"Popularity is for dolls" — Ralph Waldo Emerson
And paper dolls used to be VERY popular.
Barbie & Francie paper dolls - remember those sweet outfits? I do, and I’ve created five paper dolls’ clothes paintings*. Of course, there are many more beautiful paper doll books and ensembles - think Vogue, think Erté paper dolls - but I started with the common ones because my sister and I played Archie Comics paper dolls and Barbies for years.
We had Barbie friends too like Hanna, the Hawaiian barbie; the Donny & Marie barbies; the latest fashions as well as older knitted outfits my Great Auntie Claire made - and various broken accessories. We played with our neighbours. We buried evil Ken in our backyard and then resurrected him (when we needed another Ken for a storyline). We chased our terrified friend Paul with naked barbies. Over time, all our barbies got haircuts, all had multiple personalities, some lost limbs, heads (headless Ken).
Jordana Brewster (an actress I’ve never heard of) really sums it up for me. I found this quote of hers: “When I was really young. My sister and I would create different characters with our Barbie dolls — I'd be the crazy diva Barbie and she'd be the homeless Barbie.”
And then, of course, there’s this fantastic comment below, which reassures me (and so many other women and girls) that we are in good company playing paper dolls and with dolls in general.
“I used to cut out paper dolls” — Andy Warhol
*Each of these acrylic paintings are 16”x48” and each is $450