So, why?

Noomi, at the cottage, summer 2017.
”I collect doll, primarily because I have so much joy and passion,” declares a caller to the Home Shopping Network’s Collectors Day program, and continues to say that the dolls remind you of the pretty things in life and that the dolls are always there with you, how ever you feel.
The book ”Life Like Dolls: The Collector Doll Phenomenon and the Lives of the Women Who Love Them” written by A.F. Robertson lifts up interesting questions about collecting and the collectors. The growing business making dolls, especially porcelain collectible dolls, is worth billions. Handcrafted and limited editions of these dolls may have a tag of $500 is said to strike a chord in the hearts of all ladies, mostly older ones. The nurseries, as the writer calls it, may grow up to hundreds of dolls.

Every doll has a name, identity and certification. A.F. Robertson writes about the women, their clubs, fairs, visits their homes and does the best to understand why these dolls are so irresistible. And he stirs up feelings. In the introduction of the book Robertson writes that most of us who see a porcelain doll just think that it is not a toy and nothing one should give a child. Fragile and disturbing. And those who find out about the collectors think that the women have a mental problem, that the dolls are creepy and one person even said that ”they try to capture life, but they are deathly.” The writer wrote that these responses are mild compared to what others had to say about collecting dolls. 

There is even shame and guilt, that some doll collectors feel. Often the collection starts with a doll that had belonged to a older, but nearer relative and this souvenir is a reminder of ones childhood. Dolls are seen as a distinctively, challengingly a female property when it comes to heir. Some collect to save to their own children - it is all about inherit the collection and nothing more. They may add to the collection they got from their mother.

Looking a bit deeper on this subject, I have noticed that many of us collect dolls based on history (Barbie’s in the 1960’s, porcelain dolls from mid 1800’s and so on) and fashion (a doll in a Victorian outfit, as example) - it is something antique. Others use dolls to make clothes and patterns to sell. There is even a bit of nostalgia over collecting dolls and in some points a therapeutic value.

Simply put: Collecting dolls are a hobby of mine. It gives me joy. And you?


  1. Hi Niina,
    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said "it gives me joy". I am not at all nostalgic, nor even slightly maternal, but I simply receive great joy from "playing" with my dolls.

    I am a collector, but not like some who collect for investment and store their dolls in boxes, I like to see, hold, dress and photograph them. I enjoy knitting and sewing for them, almost as much as buying them.

    Let's face it, at my age, who cares what anyone else thinks, you're only on this earth for a short time, so why not enjoy yourself while you can. Dolls make me smile and happy!
    Big hugs,

    1. Hello!
      Dolls really gives joy and I have had an interest in them since I can remember, but nothing nostalgic about it. It is just a time to play and let the other things in life be smaller or maybe even forget them for a while.

      I do not keep my dolls in the boxes, either. I do save the boxes for travel and so on. I like to have them around me, dress and take photos - just as you wrote. Making clothes, repainting and making wigs gives as much joy as owning a doll.

      Agree with you, I have slowly entered the age of ”I really do not care” what other people think and that makes it a bit easier too, to enjoy this hobby on a new level.

      Or as my hubby says: ”I see that these dolls bring you joy. You look so happy and comfy.”

  2. There seems to always be a negative viewpoint of adults who collect dolls. I think it has a lot to do with society and this view that once you're an adult, you should leave all those toys behind, as if you can't be an adult and collect or play with toys as well. It always frustrates me. But what can you do?

    I collect dolls because to me, they are an expression of art and an extension of my storytelling world. It's the same reason I used to play the Sims but at least dolls are more tangible and 3D. I can touch them, photograph them, dress them up to resemble my characters. For me, dolls inspire my creativity. They also keep me young at heart. I think it would be such a shame to lose that sense of wonder and imagination.

    1. I often say to the kids, that they should not let their imagination stop them or let it ”die”. It is so easy to lose the sense of wonder and imagination, as you wrote, while you grow up. Life is more fun, when you see things as a rainbow instead of just black and white.

      I talked with my neighbor a time ago. She collects old toys, from her childhood and the time when her parents and grandparents lived. She has these as decoration and the affection value is high for her. And my mother in law has several stuffed animals and a couple of Littlest Pet Shop cuties. In the beginning it was something the kids left there for next visit, but slowly it has grown to her collection. Last time I bought her a tiny stuffed turtle and before that a bunny, that she even named as Karin. She is 98 years old, young at heart and nothing has stopped her from talking and petting those stuffed cuties.

      Collecting dolls and other things has nothing to do with age, so why the need to leave it when you hit a specific age - that is something to figure out for those who do not understand the joy, the inspiration and the relaxation it gives.

  3. Best answer ever. I do agree, hobbies in general are not related to age or gender at all: they are supposed to be fun and provide joy! But society is too focused on telling young people that being able to enjoy what they like is bad... it is only bad if it harms them or other people, and BJDs (let BJDs) only bring good things!

    1. Yes! Absolutely - BJDs bring only good things! They positively trigger you to create, keep your fantasy and imagination alive, bring people together and without any age or gender policies! Society makes us think and feel and live in those so called normal boxes, no place for extraordinary.

  4. I love the doll hobby because it's so versatile and there's so many different ways to enjoy the hobby. You can create a story and develop characters, photograph, sew, paint, make wigs, make eyes and so much more. It's such a lovely outlet for creativity!

    1. So right, the hobby is a big place for many ideas and ways to enjoy it - and that is really the best thing with it! (b^_^)b

  5. I would lie if I didn't say the character aspect of the hobby is what calls to me. I'm first a writer, secondly a doll owner.
    But I definitely agree with Maria that it's a versatile hobby and I love it. Everyone has their own reason and passion and I think that's great :)

    1. Owning a doll with specific characteristics makes it easier to build a story around and give a personality that suits. It is like that time, for a couple a years ago, I saw the new Lusion doll, Drawing Elenoir - a story and her personality just 'came' to me. But, in the same way I am first a doll collector and secondly..well, I do not know - painter, sewer, photographer....
      This hobby gives you, I and everybody else the opportunity to express ourselves! :)


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