Tucson, AZ, United States
Vanessa is a one-of-a-kind doll artist, whose work is a blend of historical recreation, fantasy and myth.
Skills and Techniques
One of a kind dolls, hand-draped and hand-sewn doll clothing, jewelry and accessories, repaints, reroots and restoration.
Find me online @:
Get to Know
I have been fascinated with all things small since I was old enough to be fascinated. When I received my first Barbie at the age of three, I was hooked. I would spend hours every day constructing houses out of books, clothes out of tissues - if it was available, I used it somehow in my extensive Barbie world. I loved it when my mother would give me bits of cloth. I would wrap them around my favorite doll, seeing what forms I could make, anchoring them with ribbons, yarn and safety pins when I got it just right.
I gave my first doll haircut at the age of 10, on a very old Barbie that my mother sanctioned as a throw away. I asked if I could keep her and try to fix her hair and proceeded to give her a mohawk, painted with red fingernail polish. I painted her lips and nails to match, and found my mother's lip liner to give her some freaky, not found in nature eyeshadow. I have pictures of her somewhere in my mother's attic. Someday I'll find them and put them online.
My career in OOAK didn't start until 2002, when I saw one on Ebay while waxing nostalgic with my daughter over the Barbies I'd had as a child. When I saw it I went nuts. I had no idea you could do these things with dolls! I hadn't picked up a Barbie (except to clean up after my little girl) in years. I immediately went into her room, grabbed an old "fixer upper" and set to work.
My first attempt was a mermaid called Azure, since I figured a mermaid would be a good jumping off point (little clothing to worry about). I used stuff I had lying around the house (including some very old acrylic paint, without any flow medium or retarder - and since I lived in the desert then... let's just say her repaint was somewhat lacking). But it was a great deal of fun, and I sold her my first time out. I was thrilled, and determined to get better at it.
I have used my extensive background in theater costuming, history, theater make-up, print make-up, props and set dressing to create dolls that I love. And, thankfully, others love them too.
These days I have more knowledge, better techniques (most of which I have developed myself), better access to the right supplies and I have broadened my horizons to include doll restoration and preservation.
Doll artistry is one of the most rewarding endeavors I know. The only thing that makes it more rewarding is knowing that people like, and want to own, one of my creations.