How Long have you been restoring dolls?
I have been restoring dolls since 1994
Do you Buy and Sell
dolls and doll related items?
Yes, I buy and sell antique and vintage dolls and accessories.
How did you begin in Doll Restoration as a Profession?
Years ago, when my children were all very young, I began collecting composition dolls as a hobby; I've always loved antiques. I could not always afford the Mint dolls, so I would purchase dolls with missing fingers or other damage and repair them myself. Now as this has become a Full time Profession, I realize there are few that venture into this business and there is a demand for it.
Do you have to go to school or earn a degree to repair dolls?
NO, and this is something that I stress to my customers: Be very careful with whom you entrust your dolls to be restored. I have heard many stories from customers about prior repairs that were dreadful, and I have customers now, that bring me dolls that have been restored by other doll hospitals and shops.
When choosing a doll hospital or shop, ask questions.
* Ask about the materials & techniques that will be used to repair your doll.
* Ask to see photographs of prior restorations.
* Does this individual have a good reputation?
* What background experience do they have?
You want to know as much as possible about your Doll Doctor.
What experience do you bring to your Doll Repair Business?
I have been repairing dolls since 1994. I have a Degree in Art and I majored in Applied Arts, which led me to sculpting and three dimensional art. This along with the techniques I learned with an airbrush gave me the experience that I needed to begin my Doll Repair business. I also do extensive research on dolls, especially composition dolls. This enables my repairs in facial restorations to be accurate (such as eyebrows, lashes, cheek color, lips) and also the type of clothing, and hair that a particular doll might have. This also helps my customers with dressing their dolls in the appropriate attire.
If I have my doll repaired, will this take away the value?
This is a tough question to answer. It all depends on who you chose to restore your doll. If you chose wisely and your doll is restored properly, your results should retain the value of your doll. I restore many of my own dolls and my restorations maintain the originality of my dolls. So the value remains.
Remember -- Less is always better. Try to maintain as much originality of your doll as possible. This means the doll's finish, hair, clothing, shoes.
If my dolls eyes are crazed, should I oil them?
NEVER oil your dolls eyes. This is only a temporary fix to disguise the problem. The worst part of this practice is that most people are not careful when they do this and they get oil on the composition around the dolls eyes. If you have ever seen a doll with haloed eyes that are a very light olive green color or just a slightly darker color around the eyes, then you can be sure some heavy-handed person was oiling the dolls eyes. If your dolls eyes are that bad, have the pupils replaced. A good doll hospital or shop can do this. I've done this many times with beautiful results.
When my doll is repaired, will it be obvious?
Most of the time, no. When I restore dolls, most restorations (replacement fingers, toes -- look at my restoration page) are invisible repairs. Of course it is impossible to copy the patina of a doll that has been played with for years, but I strive to retain and reproduce that original patina as accurately as possible.
My results are Beautiful. And all my restorations are guaranteed.
Where Should I keep my Composition dolls to protect them, but also to enjoy
Your dolls should be kept in a display case/showcase. Avoid direct sunlight, or intense lighting units. Avoid drastic temperature changes, keep dolls away from forced air heating and cooling systems. NEVER store dolls in basement, attic, or anywhere that the temperature and humidity cannot be monitored. Atmosphere is the most important factor in the care and maintenance of your dolls. Your room temperature should be around 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity should be about 45-55%. If you have a large collection of dolls and want to monitor your humidity, you can purchase a humidity gauge at a hardware store. You can also purchase Humidity Indicator Cards, which provide a visual record for monitoring humidity in display cases. These can be purchased from the Conservator's Emporium. Their phone number is 775-852-0404.
Are my dolls insured while in your care?
Yes, Your dolls are insured for fire, theft, and/or breakage. To date, I have never had a customerís dolls/toys damaged while in my care.
Are all your repairs done on the premises by you, or do you send them out to be
repaired by other individuals?
I was asked this question, this past December (2005) by a customer who had many dolls to be cleaned & refurbished that were in a fire. She wanted to be assured that her dolls were taken care of by the person that she was talking to. These dolls were all gifts from her children and she was already upset about the extensive damage to them. This probably is not a great concern to most, but this particular customer wanted to know that the person that was evaluating her dolls would be the same individual that would be doing the repairs.
So, Yes, I am the sole Restorer of Louise's Little Ladies -- All work is estimated, evaluated and done by me.
Do you give classes on Doll Repair?
I have been asked this question numerous times , and at this time I do not give classes on doll repair. I am considering seminars on Doll Restoration in the future.
What do I clean my composition doll with?
I have been sent many e-mails concerning this issue. I do feel and I have stated this on my website that Composition dolls really should not be cleaned. I guess I need to clarify this information. The condition of a composition doll will determine with what, and whether it should be cleaned. I feel that some doll collectors, especially new doll collectors think that these dolls should be shiny and perfect. I do not agree with this. If a doll has a good finish, mild crazing, and a bit of loving from the past on her finish, I say LEAVE THE DOLL ALONE! I do not use any Compo Cleaners on the market, nor do I use Compo Craze. The use of these products is up to the individual. Of course if a doll is filthy and damaged it needs to be cleaned. I would suggest taking it to a Doll Hospital if you have never cleaned a composition doll before. If you still would like to attempt to clean you doll on your own, e-mail me and I can recommend further information. Ursula Mertz talks about cleaning composition dolls in her books. Her books are the most informative on composition dolls in my opinion. A good book to purchase if you are considering composition doll cleaning and repairing is the Complete Composition Repair by LaVonne Lutterman. The book covers a section on cleaning composition dolls.
If you have other questions, e-mail me...
...and I will post the answers on my site.
Doll Photographs ©2005-2014 by Louise Sleeter