I am one of those who can never sit still. I always have the urge or the need to do something. As a result, I have quite a number of different hobbies and today I will be showing you one of them.
Asian Ball jointed dolls (BJDs) are artist sculpted dolls that have been cast in resin. They come in various different sizes and are made by quite a number of different doll companies from around the world.
They are highly customizable artist dolls. The eyes, hair and even the face (compromising of the eyebrows/lashes, lips and sometimes cheek blushing) are removable and can be changed to suit your own wishes. They are fully jointed like human beings and can sit / stand on their own. The head, limbs, hands and legs can be interchanged with a different doll with the condition that they fit the sockets and clothes, shoes and accessories in all manner and style can be purchased or made for them.
More information about these dolls can be found at the BJD forums: Den of Angels.
When I first got to know about these dolls, I was in love but hesitant to splurge so much money on a doll. The hobby was still very new in Melbourne at that time and I had not yet seen one in person. However it wasn't long before the hobby started becoming more widespread and I had the opportunity to see a few in person at a Melbourne meetup. And as they like to say: Resistance is futile.
I first started with a boy doll. He didn't last very long, being soon resold to the second hand market in favour of a girl doll. She was 60cm tall, and very fetching. To this day, I still have her.
Many years on, I don't just have the one doll anymore. In fact I have quite a number, including a fair number of small ones:
These (the ones on the right anyways) stand at about 26-27cm tall, and are incredibly adorable. One of the biggest reason I loved this hobby was because of the rich variety of different crafts available within the one collector's hobby. You could paint (their faces or tattoos etc); you could sew (clothes!); you could bead and make jewellery; you could be a wigmaker and made wigs for the dolls: the possibilities were endless. And due to the large amount of customizing you could do with the dolls, even if you and another collector had purchased the same base mold to start with, you could end up with two completely different looking dolls. This appealed to my crave for uniqueness, and it's easy to see why I'm still terribly in love with these collector dolls to this day.
And putting aside the actual customization processes one can find on the doll, if you were a photographer or a writer, or a story teller: you'd be involved as well! Beautiful photos are uploaded to Deviant art and Flickr everyday by amazingly talented photographers and it is just amazing to see how photographers have worked and composed a shot to make the dolls seem absolutely lifelike. It is truly magical.
And if not through photos, people will bring their dolls to life through the written word: characters and storylines that go beyond your wildest imaginations. Stepping into this one collector's hobby opens up a whole new world of a million different paths. It is just amazing.
As it were, it was through these dolls that I first found my love for beading. I started making jewellery for the dolls and slowly ventured out to do human jewellery. So if it were not for these beautiful artist dolls, I would never have known that I loved beadworking and jewellery making quite this much!
It's strange really, how some things can lead to others in a slightly roundabout fashion, but it gets there in the end.
Today, for the first time this year, I made jewellery for the girls again.
And it felt oddly satisfying.