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Vol 1, Issue 3                               SUMMER 2002

Index ||| Welcome ||| Mailbag ||| About the Editors ||| Collecting News ||| Profile of a Collector ||| Profile of an Artist ||| Doll in the Spotlight! ||| Doll Care Basics ||| Resources ||| FAQ ||| Closing Words



Upon compiling the collector's profile in this issue of Black Doll-E-Zine, this writer discovered the original portrait and reproduction dolls of Ms. Mary E. Washington. Because my interest was piqued, I immediately requested that Ms. Washington forward one of her doll catalogues to me, the receipt of which prompted my desire to share her profile with our readers.

Mary Speaks:

"I am a retiree from a career in business. My dollmaking began as a hobby fourteen (14) years ago to add black porcelain dolls to my collection, which were not readily available at that time. My first venture was antique reproductions. Because of their beauty and scarcity, I was invited to display them at a doll show, which began my career in dollmaking.

"In attending the doll shows I saw a need for the mature doll, one that has "a story". From there I began my own original creations, which has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. It's always a pleasure to see each character "come alive".

"I use several themes depending on the dolls. For my historical characters, I use "Great Lives Observed", and for my original characters I use, "Various Facets of African- American Culture". My overall theme is "Preserving our History and Culture in a Positive Way".

"I prefer porcelain as my media because of its beauty and long history in fine dollmaking. I would like to pursue soft sculpturing, especially for children who are not ready for porcelain.

"Nothing at all scares me about doll art. I think it is the most beautiful and challenging form of art. For fun I like to decoupage pictures of my dolls. It's interesting to follow them through this process.

"My husband and two grown daughters are my biggest critics. My husband is very good at expressing his opinion. My grandchildren are convinced the dolls' eyes follow them as they pass by.

"Doll Shows are [also] great for critiquing my work. Right away I know if I have a winner by the expression on the collector's face, or comments they make. Because my dolls are so life-like, they always resemble someone the collector knows. Right away I would like the collector to see very outstanding dolls [that are] worthy to be added to their collection.

"I have had the good fortune of having unusual collectors who will make a purchase without seeing the doll or picture. They have collected all of my original creations, which are over forty (40) dolls. A museum has also purchased all nineteen (19) of my historical characters. They felt it important for school children in their area to have the opportunity to see these outstanding characters and read of their accomplishments.

"Early in my dollmaking career I was not aware how important it was to collect a substantial deposit when making a commissioned doll. I spent numerous hours in getting the doll just right. Upon completion, without even seeing the doll, I was told “there [are] no funds available to complete the transaction." Even though I was very disappointed at the time, [that particular doll] has brought me far more pleasure than the amount of money that I would have collected at the time. When showing off my home museum, she “always makes a statement”.

"My hobbies include reading, gardening and travel. During the winter months I love to read a good novel with suspense. The spring and summer will find me in my garden. It's very rewarding to cultivate the soil and see the flowers bloom. I get the same excitement when I create a new character in my dollmaking.

"My travel has taken me to more than fifteen (15) countries. For my personal collection I have made life-size dolls to wear outfits purchased on these visits.

"Dollmaking gives me an opportunity to pursue my creativity, which until my retirement I never knew existed.

We would like to thank Ms. Washington for allowing us to feature her in the current issue of Black Doll-E-Zine. We wish her continued success in her original portrait and reproduction doll art and anxiously anticipate the birth of her soft sculpture creations.

For more information regarding Ms. Washington’s award-winning dolls, visit her web site at or e-mail her at

To contact us: (Zee) (Deb)