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If driven into a corner and forced with a red hot poker, Yve Hooson of Nightshade Dolls would describe herself as "creative". Just as certain people should never be left alone with a box of matches, she is apt to get into trouble with any kind of writing, drawing or sculpting implement. It's a compulsion.
Consequently she spent many years in the back rooms and studios of film companies, advertising agencies and design groups in London. During this hectic period she also discovered a way with words. Often, when a forgotten deadline loomed and no sober copy writer could be found, she was press-ganged into pulling those words from thin air and making sense of them. This need to put words with the things she draws and makes has become a bad habit and now. Back in her native North Wales, lots of odd dolls come into the world with little poems or stories to help them on their way.


It probably goes without saying that she should also never be left alone with a box of matches.

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Philip Leslie/Hansell was born in Norfolk, UK. He began composing music and writing poems and stories in his early teens. His first novel, 'The History of Us' was shortlisted in the fiction section of the 2009 East Anglian Book of the Year award. A new novel, 'What Remains', published August 2013, is an eBook from December House available for all readers including Kindle. Publishing as Philip Hansell, he also composes a variety of music for amateur performers. 

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Kailee Maree: Like many I have long held a yearning to make dolls or as they often seem to me – avatars, embodying the maker.  I studied visual arts majoring in textiles at university but it wasn’t until 2010 that I began to make dolls.  Since then my world is often seen through doll eyes, I dream of small hands and limbs. I tend toward the melancholic side of life though I try to pepper this with sardonic, irreverent humour and the odd bout of whimsical romanticism; I hope this is reflected in my creations

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Brian Blacknick: I love sculpting, fishing and living on Long Island near the sea. Currently I am building a body of work of horror and dark art related themes. My work has won numerous awards and best in show honors. It has also appeared in the pages of "Breakthrough" magazine as well as "Popular Ceramics". Both magazines had published articles written by me about my sculpting and casting techniques.

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Hally cannot remember a time in her life that has not involved dolls in one way or another – whether it be playing, collecting or making them. Her first attempt at doll making started back in the 1990s when she took classes in making reproduction bisque dolls; however, her interest in cloth doll making was piqued when she came across a book that showed cloth dolls as being more than the typical Raggedy Ann doll variety. Once Hally began to design her own patterns for making historically costumed cloth dolls, she was hooked! The dolls are completely made of cloth (including the faces which are soft sculpted) and much research goes into making the clothing to depict a particular time period. 
Now semi-retired, Hally has more time to devote to doll making and is constantly looking for new ideas. She is also interested in what other doll artists are doing and is constantly inspired by their work. Making dolls is more than just a hobby for her – it’s an adventure and with that comes the need to explore new things. Hally has designed articulated paper dolls and primitive style cloth dolls that she sells through retail outlets in her home town. She has also started a new series of dolls that combine air drying stone clay with cloth which she will be selling in  her Etsy shop “Creative Doll Works” (formerly “Doll Castle Creations”) 

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Gwenda Hague: My dolls are an aspect of me which gently cradles the young girl in me still looking at the world in a particularly lovely way. They are about kindness and acceptance. I try to capture the inner heart of a character - their physical appearance is about how life and personality has etched a story. They inhabit fantastical, hidden worlds - or they can (in recent works) try to bring about an understanding of the difficulties faced 

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Melanie Ashton: My dolls are inspired by worlds glimpsed but rarely 'seen', by the wild woods and the lonely moors, sorcery and myth. They mourn the forgetting of the wild within and the ever decreasing wilds of nature but yet maintain a delicate feral quality with which they hold an optimism for wild's return.Perhaps, they will crook a finger to you and bid you follow them to the dark, quiet places beyond the twilight, where the moon is a pale sliver and to it the wind whispers it's tales. 

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Colleen Downs, aka LoopyBoopy, resides in New Orleans LA with her husband and her daughter. A self taught artist working in figurative sculpture for over 20 years, most recently art dolls. Her dolls are inspired by the colorful city she lives in and it's endless amount of characters and personalities. The experience of motherhood has also inspired the artist, a child's antics, observations, fears and musings are apparent in her work. Her love of southern gothic is apparent in the doll's tiny outfits which are all entirely hand stitched and made from vintage fabric scraps, laces and notions. Colleen sells her work online with much of her work sold to collectors worldwide.
  
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Cynthia Toy: I’ve been making dolls for about 30 year now and think I started because I never wanted to stop playing with them. My sister and I spent most of our childhood imagining elaborate backgrounds and scenarios for our dolls so it just seemed natural to find a way to keep playing with them for the rest of my life.  I love my work, it can never be boring because so many different techniques are involved... tired of sewing? You can glue for awhile, or knit, or work clay, or stuff, cut, weave, needle-felt... there's all kinds of fun to be had and new techniques to learn all the time.  And I’ll let you in on a secret...doll making is also the best way to let all those characters who have been living in my head find their way into the world. (Whew, it does get crowded in there!)

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