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More on Doll Repair, A Dying Art

By March 24, 2011

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Just a few months ago, I was lamenting the fact that doll repair is a dying art. So, I couldn't resist passing up sharing a recently posted nostalgic article and photo about famed doll doctor in Doncaster. England, Charles Miller, who died in 1951. The article said that the business was passed down to his son and grandson. However, further research showed that the store did later close down (and may have been replaced by a fast food outlet). I think it is a sign of our throw-away society-- so many times today, people choose to replace something that has broken instead of paying the cost to repair it. Of course, with a beloved doll, that doesn't always work the same way as replacing a toaster.


March 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm
(1) Jody Cook says:

I agree. Doll repair is a dying art. At my shop in Oklahoma City repairing and restoring someone’s doll is one of the things I enjoy most. To bring someone’s treasure back to life is very rewarding.

March 24, 2011 at 6:44 pm
(2) Mel's Belles Restorations says:

After 23 years of doll repair and all decorative arts it doesn’t seem to be dying here. We are very busy with new interesting jobs coming in all the time.

March 24, 2011 at 7:32 pm
(3) Carol says:

The art of doll repair and restoration is an expensive craft; I am having a difficult time finding a mentor or class or conference at a managable cost. It is complex art and not easy to learn on one’s own! Indeed is is a dying art and must be kept alive. Any recommendations?

March 24, 2011 at 9:18 pm
(4) Ashlee says:

The doll hospitals here in CA, Los Angeles area
seem to have all gone away too.
There are still some people that will do repairs
that can be found at shows or you have to
ship your doll to them.
So many things have become a dying art and
its very sad.
There are not even any doll stores here any
more either.

March 26, 2011 at 9:15 pm
(5) Carol Lindberg says:

I have read the comments about doll restoration becoming a dying art. I don’t suppose you will print this comment as I want to tell you this.

I wrote a book – ALL ABOUT DOLL REPAIR & CARE by Carol Lindberg, that is available on eBay right now at a reduced price. I so want doll repair to be carried on, that I even wrote a chapter in the book “Going into business even though you hadn’t planned to”. It is all about getting started and someone is mislead, as the tools are probably what you have in your home right now.

The book is written with step by step instructions with colored pictures to SHOW you how to accomplish each step. If you have further questions, please contact me personally – cinez123@aol.com

I hope this will be published, not to sell books, but to further the restoration of dolls as they are so precious!

Thank you. Carol

March 31, 2011 at 9:59 am
(6) Mollye Self says:

Great article. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been a blogger gal for several years and finally took the leap of setting up my Dolly Blog. Come visit. I just got started with it but am having fun. Yes ’tis true about the dying art of doll repair. I have so many little pitiful babies but they will never become orphans while I’m alive! Hugs, Mollye

March 31, 2011 at 3:10 pm
(7) Sheryl E. Black says:

Just read your newsletter about the dying art of doll repair. We are going strong here Saucy Walker’s Corner in our Doll Hospital. Lots of tears and gratefulness as we have restored many dolls so the “Baby Boomer” owners can finally pass them down to their loved ones.

I started this business in the memory of my mother who passed away while livi8ng with us. How much she loved the dolls. I never had a collector’s heart but have learned there is a little spirit in these dolls and that once a child thought them to be real. I often think I, once a full time Web Designer turned doll eye surgeon have lost my marbles as I talk to each one. However, the greatest thing is to watch a man who helped N.A.S.A. on the Hubble Telescope at one time become well known as “Dr. Hubby” as he has invented techniques on these dolls that no one else knows how to do. They walk like new and I could swear they smile at us all the time now.

From the Trash to Like-New is very rewarding and I am not looking to quit anytime soon.

March 31, 2011 at 3:54 pm
(8) Arlene Martinez says:

It is a sad fact that quality doll restoration is a dying art. People like us who do quality work are few and far between, to quote a customer of mine. After 32 years, I am busier than ever! It seems like more people are having their collectibles restored.

A note to Carol: It is true that this is an expensive art to learn from a qualified instructor. Not only do you have to learn everything, but the real test of your ability comes from years of practice and experience. You have to be committed and love what you are doing to succeed.

I just love hearing “She looks just wonderful; thank you so much.” Young to old make this a job worth doing.
Dolls by Arlene will enable your dolls to live on.

April 1, 2011 at 2:21 am
(9) Carol says:

Thank you, Arlene for your words of encouragement-it strengthens my committment to help preserve for others what my mother taught us as little girls-that is, to love and treat our dolls with the greatest care! I am busy trying all aspects of this craft; Carol L.- your book is wonderful-a huge help to me in my quest. I am a “people” doctor and I strive to now learn to be a “doll”doctor.! Thanks.

April 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm
(10) DollMaiden says:

A toy is not a toy till its loved by a child~Then once the love is gone its time to REBORN&RESTORE~i find it fun& entertaining as im collecting dolls from my childhood{70′s era}
Compared to the doll of today they do tricks and are electronic or not like the good ole days when children played w/toys & now days it seem like dolls/toys are so animated & they actually play for the child.
I have some old dolls that had been laid to rest up in atttices or basements} that i bought and they was hideaous~the pride&joy of seeing an old shot out doll~Return to her beauty is aa thing of awe~
Then the value of restoring old dolls makes for a small fortune~in 20 years from now i cant imagine how much my dolls will be worth as they are quite desirable}
i emcourage all doll lovers/restore folk.To continue so that we never forget the toy from the child within~DM

April 6, 2011 at 3:49 pm
(11) MarthaE says:

I do agree that it is getting harder to find anyone to repair dolls based on my experience. I am learning to do a lot myself though lack of money and space keeps me from doing everything I’d like to do.I do restrinnging, dressing, and some other things and it seems anytime someone hears about me I pick up work. I hate to think of it as a dying art, but guess it really is.Sad to say.

May 25, 2011 at 10:33 am
(12) Louise Sleeter says:

I am a Doll Restoration artist and have been since 1994. I feel that my business continues to becoming busier every year. I think it is a dying art because to do it well is extremely time consuming, very demanding and the chemicals and epoxies you have to work with are not the best for your health. You have to wear masks, have good ventilation. Also to be honest, there are so few who do it well. I mean as far as rebuilding and repainting, and not over doing. I think the saddest part of the doll repair industry is the SO over done and unnecessary repairs of composition dolls. Too much is being done on these lovely treasures. I make it a point to stress to my customers: LESS IS ALWAYS BETTER. Louise Sleeter-Proprietor of Louise’s Little Ladies Doll & Toy Repair

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