Sunday, January 13, 2013

Spotlight on Laurie Lenz

In this post, I'd like to introduce you to my friend, collector, and fellow repainter 
Laurie Lenz. 

 She not only repaints, but also designs and makes wigs and many other doll items.  
Laurie is an amazing person who runs her successful doll business around homeschooling her children.  She's super inspiring to me, always making me feel like I can strive a little harder in every area.  I know you're going to love her Q and A interview.  

Thank you Laurie!

Liquid Sunshine: When did you start collecting dolls and what drew you to it?

Laurie: I started collecting officially when I was about 8. I have a beloved Aunt who is a world traveler and has an amazing Madame Alexander
collection. She bought me my first collector's dolls. Around the same time, my dad's sister gave me her vintage Barbie collection.
LS: What is your favorite part of collecting and enjoying your dolls?

Laurie: Since I was 8 (evidently that was the "magic" year for me LOL) I have wanted to be a fashion designer. Fashion is something that has definitely attracted me to doll collecting. I also am madly in love with photography. I love photographing my dolls as much as I love my dolls.

LS: What fashion style do you enjoy the most?

Laurie: My taste in clothing is very varied. I love casual, trendy clothing with an edge. I love beachy, hippie, or boho clothing. I'm a sucker for anything paisley. Gowns with ethereal flowing or rich fabrics make me weak in the knees. I'm very enamored with Eastern designs--the fabrics, the colors, and the intricacy. I love salwars, kurtas, choli suits, lehenga, and sarees, as well as, kimonos, and cheongsams.
My favorite doll fashion designers are too numerous to list though the bulk of it consists of Tonner, Madame Alexander, Jason Wu, Liquid Sunshine, Hazel Street, MaxAmy, Sisen Designs, Brunhilde, YumYum, Empire, and Monaeglow.
In the world of high fashion, I'm inspired by the late Alexander McQueen's work and the Rodarte sisters. I love Project Runway, and would love to be a
contestant. I always follow Fashion week, and reguarly buy fashion
For men, I tend to go for surfer, rocker--leather and ripped up jeans, East Indian, or period clothing like poet shirts or shirts with ruffles. I confess, I love a man in a kilt.

LS: What type of dolls do you have?

Laurie: At present, I have a pretty varied eclectic collection, mostly dominated by JamieShow hybrids--with Tonner, Sybarite or Ficon heads. I like to Frankendoll. My current personal obsession is Iplehouse. I love the SD
scale, the poseability, and realism of these dolls.
LS:  Tell me about your photography, as your talent really stands out here.  

Laurie: I have a friend from India, and was blessed with some amazing fabrics that I've used as backdrops. 

I've also acquired some great backdrops from Raintao. My husband does carpentry on the side, and built me a wooden rack for my backdrops that is mounted on my studio wall. 

I use two Ott lamps as my light sources. My 35mm digital camera, presently a SONY A230, is my right arm. 

I have a very antiquated photo editing program since my Photoshop went down when my PC died, but I manage. Would like to upgrade that at some point (maybe when my daughter goes to graphic design school next year, and I swipe her Photoshop program.)  :)

 LS: Tell me more about what you create for fellow doll collectors.

Laurie: As a child, and young adult artist, as subject matter went, landscapes and still life always bored me. The beauty and diversity in humanity have always captured my interest. I am in awe at God's creation. I think that's
why I've always been fascinated with dolls too--they echo the human form.
I did a lot of celebrity portraits in college, and I worked at a toy
company in the art department (to my delight--I handled much of the
product graphics for the dolls) so everything kind of came full circle
when I discovered repainting.
My wig business grew out of my obsession with styling doll hair and
rerooting. (I still do about 10 reroots a month.) When I started
collecting wigged BJDs, I detested stretchy wig caps. Maybe I'm just
uncoordinated, but I could never get them on right, and the hair always
looked like a rat's nest. When I stumbled onto a tutorial for a hard cap
wig, I gave it a shot, and realized that I LOVED them!
Designing fashion and jewelry is another area that I enjoy. I've been
blessed to collaborate with my artist daughter, Shiloh, of Shiloh Winter
Jewelry, on her doll jewelry business for a number of years. We worked as
a creative team on many of her collections. 

Since I always wanted to go into fashion, designing for dolls has been something that I've really enjoyed. I happily have a steady flow of repaint, faceup, reroot and wig commissions so I don't really get the time to get many of my fashion ideas from my imagination to a tangible form, but now and again, I break out my sewing machine and have a blast.

LS: What are some dreams you have for the future?

Laurie: One dream that I have for the future is sculpting my own dolls. I've wanted to do this as long as I can remember. I have a legacy in sculpting as my great grandfather, Andrew Metzger, was a sculptor. I loved my figure
sculpture class in college. There's never enough time in a day to do all the things I want to do, though. I keep saying "Someday..." With every new doll line that appears on the market another fire is lit in me to achieve this dream. 
Dolls are extensions of ourselves --our passions and dreams. They possess the beauty and elegance of a fine piece of art, while providing an outlet for creativity and play. They are good for the psyche by bringing back happy childhood memories, as healing therapy, or are just plain good clean fun. They are the the building blocks of imagination, fantasy, role play, or are mini-fashion models. I consider myself to be equally collector and artist. The evolution of the doll intrigues me. Doll collecting isn't a fad. It's always been "in style" and always will be. I look forward with great anticipation to what is on the horizon. I hope to be an active part of that vision. 

You can find more of Laurie on her website

and in her etsy store:

Do you have any questions for Laurie?  If so, ask her in the comments!
Thank YOU Laurie, for all the beauty you bring into the doll world!


  1. Thank you so much for the article, Kari! I'm so blessed to know you and call you friend. You are an inspiration to me. Love you much! xo Laurie

  2. You are BOTH fabulous! And as a proud owner of a couple of each of your clothing designs/wigs I found this article so very interesting and meaningful. Makes me love both your designs all the more.

    Thank You

  3. Thank you Kari for the article, and thank you Laurie for being the subject of the article. I have know Laurie for a long time and was always fascinated with her artistic talents, her love for dolls and other collections, and her fantasy island. She has made me proud for so many of the things that she has done, besides her great doll and wig creations. More recently she is to be cited for her outstanding ability as a Homeschooling mother/teacher. There is no greater measure of success than to have one of your students be so successful, and this student happens to be her home-schooled daughter. This daughter will, in part, be following Laurie into the world of art, having received a significant scholarship from Laurie's Alma Mater, Moore College of Art and Design. Congratulations to student and to her mother, Laurie.
    From an admirer, and friend, and by the way, her father.

    1. I couldn't agree more! You have a wonderful daughter and I'm proud to call her my friend!

  4. Great article! :)

  5. Thank you for this article. Laurie is friendly and gracious to newbie "doll people," as I have personally experienced.
    How on Earth she manages to do it all, I can not imagine! :)