What’s your biggest strength & biggest weakness as a collector/ photographer/ etc?
My biggest strength as a collector is knowing when to say ‘no’ to another doll; my biggest weakness as a collector is not knowing when to say ‘no’ to another doll.
How would you describe your personal doll aesthetic? What do you like most about your own dolls and what makes them “yours” and you? Do you send your dolls out to be customized, or do you do it yourself?
When I first began collecting BJDs I customized them myself, with varying results. I slowly came to the realization that I didn’t have the gift for face-ups that certain others did, and so began to either purchase already customized dolls, or have a customizer paint my vision. However, I do make many of the wigs and clothes for my dolls, as well as the props, so I still feel as though I have a large hand in my dolls’ customization.
As for my personal doll aesthetic, I would describe it as a mix of Victorian orphans, abandoned amusement parks, naturalia collections, and powdered, sun-lit parlors. My dolls have both an innocence and a worldliness about them. I like dolls that portray a mood or emotion, that would look at home in a Sun King garden or a haunted house. They aren’t my grandmother’s dolls.
How would your life be different if you didn’t have dolls?
It would be a far less creative life, I’d wager.
Were you a collector of other things besides dolls before you got into the hobby? What started you off with BJDs?
No, I wouldn’t have called myself a collector before BJDs. Not in such a restrained way, at least – far more genrally. In the BJD fandom there is an accepted truth: that it is terribly difficult to stop at just one doll. And I found that to be particularly accurate. BJDs take so many forms that they appeal on various levels, speak to certain moods and fantasies. It’s natural to want to collect them, at least for me.
Would you rather make doll accessories (clothes, wigs, props, jewelry ect) or pay for someone else to do it?
Good question. I end up making a lot of my own doll accessories, if only because I know precisely what I want. The only way to get the exact thing one is looking for is to make it one’s self, you know? Every once in a while I’ll see an accessory that fits the bill, and of course it’s far easier to purchase something pre-made. It does take a lot of time and effort to create a particular item – sometimes I do wish that I could just purchase things. But then again, it is rewarding to complete projects. So I’m torn.
What was your best lucky buy?
That’s a toss-up, I think. I was lucky enough to win the chance to buy a Volks one-off Madoka, as well as the chance to purchase a couple of Bermanns. A good deal of the BJD hobby is luck, plain and simple. With equal parts determination and creativity. But luck is definitely a factor.
Favorite Doll company?
Most of my dolls are from Volks. I have the most experience with them as a company, and like their aesthetic.
Favorite color of resin: Tan, Beauty white or regular skin? Do you like the more fantasy color resins on dolls for your collection (pinks, blues, greens, grays, etc)? Opinions?
My personal preference in resin color is Beauty white. While I do think that many dolls are better served by the other resin colors, to my mind white resin is like a blank canvas, or a block of marble; a perfect background for colors and subtleties. It also calls to mind things like Victorian children, powdered ladies, and melancholy young poets, all of which fit the bill for my collection.
Favorite size doll 60 cm, minis or tinies?
60cm dolls make up the bulk of my collection, although I also have them in all sorts of sizes. For me, the 60cm dolls are my favorite, simply because that is what I am most used to.
What’s your most sought after doll prop that you can’t find?
I have a very difficult time finding furniture for 60cm dolls. Most of the furniture I have is vintage, or showroom displays. Any tips on finding good furniture would be greatly appreciated!
What is your “dream doll” that you hope to own some day?
A Koitsukihime doll.
What’s your favorite doll released in the last year? What is your favorite ‘classic’ BJD?
I have to admit, since the birth of my son last year I have had a difficult time keeping tabs on all of the new doll releases, but my favorite ‘classic’ BJD is the Volks Sasha/Masha/Chris/Lucas/F-16 head by Volks.
What advice would you give someone new to the hobby?
I always think it is far better to save one’s money and spend more of it on a doll one truly loves, rather than on any ol’ doll just for the sake of owning a doll. Do a lot of research, and know all of the options. It can be terribly overwhelming at first, but be persistent and learn as much as possible. In the end, it is incredibly rewarding.
Where do you keep or store your dolls?
I usually have a few on display rotation, but when they aren’t being displayed they are in their boxes. I just believe that short of a light and climate-controlled room, that is the safest place for them. I’m rather anal about my dolls.
How do you relate to you dolls (are they art objects, toys, things, friends, muses, soul mates, investments, etc)?
For me, my dolls are pieces of beautiful art first. I love that they are a form of art that can be handled and changed at whim – unlike, say, a painting. They are hands-on, and human-like, and can be customized to an owner’s desire, and yet they are beautiful objects. They are also muses, yes.
Love to hear about the evolution of your collection. How did it start? What was your original vision and how did it develop over time to how it is now.
When I first started collecting, it was primarily about getting my hands on any BJD I could, and frankly my customizing skills left a lot to be desired. So my original collection was all over the map. As time passed, however, I began to discover that I liked best those female dolls that expressed a sort of vulnerablilty and personality. These included dolls painted by Violet Poem and others, and so my collecting took a swing toward customs done by artists. Currently my collection houses a large number of coy and fragile girls and a handful of sly-eyed boys. Perhaps my tastes will change again, but for now I’m quite content with the collection as it stands.
Since you started, how have you noticed the hobby change? Has the hobby influenced your life? Compared to when you got into BJDs, have you/your tastes changed, has the BJD scene changed?
The hobby has definitely changed, and continuously experiences change I would say. It started from a small close-knit community and grew into a huge, all-encompassing one today. Fads ebb and flow within the community all the time, far too many to list! Strangely enough, the hobby started out dominated by female dolls (as they were the only gender available) and has now become dominated by male dolls; I’ve warmed more to the female dolls over the years.
Is there a doll that you never, ever would sell, only if it was unavoidable?
Probably my Violet Poem girls. Cold, dead hands and all that.
When you want a certain BJD, is there a limit to what you’re willing to spend/do to get it?
Oh sure. I like to think I’m fairly rational when it comes to that sort of thing. I will usually draw a mental line at a particular sum, and anything over that number is a no-go. I’ve only come to regret that rule on one occasion.
What do people think the dolls will evolve into in the future?
I can’t say, but I’ve been so surprised by the various creative dolls that have been produced recently that it seems like the sky is the limit! I’m excited to see what happens with BJDs in the future.
Thanks for the interview, Milkeye! We appreciate all the work you’ve done and shared with the community.