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Thursday, February 27, 2014

An Upcycling Doll Artist

Profile of doll artist Debbie Ritter, Uneek Doll Designs at Etsy.com I met Debbie after finding one of her dolls featured on a blog about Lady Jane Grey. I couldn’t wait to buy the doll, and soon bought others, including the portrait of writer Barbara Pym, featured on my blog Miss Barbara Pym meets Miss Charlotte Bronte. Debbie is a transplanted Hoosier to Alabama as of summer 2013 with four grown children and one grandchild. She has been married 25 years. Besides making dolls, her interests include reading, walking, art work, and cooking (when she has time!) Debbie is a born artist, and as she says of herself; “I grew up with a pencil in hand and carried paper everywhere I went- got in trouble a few times with teachers for drawing on my homework, and art was my best subject in school.” Debbie does not collect dolls per se, but likes to create them as a favorite art form. A doll house kit first inspired her miniature creations: “I got inspired to create my art dolls when my husband was given a dollhouse kit by my mom, who despaired of my father ever putting it together. Being the tooling engineer that he was, he put it together and I decided to make some dolls to go in it out of clothespins. She loved it so I continued and I made up my own technique and developed it over time.” I can really relate to Debbie over dollhouses and the need to populate them. My dad was an electrical engineer who built one fantastic dollhouse for me from scratch, and another from a kit. He is an electrical engineer, and it seemed to take forever. He didn’t electrify my houses, and when I asked him why, Dad answered, “We’re Victorian.” Debbie’s dollhouse adventures began a chain of thinking; she decided to combine her love of classic literature, history, and the observation of ordinary people into creating her art work. Debbie finds people in general inspiring because if you study someone long enough, you will see some features that stand out. It is those features challenge her. She started selling her creations when by chance a lady waiting on her at the craft store mentioned Etsy. Debbie wrote the word down and forgot about it for 2 months, then decided to take the plunge to see what would happen. The rest is history and she has been doing well at it ever since. The artist’s work has been featured at “The Today Show” where the crew gave Susan Boyle a replica of herself that Debbie had made during a live interview between Boyle Meredith Viera. . Debbie’s work has also been featured in Vanity Fair online, The Art Doll Quarterly, Doll Collector Magazine, New York Magazine, -Show Time series on television, -Mystery Scene Magazine, New York Magazine, CI Living in Champaign Illinois, and my blogs Dr.Es’s Doll Museum, Dr. E’s Greening Tips for the Common Person, An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory, and Memoir; Writing your Life Story. She can be reached through me or her Etsy store, uneekdolldesigns.etsy.com

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