Interview With a Fashion Doll Lover- Terri Gold, Blogger Extraordinaire

Interview With a Fashion Doll Lover: Terri Gold, Blogger Extraordinaire

Our latest member to be featured in an interview needs little introduction, for Terri is possibly one of the most prolific and well-known fashion doll bloggers on the Internet. With her blog Collecting Fashion Dolls by Terri Gold. I’m sure all of us at one time have read one of Teri’s insightful reviews or been in adoration over her stunning photography. So it was a special treat to see that Terri become a member.

Recently Terri also kindly agreed to an interview, giving us a real insight into her creative process, collection, and life in general. I hope you enjoy it!

DollObservers: What made you join

TG: I had seen it on Facebook and I think a specific doll was featured that interested me.

DollObservers: When did you start collecting/playing dolls?

TG: I began playing with dolls as a child. My first dolls were Toni, Little Miss Revlon and Ginny. By the time Barbie hit the scene I was outgrowing dolls and I never got involved with them. Many, many years passed during which I did not play with or collect dolls but I never got tired of little things. I built scale model furniture and created rooms – which I still have – although some of my dolls have now stolen items from those miniature rooms.

My first experience with a Barbie doll ended badly. She was a skier. (Ski Fun Barbie?) My young son got a hold of her and brushed her hair. She looked awful after that and I threw her away.
One Halloween weekend a bunch of years ago, my husband and I were in Manhattan for a photography convention at the Javits Center. While wandering around Toys-R-Us in Times Square and I saw the Bratz dolls. I don’t know why they appealed to me so much. I started collecting them. I discovered a Bratz group on Yahoo. From there I found other doll groups and doll boards, one of which led me to the Tonner Doll Company. The wild coincidence is that I lived only 11 miles from Tonner’s offices. I went to what they called a Trunk Sale and bought my first Tyler dolls. I had already been buying Tiny Kitty dolls. The doll doctor, Noreen, predicted that there would be no going back. Who knew she was right?

DollObservers: The dolls in my collection:

TG: The most numerous dolls in my collection are from the Tonner Doll Company. I have a very large collection of Tiny Kitty dolls, their furniture, cases and props. My other Tonner dolls are the 16-inch Tyler types and Antoinette dolls. I love Tonner’s fashions and often buy back items that I sold years ago. I can gaze at my showcases every day and not get tired of the dolls inside. The next largest group of dolls are those manufactured by Integrity Toys. I had at least 100 of them at one time, but in the last three years, I’ve whittled them down to my very favourites.

I got into Gene for a while and currently have a nice selection.
I love props, and the Tonner Doll Company and Ashton Drake have made wonderful furniture for the 16-inch dolls. It takes up a lot of room, but it’s worth it.
I have a lovely collection of Silkstones and Madame Alexander Cissettes. The Monster High populates a big shelf, and there are several boxed vinyl Barbies. I have a few big Cissy dolls and a collection of Somers and Fields Daisy and Willow dolls.
Rounding out the collection are my resin BJDs. They range in size from 4.5 inches to 17 inches and are from different manufacturers namely Soom, Fairyland, Jamieshow, Ficon and Superdoll.

DollObservers: You write an incredibly successful fashion doll blog. What made you start the blog and what is it that you most enjoy about owning a blog?

TG: I just looked back at my first post, which was 10/20/06. It shows two pictures of the first re-root I ever did and was written during the Fashion Royalty convention, which was held in Baltimore. I suppose I needed to connect to the doll world in a more complex way than just being involved on doll boards.

Two years later I moved the blog from Yahoo to Google Blogger, so there are two dates on those early posts. Approximately a year ago, I changed photo servers, and many of the images on the blog are blank. Other than the work involved in ‘housekeeping’ a blog I like being able to do research and give background information on dolls. For a few years, I did a popular weekly “Photo of the Week Award” in which I featured a great picture and the collector who created it.

One of the best things about writing a blog is the people who write to me – usually off the blog – about all sorts of issues. It’s amazing who’s out there and the feedback I get is really great. I love it. According to many people, I am the only blogger who is willing to tell the truth about certain products. This has also created a group of haters. Do you know what they say about how to start an argument? Post an opinion.

Having written for so many years has created a wonderful diary. I do recommend it.

DollObservers:  Any tips for members who might want to start their own blog?

TG: Make it personal but create boundaries; it is the Internet and your personal family issues, economic situation and very personal problems do not belong in a blog.

Put yourself into the blog with your opinions and feelings. Give people a reason to keep coming back. Develop a style uniquely yours. Be a reporter and develop a certain distancing diplomacy because if you are honest and post opinions, the haters will come out of the woodwork. Don’t slander people and don’t break the law. Post great photos and edit your own to show only one or two of the same doll. It is unnecessary to post ten pictures of the same doll in slightly different posts. Pick the best and store the rest.

DollObservers: Your doll photography is phenomenal. What top tip do you have for budding doll photographers?

TG: Read your camera manual. Put your camera on a tripod if your pictures are out of focus. Comb your dolls’ hair. Simplify the settings. There are many how-to pages on the Internet. Read a few.

7. What does your family make of your love of dolls?

TG: My husband is very supportive. He attends conventions and other doll events with me. The young children in my family love the dolls. The rest don’t care. The only questions I’ve ever been asked by a family member is, “How many dolls do you have?”

DollObservers: Other than playing with dolls what else do you do to relax?

TG: Yoga, gardening, reading, cooking and TV. We’re a few months into a new home so there is a load of stuff to do. It’s not exactly relaxing but it’s necessary.

DollObservers: Lastly how would you describe yourself in 3 words?

TG: Irreverent, hungry and fun-loving.

