memorabilia. This is one of the largest collections on the East Coast.
1880 German Room Boxes - Miniatures from Germany are a delight to see
Mary March Dollhouse - Check out the many rooms of our mansion dollhouse with a working television and a fireplace
China Half Dolls – Decorative and beautiful
Collectible Cars - Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Ertl, Tootsie Toy, Dinky Toy and many diecasts
Dollhouses – Our collection includes Angela Peterson’s home
Schoenhut Doll Furniture - Rare furniture from the Schoenhut Toy Co.
The North Carolina Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys is a Sponsor of the June Art of the Doll Virtual Doll Convention. We can’t thank them enough for their support- and hope that you will support this important institution by visiting, donating, and sharing their posts on Facebook.
Hi Digital Darlings!
I am sitting here in the airport after a whirlwind trip this weekend to North Carolina. I had the pleasure to fly out this weekend to film four exciting programs for the June Virtual Doll Convention. I was picked up at the airport by Bradley and Chris - and whisked away to the Land of Magic and Make-Believe - AKA - the Pink Princess Palace of Billye Harris. As soon as we arrived, we took a tour of the grounds - I guarantee you this video will make you laugh! My favorite part was when Billye smacked Bradley’s face because he had a bug on it.
Dinner was fabulous - and cooked by Billye Harris who happens to be a fabulous cook! Check out the dining room. WOWZERS! I was treated to a delicious meal and Billye gave away an R. John Wright fairy to one of our virtual viewers - the evening was perfect!
Take a peek at where I stayed - this suite was fit for royalty which is how I felt! You bet I took home that gift basket full of GOODIES! Bradley had to stay in the closet but this time Billye let him turn on the lights. (We kid, we kid!!)
The next day, we got up early and had a lovely breakfast spread by Billye. It was the perfect start to this amazing day to come!
I wore outfits the whole weekend that had some kind of flowers on them…and my first dress was perfect for riding in the scoop of a tractor! This is the Uber of Hollygate! Thank you Alvaro for your help driving the tractor with us - it’s part of the opening ceremonies for the Virtual Convention and it’s hysterical!!
The first program we filmed live was with Bradley and it was ‘A Peek at a Prototype’ but it was ALSO a 1950s sitcom! You will love this.
One of the crowd favorites was the ‘Grinnie’ Program we filmed with Billye Harris on these FUN Lamternier Smiling Dolls. You can’t help but love them!
It was time to break for lunch after this and we had a delightful picnic outside. When Billye and I put on our hats, Bradley said we reminded him of something he has seen before. Can you see the resemblance? LOL
After lunch, we filmed programs with Billye and Bradley for the June Virtual Doll Convention. You will not believe what we have in store - I learned SO much and saw some magnificent dolls.
We filmed special content for inside the June Virtual Doll Convention Group which was a blast, everyone commented and enjoyed it as much as we did. The end to this beautiful day was made so special by a evening walk in the beautiful garden where we got to chat and enjoy the perfect weather.
We look forward to the debut of these world-class programs that we filmed in North Carolina at the June Art of the Doll Virtual Doll Convention. If you have not registered, do it today! We are already having a great time in the group. Full registration is $25.00 and includes programs, classes, and so much more - we promise you will be overwhelmed with a fabulous time.
Billye Harris of Ashley’s Dolls is a Title Sponsor of the June Virtual Doll Convention and Bradley Yarbrough of The Swell Doll Shop is a Business Sponsor. Thank you BOTH so very much for your contributions and support!
As doll collectors most of us know and love the rare, iconic American cloth dolls created by Izannah Walker. Her dolls have become the “holy grail” for many collectors, who often spend a lifetime searching for one of her amazing dolls. Izannah’s dolls have a distinctive quality that makes them instantly recognizable, but not all of us know much about the woman who created these dolls that bridge the gap between a child’s beloved doll and outstanding examples of American folk art.
For over a millennia, mankind has preserved its hopes and ideals in miniature. If you want to know what people considered important, look at what they reduced in size and in their own way, enshrined. Dolls and their accoutrement forever will be tiny mannequins of humanity’s ideals and hopes. That's what they really are. They are us-- in miniature.