photo courtesy of Gina

Part five in my series on the obsession passion 
for the big-headed doll known as Blythe. 

Interview # 5, Gina AKA G-Baby from California

Please honor the fact that these photos belong to Gina
(one from Fanny Zara)
and may not be used in any way without  permission
photo graciously given by Fanny Zara
R: Gina, thank you so much for agreeing to be part of my series on the obsession for Blythe.
Let's start by giving us a little look into the life of G-Baby.  Your family, pets, pieces of your world and life in the ‘everyday’.

G: Hello everyone! I am really happy to have this opportunity to share a little bit about myself and my hobby with you all. I'm a 27 year old California girl, been living in the San Francisco bay area my whole life. I come from a big and close knit family, so if I'm not at home working on dolls or playing with my two dogs, I'm out spending time with family.
Photo courtesy of Gina

I've been customizing Blythes for 3 years now and for the last 2 years it has been my main source of income so it's not only a hobby for me but it's practically my job, and I love that! 

photo courtesy of Gina

R:  What would you say it is about Blythe that drew you in to this amazing, almost obsessive love of Blythe?  

G: When I first discovered Blythe I immediately fell in love with the extreme custom dolls. I was really intrigued by the fact that these dolls could be customized and made into whatever you wanted, and I would spend hours and hours everyday just looking at pictures of all the different custom Blythes on flickr.  
photo courtesy of Gina
I had never seen anything like it in my life, so that was a really interesting and fun time for me when I was just discovering all of that.

R: Your customizations are truly  some of the most beautiful I’ve seen. The latest creation, Iris the Fairy Princess is breathtaking!! 

photo courtesy of Gina
R: When did you first begin to customize; and at this point, how many dolls would you say you have transformed as I lost count when I visited your Flickr pages?  

G: I started customizing with the very first doll that I bought 3 years ago, and from that point on every stock doll that I ever bought has been customized and sent to a new home. So far I've made 61 custom Blythes and one custom Lati! 
photo courtesy of Gina
R: Tell us about the customization process.  Do clients contact you with a particular idea of what they want their doll to look like or do you take a doll and create what YOU are moved to create and then sell the doll……or both?  

photo courtesy of Gina
G: I do both. Usually the way it works with commissions is that my customers will have a general idea of what style they want for their doll whether it be glamorous, goth, dreamy, etc.. and they might also have some favorite colors as well. 

photo courtesy of Gina
From there I will take their ideas and just create my interpretation of it. But I also try to have one OOAK custom girl available each month via auction and those dolls are created from top to bottom from my own design. 
photo courtesy of Gina

photo courtesy of Gina

 R: At this writing, how many girls live with you? 

G: Right now I own 5 vintage kenner Blythes, one Lati Lea custom, and one Reina de Salem custom Blythe that is coming home soon. I do not own any of my own custom Blythes but I would love to if only I could get around to making one for myself someday! 
photo courtesy of Gina

R: Do you have a favorite face mold either to collect yourself or to customize? 

G: As far as customizing goes, RBL is my absolute favorite mold to work with. It's the most mature looking of them all and for that reason it really suits my signature style which to me is a little glamourous, a little attitude, a little DIVA, and a plump, pouty set of lips. That style is best on the RBL face shape… But having said that, FBL is a very close 2nd. I've been working with FBLs a lot recently and some of them have been my favorite customs I've made… 
photo courtesy of Gina
 ...Collecting is another story though. I have to admit, I am addicted to Kenners and they are my favorite Blythes of all! 

R: There seems to be a real drive for some to have a Kenner Blythe, what is it, exactly, about these early Blythes that collectors desire?  Are they made differently or is it simply the fact that they are THE first dolls?  

G: There are three special qualities about Kenners that are mentioned all the time:

- The Glow: Kenners were made from a different plastic which is a lot creamier and solid, and also has the perfect amount of shine to it which is more of a glow, not like Neo Blythes which are extremely shiny when stock.
photo courtesy of Gina

- The Pip: When you pull the string of a Kenner to change the eyes it makes a cute little 'pip' sound rather than a loud 'CLACK' sound that the Neo Blythes make.

- The Smell: This is something that I love a lot about Kenners.. Some of them have a strong vintage smell even after being washed, and if you sniff the top of their heads you can usually get a whiff of it. I think it smells like old books or library. Call me weird but I love to sniff my Kenners. lol!!

But those are just some minor qualities… Kenner desire is an interesting thing. People either love them or don't really care for them much. I am one of those people who is madly in love with them and the whole idea of them. There is just something about an old used doll that is very special, mysterious, and real. To me, Kenners are all one of a kind dolls. Even though they were mass produced as being the same, they each have had a different journey for the past 39 years which makes them what they are when you eventually find them. All five of my Kenners have some kind of flaw. GiGi, my newest addition was found in the worst condition. She was a crusty little bodiless Kenner head that I have been told was possibly used to make a mold out of. Because of that, she had lots of crud and residue all over her face and makeup, so I have already begun to work on her transformation and I'm really excited to see what she will become. 

photo courtesy of Gina
 R:  You also make custom eye chips that are stunning, and they fly out of your Etsy shop……..when did you begin making these and did you decide to make them so that your own customs would have original eye chips?

G: I started making the hand painted eye chips shortly after I began offering commissions about 2 years ago. I just wanted to be able to customize every aspect of the doll beyond a plain colored eye chip so I thought I'd give it a shot. 
photo courtesy of Gina

Now all my custom dolls have them. I really love choosing the perfect color combination and paint style for each pair of chips that a doll will get. The right choice of eyes will bring so much more life and harmony to the look of the doll so it's really important to me.
photo courtesy of Gina

R: Some of the custom dolls you have completed have amazing outfits, do you make them yourself?  
photo courtesy of Gina

G: I always make the outfits for my OOAK auctioned girls, but other than that I do not really sew. 

