I haven’t made an art doll in a couple of years. I made several in ’07 to sell at an art fair and I still have a few in my studio that my youngest still loves to show off to her friends. She typically tells them that she can “have one” — just pick one out — and they usually pick Sophie, my first doll. Well, I usually explain very nicely that that isn’t going to happen — and that Sophie isn’t going anywhere since she was my first doll. I tend to be fairly territorial over them because — even though they look like a child’s toy — they are ART dolls and they take some time to make.

Technically, they are mermaids. I haven’t ventured into legs — but I’ve been reading Susanna Oroyan’s Anatomy of a Doll, and I’m beginning to think that anything is possible. I suppose that anything new is scary, but she breaks it down into steps so that it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

I did break my rule and make a mermaid for the daughter of a friend of mine. She has been the queen bee of the house for a long time, and now she has a new baby in the house that is getting a lot of attention. I had intended to have this doll finished for her before the baby came — but the baby was a couple of weeks early. C’est la vie. But she is ready now. My daughters each picked out a doll for themselves a couple of years ago — although only one took it to her room to keep. I did find it in a toy bin once and reconfiscated it, but she has recently reclaimed it. I have always retained rights to put the dolls back in the studio if they aren’t properly taken care of. But this one, Elisabeth, is on her own. Hopefully, she will help teach her owner that art dolls and babies are fragile and need to be specially cared for.