Ankie: the dollmaker
I feel very blessed that I was able to discover the art of dollmaking in my life. When for the first time I visited an art doll exhibition I was overwhelmed and immediately felt that I wanted to belong to that magic world.
I cannot imagine my life without dolls and dollmaking!
I am never short on inspiration and I have more ideas in my head than I can make in my life! Looking through ‘doll-eyes’ at the world is how I see every day.I believe that the basics of dollmaking is excellent craftmanship but also it actually goes beyond this. Dollmaking involves expression and recognising emotions together with using high quality materials, so this means dollmaking is a ‘never ending story’!
From my studio in The Netherlands (Holland), where we live, I work on my creations daily, trying to make the ultimate doll that communicates everything I want to say.
Being a workaholic, spending 9 hours a day making dolls, preparing classes, working on on-line classes and doll-related things, I experience never a dull moment!
One of the most important elements is to infuse my creations with a soul. Dolls with a soul are my passion. I like my dolls to be happy, sad, humoristic or even mystic. They should give you a feeling that they have a life and soul, and that they bring to you an intimate connection as if they have a human spirit. Recognising this soul contributes to the experience of looking at each doll as a piece of art.
How my passion started
My passion for dollmaking and artistic pursuits began very early in my life. I was born in The Netherlands and even as a child I was always looking for beautiful things. I think I wanted to live my life like being in a fairy-tale. Growing up with only brothers I did not share my fantasy world, but my dolls became my best friends! As a child I was constantly searching for ways to express my artistic abilities. My mother sewed my clothes and a large part of my childhood was spent seated beside my moms sewing machine, waiting for left-over scraps of fabrics to make ballroom dresses for my Barbie dolls.
Teaching, music & doll maker
This great love of fabrics still remains today. I get inspired by beautiful materials, laces and trims to design my costumes. Initially my dream was to have a career as a ballet dancer, opera singer or designer. Unfortunately my parents at those days did not share this idea of going to art school. So I attended an educational academy and became a teacher.
After teaching for five years I began searching for an opportunity to express my creative energy. I was attracted to the conservatory where I studied music and I became a music teacher. I undertook this career for 13 years, but was still searching for something more, not knowing what that should be.
Then I visited a doll exposition!!! I went there to take a look and was blown away! Seeing these dolls hit me right in the middle of my heart. This was what I wanted to do!
After returning to that exhibition three times I realised that my passion in life was to become a dollmaker! That doll show changed my life! In my pursuit of the craft I began to take dollmaking lessons and soon I started to teach myself.
Nowadays I like to work with Creative paperclay and porcelain. I love the charm of a very smooth skin, which I can achieve with both , paperclay and porcelain.
Through the years of being a dollmaker I developed my own style and many, many students experienced this in my classes that I teach all over the world.
Also once or twice a year I teach dollmaking holiday classes in Spain and also for 19 years I teach together with my colleague Marlaine Verhelst a special five day class ‘The Dutch Touch’ in the USA. Also students are able to come for private classes in Spain or The Netherlands. I love to teach and share my knowledge.
My goal is always to create the ultimate doll.
A doll which will stay in your memory
after you have seen it!
LOVELY TOUGH CHARMING OR FUNNY
On the page Available Dolls you’ll find the latest collection of my New Dolls.