R:  The eye chips you create are truly some of the most beautiful I have seen.  You photograph them very well, but in person they are just amazing.  How long have you been making eye chips and how many would you say you have created so far?

  A: Thank you for the compliment and for buying Ana Karina chippies =o) The story behind my eye chips is very funny actually. When I started making my custom Blythe dolls, they were very cutting edge and bold. I wanted them to be extra special and decided I wanted realistic like eye chips so I started searching on Ebay and had no luck.  Then I looked through Etsy and nothing so I decided to do a Google search and again nothing. Boy was I ever frustrated! I decided to use the Google translator and stumbled upon some at Yahoo Japan. The ones I saw didn't look very good and had a lot of bubbles. I'm guessing they were resin based by the bubbles and fogginess. Still I was willing to give them a try but I could wise up on how to purchase them =o( BTW, I have very poor computer skills) That's when I decided to give it a try. 
Photo courtesy of Ana Karina
I had family push me to do it, having complete faith I could pull it off. They always say I'm so crafty with everything, lol. So that's how I got started. Almost as soon a I posted my doll with realistic eye chips I got a message through Flickr asking if I sold them. I began getting so many messages with requests that I thought about it. At first I wanted them to be exclusively for my dolls but the amount of requests I got per day were insane.
I couldn't say no. 

So I decided to make just a certain number of each model available so that they had certain exclusivity. Before launching them for sale I researched on how to make them on a professional level and with my Dad's expertise and some investing, I was able to launch them waterproof and UV laminated; all ready to insert. They were an instant hit. I didn't have an Etsy shop at the time so I auctioned them off at Ebay. The demand was incredible, they went for sky high prices. That's when I decided to open my Etsy shop. I felt that it was wrong for people to pay such insane prices for my eye chips. Now all my sales are mostly through Etsy.

I've been making my eye chips for 3 years. Just 4 months after starting to auction them off I saw some hand made painted ones on metallic foil. If I had seen them I probably wouldn't have started making mine, lol. But who knows because they probably wouldn't have been commercialized if I hadn't started making mine for sale. From what I see, many Blythe customizers get their inspiration from another Blythe customizer. 

Photo courtesy of Ana Karina
I haven't counted but I'm sure I've made around 100 different model eye chips, maybe more. I make them in batches. My first ones were categorized with letters and then the rest with a letter and a number so I know when I made them and from which batch. I don't use all the models I make, some I toss away because I feel they are not worthy. I made a bunch of new models just recently , I just have to make time to photograph them and post. And having also launched eye chips for Pullips takes up a lot of my time. It's affected me so much that the number of Blythe dolls I am used to making has been significantly reduced and customizing Blythe dolls is my passion. I've been thinking about closing my Etsy shop and just auctioning off a few chips a week like I used or keeping just a few at my Etsy shop because they are extremely time consuming and I don't make much since they are expensive to make. They are even expensive for me to keep for my dolls. I have some of my own customs with just one set of my eye chips. I need to get some sleep and these chippies keep me up for long hours and several hours during the day. When I have to prepare more than 10 sets of eye chips a week, I can barely pick up a Blythe doll to customize. And 10 sets of eye chips is not very many.  I need more hands or more hours during the day, lol.

Photo courtesy of Ana Karina
 R:  Where do you find the inspiration for your work?

A:  Inspiration is everywhere!  I once made a custom Blythe fairy doll inspired by a flower (Azelea) in my back yard.  I had her outfit made with tiny flowers and in similar tones to the flower.  Sometimes the creation just pops into my head.  I can tell you where I DON'T get my inspiration.......from other Blythe customs.  That's a big "NO NO" in my book.  The Blythe doll community is big but not as big as you'd think.  Everyone pretty much knows each other, especially customizers.  I feel it's disrespectful.  There are so many things that can inspire, so why ruin someone else's OOAK Blythe creation/idea/concept?  In some cases, like girly sweet redhead customs, similar dolls will be inevitable.  I've made about 5 redheads because I love them, but I try to make them different from each other as much as possible.  I don't even clone my own dolls.  If I'm requested to create a doll like one I have already made, I will offer to make a similar doll with other colors/eye chips/ hair, etc.  And I have made dolls for myself similar to ones I made for others because I missed them terribly when they went away, but I don't clone them.  I would never accept a commission order to replicate someone else's doll. 

R:  Do you have a favorite doll at this point, or do they all become favorites, AND are they all customs or do you keep any of them just as they were originally created?

A:  I DO have a favorite stock doll, she's My Gold In One (Goldie) Takara Blythe.  To think I didn't even like BL face molds, I thought they were creepy...and now I love her even more than my Kenner!  I really love all my customs, they are all unique and special.  I do have a soft spot for red heads, so I'm a tiny bit inclined to say Bianca.  She's my red head custom with freckles.  I have very few stock dolls I keep original.  I have to really like the stock doll to buy her and keep her as is.

R:  What do you hope for your future as it pertains to your custom work?

 A:  I'm just living this moment and enjoying it.  I haven't made big plans or even considered looking far into the future with this.  What I would really love is to be able to participate in the annual Blythe beauty contest in Japan (maybe next year) and be able to attend at least one Blythcon.  But I am a mystery to myself...with me, you never know  :)

Photo courtesy of Ana Karina
Ana's eye chips can be purchased on her 
Etsy shop HERE

Ana creates not only Blythe eye chips, but also
Pullip, Dal, and Teayang size chips as well.

Photo courtesy of Ana Karina
 R:  Thank you, Ana, for taking the time for this interview.  I have enjoyed our interactions over the past few months and I am determined that each of my dolls will have at LEAST one set of Ana Karina eye chips.  The sets I already have are just truly stunning.  I wish you every happiness as you continue on your amazing journey and I hope that these creations always bring you joy.



Awishdream said...

Rella, I truly loved the interview with Miss Ana! she is amazing! I just love reading about her amazing adventures in the Blythe world! I have purchased her eye chips and they are amazing they make my dollies so beautiful totally different now that their eyes look so life like I just love them!!
Thanks for sharing Ana with us!

Huggies to you Dear friend! :)

Terri Gordon said...

Hi Rella, I am really enjoying learning more about these dolls. They are so darn cute. I am fighting the urge to buy one until I learn more about them. Thank you and have a wonderful week. Hugs, Terri