This interview was first published on May 12, 2013
Fashion Doll Lover Dom SUperstar Member

Interview With a Fashion Doll Lover: Dom

In this, the first of a new regular feature, we take a closer look at Doll Observers member and my right-hand woman, Dom. Our very first “Superstar Member!!

Dom has been with us since the very beginning and has been a winner of the monthly theme photo competition no less than four times! Little wonder with her creative know-how and a knack for dioramas.

Dom is always quick to share her tips and support others. She recently won the accolade of “Official Greeter” here on and is very active in the Fashion Doll Tutorials Group.

I hope you enjoy the interview and that it inspires you to be our next “Superstar”!

What made you join Doll Observers?

I discovered “Fashion Doll Amigos” while browsing the web for new information about the latest dolls and registered in August 2009. Then when (Simon) started “DollObservers” it was the logical move for me. I had found a warm welcoming group of friends I did not want to loose.

When did you start collecting/playing dolls?

In 1989, Hubby and I arrived in Edmonton (Canada) in the University student housing. I found an old Barbie doll in the laundry sharing bin (place were people left items they did not want/use anymore to be freely shared with other students). She was a beautiful black lady and looked like Dance Club Devon Barbie. I brought her home and started hand sewing a dress (with fabric from the same laundry bin). After this, I looked for more and brought home all the Barbie’s I could find and dressed them. When a charity event occurred I was asked for help and I presented some of my dolls. I was very pleased with the response.

I started buying new Barbies (basic ones) dressed them OOAK and sold them at doll events and craft shows. Later on I did the same in Mexico City and Quebec. Then, in Alberta, the leader of the Barbie Club of Alberta asked me to join and I gladly complied. In 2000, following a design from my good friend Glenn Mielke (himself member of the Barbie Club of Alberta), I created the Doll Club outfit.

After being part of the Barbie club for a number of years, some friends and I started gathering on a regular basis, and when one of them brought Gene (from Mel Odom) I fell totally in love. The face did not seduce me at first, I should admit, but the size, proportions, the elegance! How wonderful she was! After that I bought Tyler from Robert Tonner. I was and still am totally hooked!

Tell us about the dolls in your collection.

I have about 30 dolls in “My Gang”. The first was a Basic brunette Gene Marshal. Gene not being a name that suits her (from my point of view) she became Marie (Lilly’s mom). However Tyler is my favorite. She’s Lilly and she is my muse and inspiration.

Later on, I bought other male/female Mel Odom dolls and other Tonner dolls. Then Mme Alexander dolls caught my heart with their articulated bodies! I bought two Sandra Bilotto dolls because their faces inspired me, and more recently a Horseman Vita doll arrived in my Gang and became Lizbeth Smith-Evans.

More and more my Gang took life and as I needed a little “world”, it became natural to look for different ethnicity and body shape. Olga (Elle Jakks doll) with articulated legs, Davina (Emme by Tonner) with her full body. Then blonde, brunette, red haired, male, female, African, Asian and all I could think of was a new doll with a new history, a new background. So thanks to my friends and Hubby “My Gang” kept on growing.

Of course nowadays the body of the doll is definitely more articulated, but My Gang members have whatever (few) articulations dolls had in the time of their arrival. Now indeed I would love them all to be articulated, but I love them as is, even if they are not perfect.

Your dolls have a life of their own with the names and stories you give them. Where do you get your inspiration?

I know what doll I need, I do not know why. Right now I need Russell Williams (Tonner) because I don’t have any African guy in “my Gang” I do not know his name, neither his story nor profession. I will know this when he arrives. It’s like he came with it, he tells me when I open the box. I did try before to imagine a name/job/story about a doll before she/he comes home but when I opened the box… it didn’t “go with it”. I cannot explain why.

My dolls have their own taste/favorite colors/pet/profession/address/hobby etc and I just “listen to them” (and no, I do not hear voices!!). I do keep an ID journal though.

We know you love to craft and sew for your dolls. What got you started?

My mom being a dressmaker I had to learn to sew (not really my choice but…) so I have a French sewing certificate of aptitude (after 3 years of study). Even if I didn’t like this too much when I was younger, today it comes naturally to me to sew for my Gang. I still need patterns though.

As for the craft, I try, I make mistakes, insult myself, then try again until I am satisfied. But I rarely do the same thing twice as I get bored quickly.

Any diorama tips for our members?

Scale is a must.  Choose small patterns for the furniture, add little tiny objects as they will bring life to the décor.  Look around everywhere when shopping and you will find tooth picks, shampoo caps, pill boxes… they will become BBQ picks, bowls, light fixtures…etc You do not have to spend a dime, but as you are going to spend time doing it, have fun, and it will do.

What do your family make of your love of dolls?

My Hubby was and still is, the most supportive of all. He knows my dolls by their names; he knows their origin and profession as well as their character traits. He is well informed about their value. Sometimes this is quite remarkable as he is often the one buying them on E-Bay 🙂

For the rest of my family my Mom, being the most interested, asks for pictures of my latest diorama but being a dressmaker herself she is more excited in the outfits. My two children were always very supportive, and now my five grandchildren are in on the “secret”. We have fun creating stories of princesses saved by noble knights at the dusk of a dull day!

Other than playing with dolls what else do you do to relax?

Reading: mystery, murders investigation, fantasy, (right now, Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke). Scrap-booking; basically card making as me and my Canadian/Chinese best friend challenge ourselves. Photography. I am a “photoholic” really. I take hundreds of pics anywhere, of everything. I am just hooked. Thanks, digital! Sewing/knitting/cross-stitching/painting/sculpting (clay) I even put my hands on tiling my house floor and walls. I hate being unoccupied and I love to learn and prove to myself that I can do it.

Lastly, how would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Resourcefulness, Imagination, Patience!

Thank you, Dom, for a fantastic interview and insight into your world. Let’s see who will be our next “Superstar Member”!