As a child with my dolls house and trolls
Before I started my current blog I used to post sporadically under the name ‘plastig ffantastig’, the Welsh for ‘plastic fantastic’. You know, like that Aqua song.
“I’m a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world.
Life in plastic, it’s fantastic!”
Now that slice of irritating 90s euro-pop is firmly planted in your head, I’ll continue. Because while I love Barbie, along with dolls and miniatures in general, it wasn’t always that way. As a kid I just found dolls frustrating.
They couldn’t sit up properly, and they certainly couldn’t stand unaided. They couldn’t even hold any of the cool accessories I had for them. Like Barbie’s outdoor fun camping playset with guitar and (plastic) log fire, and her crystal horse and carriage.
This love of little things soon became an obsession with trolls. Thanks to car boot sales and charity shops I quickly amassed a few hundred of them. Once they had been dressed - in a piece of old white blouse, tied closed with a red string belt - new initiates would move in to Troll Village, a collection of cardboard boxes I kept under my bed. My favourite trolls lived in a motorhome I fashioned myself from an empty cup drink box. It was every bit as terrible as it sounds.
Taking pity on me, my granddad made me the most amazing doll house when I was about nine. It had working lights, and opening doors, and all the amenities. I had so many hours of fun playing with that house and, eventually, it found a new home with another little girl who I’m sure loved it just as much!
Still, I might have put it all behind me. Grown up, moved on. But I discovered BJDs. The acronym looks like a STD or something, but it actually stands for ‘ball-jointed dolls’, a genre of super detailed, super flexible and super expensive dolls. That latter point made them, by necessity, more of an adult hobby and I soon acquired one.
Dolls House - Kitchen
It then sat on a shelf and collected dust, but that’s neither here nor there. It meant I stayed in touch with the doll and miniatures scene, and then I came across Re-Ment, a Japanese brand specialising in plastic 1/6 (Barbie) scale miniatures. Rice cookers, pencil sharpeners, baby walkers with moving parts... You name it, Re-Ment makes it.
I couldn’t help myself, I had to start collecting it. Then I needed a doll house to put the collection in, and dolls to place amongst it. Before I knew it I had become a full fledged doll collector!
As a hobby it’s lots of fun. It’s an outlet for all my crafting aspirations, with miniature soft furnishings, clothes and all kinds of paper products, and I can practice my photography with scenes I’ve set up in miniature. In my real house I have to compromise on my interior design vision - in miniature I can do whatever I like. Whether it’s a mutli-coloured shingle roof made of lollipop sticks, or a 1970s style kitchen, I can let my imagination run riot. I love researching the history of different aspects of the hobby too, and putting together guides to subgenres of dolls, from plus-size fashion dolls to dolls with walking aids.
Me at the Sindy Conference
It’s also a hobby that has brought me and my mum closer together. My mum deals in vintage dolls and accessories on eBay, specialising in Pippa and Sindy, so we spend lots of time talking dolls. We have even been to the Sindy doll conference together, and came away with one of the top prizes at the raffle. (My other hobby isn’t comping for nothing!) Last year she started to get into 1/12 (standard doll house) scale miniatures, and bought a really modern looking doll house.
I couldn’t be outdone, of course, so my project for 2016 will be the ‘Mountfield’ 1/12 scale doll house. I intend to turn it into a realistic looking window into the early 1980s, an era I consider my musical home. Aside from that, I now have three 1/6 scale Sindy Superhomes, the 1/12 scale lollipop house, and a 1/18 scale model 1980s VW Golf car which is home to my family of Re-Ment ‘pose’ skeletons. Wherever it is they’re going, it’s clearly been a long journey...
I really hope my daughter will enjoy miniatures as she gets older - then there will be three generations of us at it!