Some of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences that you can have as a reborn doll artist include attending doll shows and expos that take place every year! At these shows, doll artists have the opportunity to mix and mingle with other doll professionals, introduce new dolls to reborn doll enthusiasts, take classes from other doll artists to expand their skill sets, and compete for awards. (Friendly competition, of course!)
I recently attended the Rose International Doll Expo (June 21st to the 24th to be exact), and the days I spent there were some of the most satisfying days I have spent this year thus far, both personally and professionally. I sent home many babies to many happy customers, took home a couple of awards, and, most importantly, had an amazing time!
The expo took place in West Valley City, Utah, in the Salt Lake Valley, just southwest of Salt Lake City. The Oquirrh Mountains loom over the city to the west and the beautiful and tranquil Great Salt Lake is just a few minutes’ drive away. The dry, breezy climate and the mountainous terrain were the perfect setting for a professional retreat full of artists and collectors.
The expo is presented by Bountiful Baby, a world-renowned reborn doll supply store that is located just a few miles from the Expo. The mission of the expo is to “provide an exciting and enjoyable venue to bring together doll artists, dealers, manufacturers and collectors from all over the world…provide educational opportunities to motivate and encourage artists of every skill level, as well as provide opportunities for friendships to develop and grow by connecting the artists and dealers with the collectors,” and judging from the event I experienced, they did not fail in their mission! There were so many activities to engage in at the show, it was almost hard to choose. There were a wide range of classes available, evening events, and ample opportunities to mingle and visit with the other artists. I love connecting with the doll enthusiasts who attend these shows and enjoy talking with collectors who are interested in taking home a silicone baby of their own. I sent home some wonderful silicone reborn dolls to very happy customers! There were also lots of lovely collectors who stopped by my booth so they could experience holding a silicone baby in person. It was a pleasure to see how happy they were to hold such a realistic doll for the very first time!
I enjoyed meeting so many collectors and artists and seeing my many doll friends again. The doll-making community is a relatively small but passionate community, and it was great to see some old friends and make some new ones as well, all of us bonded by the love of this wonderful art form. After a long drought without shows (due to COVID closures), I enjoyed being able to talk with many artist friends and see some of their newest artwork in person. I think everyone felt the same way! There was definitely an air of excitement all around.
I was very honored and elated to take home two awards at the awards banquet, which took place in the evening of the 23rd. The doll that I had entered into the competition was “Pascale,” sculpted by Joanna Kazmierczak. I was awarded both first place in the silicone doll category and was also awarded the People’s Choice award. I was thrilled and grateful to receive both awards, but perhaps the most meaningful was winning the People’s Choice Award. The doll collector is whom I most have in mind when I create my dolls, and to have earned recognition and appreciation from them in the form of this award was an extremely gratifying feeling.
Having such a fantastic experience at the Rose International Doll Expo has only whet my appetite for my next scheduled doll show– I’ll be attending the Kansas Doll Show in just a few short weeks. The show takes place September 3-4 in Wichita, Kansas, where there will be over 60 artists with their dolls on display, many informative classes, and fun evening events (including a baby shower gift exchange and doll bingo!). I most look forward to connecting with the friends I made at Rose Expo and making many new friends as well. It’s sure to be an exciting weekend. I’ll be displaying my silicone reborns and doll kits at Booth 8 on the main floor – please stop by and say hello!
All in all, The Rose International Doll Expo was an overwhelmingly positive experience, and I am so glad I attended. I’d like to thank Nevin and Denise at Bountiful Baby for putting on such a fantastic expo, and I look forward to seeing what’s in store for next year’s show. Look for me, I’ll be there!