Dal and her husband live in Connecticut. They have three children who are artists in their own chosen fields, photography, film and theatre. She is also owned by two Chihuahuas; a long hair named Mouse, and a short, fat football named Bunny Boy.
Early in life Dal knew she wanted to be an artist. After graduating from the High School of Art & Design in Manhattan, she studied at Pratt Institute and went right to work in NYC as an art director. Today she has her own small design studio where she designs logos, packaging, and playbills. She also does some costume design for local theaters.
For the past fifteen years she collected vintage and new dolls such as Fashion Royalty, Ellowyne Wilde, Momoko, Pullip, and recently, Japanese dolls from the late sixties and seventies.
In her initial years of re-collecting her own vintage Barbies, her interest turned to Bild Lilli dolls and her retro fashions. The cost being prohibitive in owning original Lilli clothing, she decided to re-create them with vintage fabrics. Subsequently she sold many of her Bild Lilli designs, and was featured in some of the early Barbie magazines.
Participating in last year's home challenges helped her appreciate how exciting her doll hobby can be. Not only did she learn by experience, but also by the visible growth she saw in how the 12 PDW designers and At Home designers developed. As a bonus, she says she got to meet some incredibly talented new friends.
Dal truly loves the creative process, and feels even though she may not win any of the challenges; she knows by challenging herself in completing a twelve piece collection, she will be a winner for having done so. The premise of the Project Dollway at Home for her is "to have fun creating", and although she did not choose a fashionable, more couture, runway model, she promises we will also fall in love with her current obsession, seven and a half inch, Licca.
She predicts there will be surprises along the way in the competition. “The seasoned designers and seamsters will shine, but the novices will delight us in their unconventional approaches to design. In the end, we will all learn from each other." You can read more about Dal and her previous creations on her blog at:
Jannie was born in Panama City, Florida, and now again calls this “Red-Neck Rivera” her home. She lives there with her husband, who returned with her from Sydney, Australia - a place familiar to some of our other designers. Early on she worked for Walt Disney World before it even opened, and has since retired from three different careers in engineering and project management.
Her travels have taken her to such exotic places as Ghana, West Africa; Germany; and Paris! She has taken couture classes in Paris where she gained training in design, pattern making, and material medium. She has also sold her designs to the House of Frazer in Germany.
Now she is content to be starting a new career that has been her second dream since her grandmother gave her the first sewing machine at 7 years old; she wants to design clothing for dolls. Although she didn’t play with dolls as a child, her fashion designing was always encouraged. She even designed a complete wardrobe for the bridal party of an overweight bride while working in Washington, DC on assignment to the DOD in her hotel room. When the husband told her, “I have never seen her look so beautiful and trim,” she knew designing clothing was not only worthwhile, but something she had a passion for.
In the past she has participated in local doll shows; however, this year she decided it was time to go big, attend the 2008 Tonner Convention, and enter the design competition. She was delightfully surprised she was able to bring back one first place ribbon and two third place ribbons. Since then she has attended the Modern Doll Convention, continues competing in other competitions. She is currentl showing at the Northwest Florida Artisan Festival until December 20, 2008, and plans to show at the 9th Annual NW Florida Doll Show in Ft. Walton Beach. She also has enjoyed working with Dolly Hearts of America helping to raise money to help victims of disasters.
Encouragement from friends prompted her to enter this competition, but she has absolutely no predictions for its outcome. Rather, she simply hopes to learn something and make it to the end. “My designs may not be flashy and grand, but I desire to have that quality about them that a woman (doll) of any age would look elegant dressed in them and could wear them for years,” she says, and goes on to caution us not to be surprised to see her client wearing something wild and crazy because Pru has that in her character. That is why she likes her muse. “Often a little subtle point that is not so obvious is there, but where,” she gleefully says as she returns to her designs.
Jannie designs her line under the name of Madame Eé Lise. "Madame Eé Lise” does not make public appearances. Jannie is her personal assistant and the operations manager. She is teaching Jannie her “ways” as she calls them. She can be a very demanding boss, but Jannie loves her like her grandmother. Madame allows my designs that meet her standards to be sold under the line of Elegance by Eé Lise. Unfortunately, the website for Elegance by Ee Lise is currently under total reconstruction.
Kat hails from Cleveland, Ohio, the place of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a Great Art Museum, Planetarium, Science Center and numerous other exciting places. She has been married to the same man for 34 years. Although they have no children, they have sponsored Native American children for over 25 years, and she has continued to keep in touch with the daughter of her first marriage. And, of course, Rascal, her Bichon Frise, is currently ruling the house!
Her Grandmother worked at a wonderful department store with dolls, so she was introduced to them at an early age. And early on she began to sew for all of her dolls. Her Father was a tailor and brought home bags of scraps, and her Mother liked to sew for dolls as well – so got plenty of encouragement. She learned to sew by hand as a "Bluebird" in her scouting class. Then she spent two years in sewing in HS, and made dresses for the girls, clothes for their Barbie dolls, and eventually did soft sculpture. But when she discovered miniatures was where she first started to do shows and compete. And after studying porcelain doll making she found she wanted to do it all – painting, firing, and finishing including the stringing. She also taught this, and even did the sewing for some of her students who could not sew.
Teaching antique reproduction dolls was very rewarding, but the weight of the molds began to make this prohibitive. Then, as luck would have it, she discovered an OOAK fashion on eBay, and after writing the artist, she not only found a new friend, but also began creating for fashion dolls. Recently, she had fallen in love with Ellowyne and she is now her muse – what fun it has been adapting wigs from her porcelain days to her Wigged Out!
The world of art is so fun, and she has tried so many things. From cake decorating to making sugar shell panoramic Easter eggs, Quilling, several different kinds of embroidery, making covered 'memory' boxes, beadwork for jewelry making and beading onto fabrics, silversmithing, and multiple types of painting have all captured her interest, and pretty much behind her. For now she is at a point where I know that my concentration will be focused on the dolls, embroidery and bead work.
She is participating in this competition because she loves a challenge. She likes having “…someone throw something at me that causes me to think about it.” She is a bit of a tortured artist who sometimes stresses, and just finishes under the wire because she works better under pressure. Learning so much about her craft is the best prize she could garner, she feels.
Of course, she wouldn’t have entered if she didn’t hope to win something. However, she appreciates that there are many exceptionally talented people competing here. But, win or lose, accomplishing all these wonderful clothes will be win enough for her, and she looks for to watching everyone’s achievement with each challenge that comes our way. “The diversity of the interpretations is amazing,” she says, and she is proud and grateful to stand among all of us and wishes us all the best of luck.