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Vol. 4, Issue 1                                         Quarters 1-2, 2005


Vanessa Morrison

by Debbie Garrett  

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

Q.  When and what inspired you to begin making dolls?

I was inspired to make dolls in 1995 when I tried to purchase a large African-American boy doll.  It was impossible for me to find one that did not cost over $1000.  I saw a picture of a little boy in a magazine.  When I called the company, they said they only sold molds, not dolls.  They suggested I take a dollmaking class locally.  The rest is history.



Q   Are you self-taught, or have you received formal training in doll artistry?

When I began in 1995, I took three months worth of doll classes, going to three different teachers during that time period.  After that, I purchased a second-hand kiln, and the rest of the necessary supplies.  Since that time, I have taken about five dollmaking seminars.  Most of what I do is through experimenting.



Q.   What is your preferred medium and why was that medium chosen?

Right now, my medium is porcelain.  I enjoy working with it, because I am comfortable with it.  I have also worked with polymer clay.  I am still perfecting that medium. 


Q.  Do you focus on one type of doll or do you create a variety of genders, age groups, etc.

I create dolls of all different sizes, age groups, and nationalities.  My favorite dolls are the infants.  Next to that would be my 14" and 15" all-porcelain dolls, which vary in age from 8 years old to 10 years old.


Q.  Elaborate on your first doll.  Do you still have it?  What was its name?  Were you pleased with its outcome?  If you sold it, for how much did it sell, and to whom did you sell it?


I still have my first doll.  I was so elated when she was finished.  The mold name was "Gumdrop".  I never gave her a real name.  I was pleased with her at the time.  As I became more experienced, I realized that the lip color suggested by my teacher at that time, was more appropriate for a white antique doll.  She still brings me joy.


Q.  Describe your latest doll creation and the inspiration for creating it?

Lately, I have been making little boy infant and toddler dolls.  I have this great affinity to little boys.  I have been surprised at the reaction to the little boys, particularly from men that see them.  They have been identifying with the boys.  One told me that the doll reminds him of his son when he was an infant.  Another man purchased a little boy from me, and actually carried him on the plane, as he journeyed home.  There is nothing so satisfying as to have men ask to hold one of my babies!



Q.     Before you begin making a doll, do you have an idea of what the doll will look like or do your dolls create themselves?  

The dolls are created as I go along.  I usually do not know how they will be dressed until after they are fully completed.  The eyes and the wig really bring the doll to life; and at that point, my creative juices will determine what the doll will portray.



Q.  Are your dolls made to look like people that you know? 

I get inspiration from some of the infants and kids I know.  I have done a couple of portrait dolls.  I plan to do a lot more in the future.




Q.     Does each doll have its own personality?

Oh, yes!  It is amazing to me, that I have never successfully, (not that I was trying to) made the same doll.  Even if I use the same mold, eyes and hair, the dolls are different and they have their own personality.  I absolutely love that.  When I finish a doll, particularly the infants, it is almost as if I have given birth to this unique little creature.



Q.     How do you decide on the clothing and accessories for your dolls and do you make these?

I make all of the clothes for my lady and male dolls, and my 14" and 15" all-porcelain dolls.  For the infants and toddlers, I usually purchase their clothing from a real baby store.  It is such a timesaver.  


How the doll is dressed does not materialize until I see the doll together.  Sometimes I get my inspirations from seeing people and kids in magazines.  I also take special requests from customers. 




Q.  How do you decide what to name your dolls and do their names have meanings?

I have a list of names that I keep handy.  After the doll is designed, I find an appropriate name for their personality.  Sometimes it is so obvious what a doll should be named.  When I am creating a special doll for someone, I like to get that person involved in the naming process.




Q.  Do you want collectors to gain a sense of realism through looking at your dolls?  What else do you desire for collectors to gain by owning your dolls? 

I try to make my dolls as real as possible.  I have always found it hard to find African-American dolls that have the right hair, or the right painted colors.  Therefore, I strive to make my dolls look as real as possible.  My dolls bring me so much joy.  I want collectors to have a piece of that joy.  I want my dolls to put smiles on their faces every time they see them.  I make it a point not to make crying babies, or babies that are sad.  We have so many things that make us sad; I do not want my babies to add to that.




Q.  Approximately how much time does it take to make one of your dolls from start to finish?

If I worked on a doll straight through, I could have one completely done in about three days.  Realistically, it takes me a full week to get one together. 




Q. What is the average cost of one of your dolls today?

My dolls range in price from $59 to $275.  The most popular dolls cost $169 and $249.




Q.  How are your dolls presented to the doll community -- through doll shows, the Internet, auctions, etc.?

I attend doll shows.  I have a website,  I have several dolls in local stores.  I have people that carry pictures around with them to get sales.



Q.  Do you teach your doll art?

I currently teach three classes a week.  I am trying to expand that.




Q.  What's next for you? Do you see yourself creating dolls long into the future?

I am trying to have a successful doll business, Nessy's Doll Nursery, where my business will continue to grow as I explore different avenues to make my dolls useful and appreciated.  I plan to sculpt and market originals in the not too distant future.



Q.     How can collectors contact you?

Vanessa Morrison

368 Alva Lane

Lilburn , GA 30047


Cell:  678-887-0243  



One of Vanessa's Boy Dolls


Beautiful Toddler Girl














"Quentin" Up Close



Thank you, Vanessa, for sharing your gift of doll artistry with The Black Doll-E-Zine. 
Contact information for Vanessa:


Vanessa Morrison

368 Alva Lane

Lilburn , GA 30047


Cell:  678-887-0243