Welcome to Kate's Gallery - Open All Night


Kate's Gallery - Open All Night - Little Darling Dolls™


As an introduction to my new line of dolls, I thought I would take a moment to tell you a little about how I got started making them and a little about the process.

I was not even aware of the concept of one-of-a-kind art dolls when suddenly I found myself making a pair of them. My good friend Dee Butterfield was stage managing an Arts Inc. production of a play called "Kitchen Witches" starring local actresses Karen Hastings and Carole Ries at the Break Room in downtown Topeka and the production needed two kitchen witch dolls. Now, Dee knew that I have a rather wide creative streak and that I had made some fairly cute teddy bears in the past, so she brought me two doll bodies and told me she needed the dolls for the show. The very best part - she told me I could do whatever I wanted to them, and so I went to work. I embroidered faces for the blank faced dolls and beautiful cascades of hair using 6 ply acrylic yarn. I made dresses and bloomers and sparkly socks, curly toed boots, white pinafores (they were kitchen witches after all), pointy black hats, reversible capes and even brooms for the dolls. They were a hit. Karen liked them so well she commissioned three smaller versions to give as cast gifts at the end of the show.

Then, the following October, Dee was once again working on a production, this time for Topeka Civic Theatre's production of Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None". We thought little Indian dolls would make fun cast gifts so she commissioned me to do 20 of them for cast and crew. It was great fun trying to make each one unique and the dolls went over well with both cast and crew.

Two of the dolls ended up with director Shannon Reilly's children and they asked for two others for Christmas. I created a pirate doll for his son and a ballerina mouse doll for his daughter. These, too, were a hit and I had been bitten by the doll making bug.

So, starting in March of 2013 I began creating dolls. Taking ideas from popular archetypes, I started making a collection of boy and girl dolls. In the months since, I have finished 14 of them.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, 14 dolls in 7 months?!? Wow, Kate, you're really slow. Well, you would be absolutely correct. The process is not quick. First I have to get the idea for the doll and work out in my mind what all I want to include. Then, I have to find the right materials to achieve the look I'm after. I created the original pattern for the doll body itself and must create the pattern for each piece of clothing the doll will wear. Then I sew each piece by hand, create shoes and hats, crochet a wig cap for their head, hand tie hundreds of strands of yarn to make their hair, embroider their faces and create jewelry and sometimes even companion animals for them. With the magician doll, Lavann, I created a deck of cards that would fit in his pocket. I had to learn how to set studs to make the motorcycle jacket for Max. The newest doll I'm making required whittling to make his walking stick. With each project my skills are put to the test and often new skills must be learned. I'd like to say as I go on that it will get easier or quicker, but I'm not holding my breath. I'd rather put out a high quality product than rush to a sloppy finish.

So, that is why, if you were wondering, the dolls seem a bit pricey. I have between 80 and 100 hours (at least) in each one. But, they are one of a kind - and I hope you find them darling.

I hope you enjoy viewing my gallery of Little Darling Dolls as much as I enjoy creating them.



November, 2013

Little Darling Dolls™ Gallery