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A Passion For Dolls....Lorraine Abernethy

Why make dolls?
I've sewn all my life (began at age 4!!), my passion is fabrics and textiles and history of costume and fashion, and I no longer had the desire to make my own clothes, so dollmaking fitted the bill for designing and being creative, but all in miniature - and I could break every dressmaker and construction rule that ever existed!

How did you start?
I began making reproduction antique porcelain dolls in 1982 and they whetted my appetite for some years until I needed independence and a return to my textile roots, and a really strong compulsion to be original rather than making to someone else's design and brief. So began the journey I still continue in the world of fabric dolls.

Have you had other careers / businesses?
I worked in Sales Management for many years - in the hair care industry and later in retail fabrics, managing staff and millions of $$$'s. Then I went to Polytechnic and entered the art world - tutoring adults in three different art schools in Wellington.

Where have you sold your dolls?
In New Zealand and overseas

How do you market (eg: word of mouth)
Word of mouth is a strong contender for me, but I have a website, and I also exhibit in gallery shows.

What's the best thing about your work?
That I pursue what I love, uninhibited, I have free rein creatively, I can be as indulgent as I jolly well like and I work with utterly beautiful fabrics and colour.

The not so good part?
Minor really…..the mechanics of construction - I just want to get to the real ‘frou frou’ embellishing bits.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
First the fabrics - they speak to me of another character, another combination, I use them as an artist their palette. The world of the Renaissance and the Rococo period. The fashion world - Alexander McQueen, Issey Miyake, Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood, Schiaperellie. Young Goths in the streets!

Will you ever retire?
Never - fingers will become arthritic, eyes will go…..but I'll continue to finger fabrics!

Tell us about your part of the world
The Coromandel is Paradise! The town is very small - (pop.1500) and is dependent on the summer influx of tourists and city dwellers - and the intensive year round mussel and oyster farming.

Coromandel is an old gold mining town and consequently has families here that go back 5 and 6 generations; this gives the town a diversity and sense of history. The geography is stunning - a backbone of 12 million year old volcanoes (long extinct!) rises steeply from the coast, richly bush clad, and with an outlook to the Hauraki Gulf studded with islands - invigoratingly rural and coastal together.

Climate is warmly benign - temperatures in the high 20's C in summer, and after the equinoxal winds have abated around Oct/Nov, we only contend with mild breezes - mostly. Winters are cool, day temperatures around 12 - 15 C. Overnight lows are about 9C with occasional frosts. We can grow bananas here !

Where have you lived before?
As a child - Dunedin, Timaru, then for the last 40 years in the capital city of Wellington (with two years in Papua New Guinea).

What's great about your location?
The climate. The climate. Our lifestyle….very very cruise-y and laid back - laughingly so!!

Any ‘downsides’ about the location?
I can't be the cruising urban animal so often - and the creative stimulation that gave me - popping in to Art Galleries, watching city people pass by, see young students getting off to their studies. Movies. Theatre. Old friends. Family.

If people want to contact you, please let us know your website: www.lorrainesartdolls.com
Take a look here

Lorraine's creative husband's story is here