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Paulette Goodreau: Always an Artist

Interview with Doll Artist Paulette Goodreau

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During the last year, I’ve become totally enchanted by the dolls created by artist Paulette Goodreau. Paulette is the artist and creator behind the relatively new American BJDs (ball jointed dolls), cloth NoNo dolls, and the versatile create-your-own SNAPPYS. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Paulette to try to find out just what makes this creative dollmaking mind tick!

Question: How did you get involved in dolls and dollmaking?

Paulette: Well, I’ve always been an artist! I’ve also always loved dolls—for many years, I’ve collected mostly new dolls, but also a few 1930s vintage dolls. For many years, I’ve also accompanied my mom to doll conventions—my mom was a collector always, but as a single mom, there wasn’t a lot of money for collecting when I was growing up. When she got older and she had a bit more money, then she started collecting. I’ve been going to the Disney Expo collecting show for 16 or 17 years, and now I’m showing my own dolls at it!

Question: But how did the actual dollmaking get started?

Paulette:At Expo I would sometimes get a little bored and I would help at people’s doll booths—that got me interested in the actual making of dolls. There was a Discover part of the show, and for that I would make kooky little dolls. Nancy Shomo (from Tonner Dolls) wanted one of my kooky dolls; and so I made one for her, and that was my first one of a kind NoNo doll. That was about four years ago. By 2005. we were producing NONO dolls. In 2007, a one of a kind NoNo sold at an IDEX auction for Children Affected By AIDS for $4,000!

Comment….I need to add a little story here. I met Paulette at this very IDEX auction. I had never seen NoNo dolls before (they are very…well, original--arty and conceptual!) and I met Paulette when I was very loudly mentioning to R. John Wright that I just didn’t GET NoNo dolls…..This, of course, caught Paulette’s attention, and now I not only GET NoNos, but I have one that happily lives on my desk….and another that frolics in my car…OK, back to the interview…

Paulette: Anette (Paulette’s sister and the financial brain of the Goodreau dollmaking business) had the idea for SNAPPY, the doll you put together about 6 months later—I waned a brown and white doll and Nanette came up with the way we can do it; you just snap the parts of the dolls together, so you can have any color parts you want.

Question: How did the American BJDs get their start?

Paulette: Well, I really liked Ball Jointed Dolls (“BJDs”) but I didn’t want to order them from a foreign country. In the USA, the dolls are expensive to purchase and hard to get. In October 2006 I was at the Modern Dolls Convention. At that convention, I Bought first my very first BJD and announced to everyone I was going to make one myself and everyone thought I was kidding (except Robert Tonner).

I know this sounds crazy, but less than 3 months later I debuted my American BJD line at IDEX 2007! It WAS crazy and insane; the first shipment of product was actually July; the factory did an amazing, quick job to get them made for us. We are lucky to be working with very nice people at our factory in Hong Kong, which is owned by an American..

Question: But why BJDs?

Paulette: I was naturally drawn to BJDs; but it took me a long time to figure out why. Basically, with most dolls, the artist creates the doll, the hair, the outfit, and you buy that doll. With BJDs, the doll is a blank palette—you buy the sculpted doll, but he collector actually makes it theirs—as much or as little as they want!

Question: What is next for Goodreau Dolls?

Paulette: Right now, love getting kids involved in the concept of dolls, whether they become a collector or just have one doll on their shelf. Further than that, I actually can’t divulge what I’m working on…I’ll be teasing the new project in the next three issues of DOLLS magazine; all I’ll say is that the project will be made in vinyl and geared towards teenagers. Good, evil, the human project…..OK, I can’t say anymore; just look for my teasers in DOLLS magazine!

I will also continue at the same time with my BJDs; we have 8 new BJD faces on the drawing board, in MSD size in resin, both boys and girls. Plus, we have our smaller dolls, in 8 and 5 inch sizes coming out…people and creatures, in their own little land called Whisker Woods (Whisker Woods is the name of the actual Goodreau house in Texas!). I’m also working on special projects for the Disney show and UFDC (United Federation of Doll Collectors).

With the BJDs, people don’t have to have them all. We only make 150 of each head now and then we break the molds. Also, we will no longer make vinyl versions of our resin head sculpts. There will be different head sculpts for our vinyl and resin BJD dolls in MSD size, and the vinyl dolls will come in dressed versions only.

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