In fact it brings me a lot of stress to make those OOAK outfits because I am not a proper seamstress, and most of the time I am not sewing things in the correct way. I just try to figure it out and hope for the best! 

R: Gina, your photographs are quite lovely and I wonder if you feel your photography has become a larger part of your life since entering the world of Blythe? 

G: Yes definitely. Photography is such a significant part of this hobby so my camera is never too far away. I have always been into photography even before Blythe, but now it's really become an important part of what I do because my photos are all that some people see of me and my dolls so I need to make sure that I do a good job :)

R: What advice would you give to those that are new to the world of Blythe as far as where to buy the dolls and what sites to perhaps visit to gather as much information as possible?

G: The forums provide so much info on everything Blythe related and are a great place for beginners to start. these are the two main Blythe forums:
Blythe Kingdom  and This Is Blythe

R:  What types of customizations you offer?  
G: I offer complete customization including all facial carving, new makeup, custom eyes, mohair reroots and hair dye, hair cuts, and even piercings.  
photo courtesy of Gina
 I am now experimenting with Kenner restoration and hair care.  

R: Do you enlist the help of strangers when you are out and about?  What is the reaction of strangers to your photo shoots?  Do you always have a doll with you 'just in case'? 

G: A. Honestly, I'm just a little shy when it comes to taking pics in public. I might whip a doll out for a few shots if there arent many people around, but I just wouldn't take them out if it's very crowded. A few years ago I was on Waikiki beach in Hawaii, very crowded place.. and I was lying in the sand taking pics of my doll with all kinds of people walking past me and some lady says.. "Aww look at that little girl right there taking pics of her Barbie".... I had to have a good laugh, since at the time I was 25 years old and I never knew that Barbies had such huge heads! lol. 

photo courtesy of Gina
So after that I just got a little shy with the public photo shoots.
photo courtesy of Gina
I'm sure people are not thinking negatively of me when they see me out with a doll, I just don't like the staring eyes! However, if I know that I am going somewhere that's very picturesque I will always take a doll no matter what and I will force myself to take pics of her. Lola my redhead Kenner has  
been to the most public places with me. 

She's walked on the Golden Gate bridge, been to Italy, Napa Valley wine country recently and lots other places. 
photo courtesy of Gina

R:  Gina, tell us a little about Blythecon Portland 2011 and your participation.  Who created this even and what was your experience with it.   It was announced that 2012 will be in Texas for 2012, will you be attending? 

G:  Blythecon this year was organized by three ladies in the Blythe community in Portland, Julie (House of Pinku), Maggie (Parasol Doll), and Kyle (Buttonarcade). Those ladies did a really amazing job planning out the event and I think it was a huge success. It was only the 2nd annual event that we have had in the US, and it was my first time attending so it was a really amazing experience for me. I got a chance to meet a lot of people who I have been talking to online for so long which was awesome. I was also a vendor and sold a bunch of my things including dolls, eye chips, and other accessories. 
Gina and Gina's Mom at Blythcon 2011
I do plan on being at Blythecon Dallas 2012 as a vendor again, and I'm planning on being at every Blythecon in the future as well :) 

R. Your customs are just magical and highly sought after. How does one go about adopting one of your special girls? 

G. Thank you so much Rella! I try to have one OOAK custom available each month and those special dolls are sold via ebay auction.  

Recent OOAK - Iris - won on Ebay Photo courtesy of Gina

Other than that, I have my commissions list which is closed right now, and I don't really sell my dolls anywhere else but now and then you might be able to find one of my dolls pop up on the secondary market in the Blythe forums marketplace :)

Thank YOU Rella for doing this interview with me! I really enjoyed it!

R: Thank you, again, Gina for sharing your work with us.  I wish you continued success with your custom work and I will be cheering you on from the sideline…and who knows, maybe someday a G-Baby doll will come live at Faerieluna!!

Well, dear friends, my wish is that you are enjoying this series and, at the very least, getting to know some new artisans and collectors.  The world of Blythe is multi-faceted to say the least.  And even if you have never been a fan of the big headed dolls, you must certainly agree that you have been introduced to some magnificent talent and delicious 'eye candy'

There are several more interviews on the back burner and I am pretty excited about the continued series.

.........until then, sweet dolly dreams.

photo courtesy of Gina


Awishdream said...

Oh wonderful interview with Gina! Thanks for sharing her with us, I find this info fascinating. I also am addicted to "This is Blythe" shop. I have bought many of my dollies clothes from there! and like to visit there often.


Suz said...

Oh, My, Rella. Blythe lovers unite. Blythe is just sooky cute!!!

Abi said...

Oh wow - so interesting. Rella - I didn't really like Blythe dolls until very recently - now they are becoming quite a passion, and addiction!! Those eye chips really caught my eye (!) but alas, her shop is empty :O(

Cinderella Moments said...

These are truly masterpieces! And the photography is gorgeous. Love your interview.

Betzie said...

Loved reading this Rella and Gina!!! Oh my, I'm in BIG trouble...I just bought my first stock Blythe...Cousin Olivia...from ebay...and I have a feeling the next one will have to be a custom! Wow, what gorgeous work you do Gina! Thanks for sharing and I have a feeling I'm hooked!

Rella said...

AhHa!! Two more converts lolol Abi and Betzie...muwahahaha Two more welcomed into the fold.

Love it!! See you all back on Friday night for the next interview!!

xox Rella

Terri Gordon said...

Hi Rella, Thank you so much for doing these wonderful interviews, oh these dolls are just so beautiful. I did buy one and am awaiting her arrival. I hope I can control myself. I hope you are having a wonderful week. Hugs, Terri