Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Volks Dolpa NYC 4 2010

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.





Sunday, June 13, 2010

Irena Magdalena Luna

I've had some absurdly good luck in terms of my "doll wishlist". I found a Tan Limhwa Luna for sale secondhand at what I considered to be a ridiculously good price. I add the caveat "what I considered to be a ridiculously good price" because a "good price" on the secondary market is highly subjective. Highly. But, in this case, the doll was in excellent condition and offered at a fair chunk below "retail". On top of that, 'Luna' had been high on my "dream doll" list since I saw a Limhwa doll in person for the first time at a BJD meetup a few months ago.

There was some foolishness with the local Post Office, and for a few days I feared she might have been outright lost by USPS! Fortunately, the seller had opted for both a tracking number & insurance at my behest. No way was I gonna shell out the money for my Dream Doll only to have her get lost en route to me! Finally she was home (she arrived with the wig & eyes pictured above) & it was time to co-ordinate with a local faceup artist to get her the look I had envisioned for her. There are two meetups happening this weekend, & Dolpa is next weekend, so I wanted to get her look together as quickly as possible!

I had ordered a couple of wigs & some clothes (also secondhand--I think I'm officially 'sold' on the idea of shopping secondhand for BJD's whenever possible!), & this one arrived while I was waiting for her. I very much like the way she looks with black hair, though I'm not sure this style is a "keeper", though it definitely works for now. Friday evening, I took her over to the faceup artist's house & we talked about how I wanted her to look, what I thought her personality was like, & what her overall look would be. I bought some smaller peepers for her from his stash of eyes while I was there, to give her a more 'human' & less 'doll-like' look.

Eye size is ultimately a matter of personal taste, though conventional wisdom is that larger irises will make the doll look 'younger', since the human eyeball is pretty much "full-grown" at birth. The faceup guy tried to steer me towards larger irises, but I knew what I wanted & stuck to it! LOL! Ultimately, I really want dark brown eyes for her, but this pair was the only color he had available in the size I was going for. They don't look bad on her at all, & they'll do for now! I was reassured on my choice of eye size when he was photographing the completed faceup for his portfolio & said, "she looks real!" Of course, part of that was in reference to the gorgeously realistic tone of the resin & to his amazing work on her aesthetics, but the eye choice helped, too! ;o)

These last few pics are from the BJD meetup I went to today. They're pretty focused on her face, but only because it's so amazing! I'm getting acquainted with my sewing machine & I have some more clothes in mind for her. I'm sure you'll see more of her when I have some amazing clothes to show off with her!

This is my favorite pic of her right now. She looks particularly 'human', since you can't see the seams or joints of her body, & would you look at that beautiful face!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Now, We Wait

I created this blog URL a while ago, partially at the behest of a friend of mine who (I'm assuming) got tired of hearing me rant & gush about dolls I was excited about. I always had an idea of the kinds of things I'd want to post here, but never got around to writing any actual content. About 5 days ago, I submitted the final layaway (or 'ransom', as I tend to think of it) payment for my first resin ABJD!!! I ordered a Special Edition Realskin Akando from Iplehouse.

As I mentioned, he will be my very first resin ABJD. I have a Hujoo Wings, who is also very cute (& who deserves his own post...soon-ish), but ordering Akando is sort of on a whole different level...for several reasons! LOL! There are the obvious differences in material & size: Hujoo Wings is plastic & about 10" tall, where Akando is made of resin, about 28" tall, & will weigh about 7#!!! THAT'S A LOT OF FREAKIN' DOLL!!! LOL! Aside from these differences, though, I'd had a 'doll crush' on Akando since the Akando Pierrot Limited Edition doll was offered in 2008 as the first installment of Iplehouse's Noctarcana Circus.

Needless to say, I wasn't able to order him at the time, for various reasons. I was glad that he continued to be available as part of the standard line of dolls, though in the usual "Normal" or "Rose White" resin/skin tone option. These are lovely, but what I really wanted was the creamy realistic almond-y toned "Realskin" resin that Iplehouse used for the first incarnation of Akando. Either way, I figured I'd add him to my collection eventually, even if 'only' in a "Normal" resin/skin tone.

Not that "Normal" skin Akando is anything to sneeze at, but I was truly smitten by the warm creaminess of the Realskin doll. Imagine my delight & surprise when Iplehouse announced that he'd again be available in Realskin as part of a Limited Event. Imagine my further delight & surprise when my tax refund came through right before the end of the deadline to order this handsome guy!

Call it kismet, call it luck, call it an 'interesting' way to spend a tax refund, I'll call him mine! LOL! A few things: I didn't like the brown tones in the default faceup lips on this round of Special Edition Realskin dolls, so I ordered him without a faceup. I'm contracting a local BJD pal to do his faceup & some additional aesthetics, & I ordered a black wig for him, rather than the grey one he's wearing in the pic above. Same style, just black instead of grey. Also, he'll have green eyes. I really liked the faceup on the 'regular' face that came with the Akando Pierrot set (below); I'm hoping/asking for a lip color close to what he's got there, though I think the eyebrows will need to be darker to look reasonable for his hair color.

And, again, he's all paid off now, so there's nothing to do but wait. Is he here yet? sigh I'm not gonna like this part. Not one little bit!