When I first heard about Dolpa, I was skeptical, to say the least. The scant information I got made it sound like many other fan conventions, meaning that I expected it to mostly consist of a roomful of vendors selling dolls & doll-related goods. That could be fun, but I don't always enjoy looking at pretty things that I can't (afford to) buy, & the... interesting state of the economy lately meant that I likely wouldn't be able to do much buying.
As the event got closer & I read more about the planned events, as well as events from Dolpas past, I started to get more excited & I was looking forward to it more & more. Among other things, I was curious to meet more people who are as enchanted by these dolls as I am. As it turned out, I wasn't able to spend money at Dolpa, but there was plenty of hanging out, lots of people who were willing & eager to talk about their dolls, plenty of dolls to admire & photograph, & more than enough engaging activities to keep the weekend event fun & exciting.
In addition to the faceup workshop (which I couldn't participate in, but would love to do so next year) & the services that Volks staff offered--like the opportunity to order a doll via Volks' Full Choice System, or FCS, the 'dolly doctor', who provided service like removing hot glue from eyes & replacing & repairing broken doll pieces--& the "audience participation" games that Mr Shigeta, the President of Volks, used to engage us, it was much more than I expected.
I truly got the sense that this business of making & selling dolls was more than an act of commerce for the Volks staff. Mr Shigeta wore a "Mad Hatter" style hat & ascot on Saturday, & I never got the vibe that he begrudged the idea of "dressing the part" to reflect the Alice in Wonderland theme of the party & the limited-edition dolls. The other Volks staff were dressed as playing cards, in keeping with the theme, but something about Mr Shigeta--a man with more than a few Winters behind him, so to speak--donning such a costume brought a real sense of fun & whimsy to the event.
I had a friend snap this pic of me on Saturday, standing next to the foamcore standee of Williams as the Mad Hatter (one of the Fashion Doll Quarterly Limited Edition Dolls for the event). At the end of the event on Sunday, the Volks staff gave away the banners, posters, tapestries, placards, & other sundry decor they had brought to decorate the event space. Naturally, I wanted to take this standee home with me. In order to make distribution of the decor more 'fair', Dolpa attendees who wanted items that only existed singly (like the 25' tall banners of the limited edition dolls) played Rock, Paper, Scissors withe Mr Shigeta. For most of the groups, people were 'eliminated' in batches as the people who threw the 'losing' option against Mr Shigeta fell away. For the competition for the Mad Hatter, though, I was very lucky to not only win him, but to win in the first round! GO ME!!! Even better is the fact that he had been autographed by Mr Shigeta & the members of the Volks staff who were in attendance. Most of it is in Japanese, which I can't read, so one day soon I'll need to post pictures of these so that hopefully someone can translate for me. :o)
As I mentioned, there were lots of pretty dolls to admire. Here are pictures of just some of the very pretty dolls in attendance. Fortunate for Volks (&, perhaps, unfortunate for me), several of their dolls have found their way to my "want" list after this weekend.
LUCKY LUCKY FUN!
LUCKY LUCKY HAPPY!
LUCKY LUCKY WONDERFUL!
LUCKY LUCKY FANTASTIC!