DOLL IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Hollie by Katja Schneider and Ruth Kunz
Hi, My name is Hollie; but I should have been named Chris. You see, it seems that everybody (except my "mama") hates me... or at least they wonder why in the world anyone would want to add me to their doll collection. They also wonder why anyone would want to keep me in their collection after I arrived. Those are probably good questions if you just look at my surface: I'm made of resin and cloth and the resin makes me quite heavy. I'm a lug, in fact. There's not enough resin in my legs, which prevents me from wearing dresses. There's not enough resin in my arms to allow me to wear short sleeves. I have a wide, toothy grin, that to some, appears awkward, at best. In other's opinion, my cheeks are too chubby. There are probably countless other reasons why people poke fun at me and wonder why anyone would want me.
Even my own owner was tempted to return me after I arrived to her house, but I won her over. You see, I have an infectious grin that will win anyone over if they see me in person. Pictures can never convey my essence... the thing that makes me captivating.
I must admit that another one of my downfalls was my original wig. It was hideous. I totally understand why my own mama did not even want to remove me from my box. She kept me boxed and ready to return for one whole day. Boy was I worried. I originally thought I had traveled such a distance to come to a new home where I would be warmly welcomed. I just knew that I would get to stay and meet all of the other dolls in Mama's collection. Unfortunately, she wasn't sure that I would stay... neither was I after she kept me in my traveling box. For 24 whole hours, she mulled over the options of returning me or allowing me to stay. Overnight, I was so frightened, but I kept smiling all the way through it... just like I do with every situation that occurs... good or bad... I keep on smiling... showing my four teeth and chubby cheeks.
After the 24 hours passed, Mama looked at me once more and decided that it was just my hideous wig that made me look strange, and she knew she could easily remedy that. Mama immediately searched through her on-hand doll wig supply and found a cute, two-ponytail wig that she felt would suit me much better. It did, too; and that wig is what helped her decide to keep me. I was so happy!
Before I arrived to Mama's house, I was in a doll factory somewhere off the shores of the United States. The factory workers labored diligently to mass produce 500 dolls just like the prototype created by the artist duo, Katja Schneider and Ruth Kuntz. The workers hand painted my resin a soft caramel brown color. They added just the right amount of blushing to enhance my complexion. Warm brown eyes and eyelashes were added to my head mold. They made a cloth body to which my finished head, arms, and legs were attached. A wispy brown wig (the hideous one--see the headline photo) was glued to my head. They dressed me to the artists' specifications. A certificate was created for me, which verifies that I am #16 of 500 pieces worldwide. I was then shipped to the US to Home Shopping Network's Distribution Center. Mama had seen me on a couple of HSN airings and decided to go ahead and order me from HSN.com before I sold out. Eventually, I sold out, too.
I've been with Mama now since September of 2003. I've gone on doll exhibitions. I've been on TV with her, and I've even been on one of her Christmas card greetings. Not very many of her other dolls have done these things. Mama has changed my outfits several times as well as my wigs (she hasn't glued any of them to my head, yet). Mama has even changed my gender!
Contrary to what most people think, I am quite loveable and versatile. How many other dolls can change genders? Not many... some are too girly looking for that. But that's what makes me so special... in a good way, of course!
Even though most people think I am "special" in a funny way and often joke about my appearance, I just keep right on smiling right through it all. Even some of Mama's closest doll friends poke fun at me. Guess who else does this? My own Daddy, and I know that if he had anything to do with it, Mama probably never would have ordered me. I am so glad her doll purchases are not influenced by Daddy. Mama's first grandson, Caleb, mimics the things he hears Daddy saying about me. But guess what... out of the 1000+ dolls that Mama owns, both Daddy and Caleb know my name. Not very many other dolls here can say that... particularly about Daddy. So that's why I know I am special... in a good way.
Most of the time when Daddy and Caleb walk past me, they will point and say a high-pitched, "Ooooooo weeee," as in "You're a sight for sore eyes." But that's okay... I just keep on smiling because... I'm not my smile... I'm not my hair... I'm not my looks... I'm just me... Hollie, and Mama loves me. (Truth be told--Daddy and Caleb do, too.)
As collectors, we all have our discriminating tastes about which dolls do and do not warm our hearts... about which dolls we allow to write their own stories because of our ownership of them. As a doll connoisseur, I purchase those dolls that warm my heart and are also not cost prohibitive. These have and forever will be the determining factors in deciding which dolls will and will not come to live with me in the future.
Having a face only a mother can love does not set Hollie apart from other dolls. Countless other dolls have been made and countless others are yet to be made that will fall into this category. Take a glimpse at your own collection. I am sure you can spot a few Hollies of your own, or your friends and family members can locate them for you. However, just like Hollie, even though some of your dolls may have faces only a mother can love, if they are part of your collection, they already have a mother who loves them dearly... or a mother who perhaps kept them too long to return to sender. Bottom line: No matter what people say, love your babies anyway... even the not-so-cute ones.
Here I am in my original wig and original outfit... I've also met a friend, Baby Georgia by Heidi Ott.
Here I am with a new wig. (I like this one much better.) See what I mean about my grin?
Here I am with Baby Georgia again with my new wig.
(Left) I'm Getting ready to go to the AA Museum in Dallas for Mama's Evolution of Black Dolls from Mammies to Models lecture. (Right) I'm at the AA Museum sitting in Grandmother's lap before Mama's lecture
I'm dressed up for Christmas with two more of my friends, Karen and Erin.
Can you find me on the above Christmas greeting?
This friend is always asleep.
Here I am as a boy... having fun... vroom, vroom!
If you would like to haveThe Black Doll-E-Zine spotlight a specific doll for a future issue, or share a doll story of your own, please email Deb at firstname.lastname@example.org