I’ve had several dolly people lately say something to me like “I want my Martie.” These nice folks don’t actually want my actual Martie, of course (and even if they did, they can keep wanting, it isn’t happening), they want their own—a companion doll like Martie is to me.
I’ve called Martie my dolly BFF, which is pretty much spot on. She goes most places with me (on those odd times when I decide to leave the house; I’m generally a pretty happy hermit), hangs out on my worktable with me, and is, of course, my most photographed doll. She has more clothes than any other doll I own, most of which I made to suit her character, which is impish, smart, sweet, and active.
So how do you get your very own dolly BFF?
I really don’t know.
I know what happened to me, once I got Martie—I started to take her places, and take pictures of what we did and what she’d gotten into. The very first one is here, before she got her name, and it set the tone—Let’s go see the world! Sometime later, I was looking for something to keep me blogging more regularly, and hit on the 61 Days of Martie idea. I know people have done The Year of…. blogs (and books), but I rather doubted my ability to keep anything like that going for a year. So I made a public commitment to a significant but much shorter time, and started.
Spend two months with a certain doll every day, everywhere you are, thinking of new things and places and situations and outfits, and that doll is going to grow as a character, and a relationship with that character will grow, as well. It’s that simple, and that difficult.
Who is Martie as a character? I don’t have a back story or a précis of her story arc. She’s just Martie, a very small, much younger friend of mine whom I take care of. She’s got some of my characteristics, like cheekiness and love of art, and some others that bring me out of my myself a little more, like willingness to explore (really, I can go weeks without leaving my house and be a happy little tater) and a refreshed wide-eyed wonder, because everything is new to her.
To make this work, I had to have a couple of characteristics myself. I have no real shyness or fear of looking weird, and that comes in handy as an adult carrying a doll everywhere I go, posing it in places, then getting in odd physical positions to get the doll’s eye view. I also needed a willingness to look at things I’ve seen a jillion times before, and see something new for Martie to find in it.
And that, dear friends, makes me a better character, too.
Robert Tonner and his really wonderful Disney Rapunzel sculpt get a lot of credit for making a doll that I found both stunningly beautiful and very lovable, and I have to thank Jim Dandy, too, for modding a Rapunzel with blue glass eyes and making the OOAK that turned into my Martie.
A lion’s share of the credit, though, has to go to the Tonner Doll company, specifically Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu, for encouraging me in this wonderful silliness; and to the great folks on Twitter in the #dollchat community, who not only encouraged but aided and abetted.