Category Archives: Dollhouse and Dollmaking

I have an action figure dollhouse that I built myself over a decade. I also make and customize dolls, usually unpleasant ones.

Guest artist: the incredible doll art of Dollicious Life by Tinu!

Dollicious Life Asians for BLM Juneteenth 2020I recently discovered the work of Tinu, creator of Dollicious Life, on Instagram.

Dollicious life family at prayerIt was a #toyphotography hashtag that led me to Tinu’s amazing doll photographs.

And I was blown away!

You have got to see Tinu’s powerful and beautiful images using dolls as storytelling, as well as her charming videos with her gorgeous kids and doll collection!

This lovely scene of a family at prayer was created for the world’s first social distancing Ramadan.

The doll clothes were made by OMODE, a bespoke clothing company for ladies and kids, with many beautiful African prints.

Here is Tinu’s introduction from the #CollectionVsCollector challenge that’s going around:

I’m Tinu, publisher & editor, mother of 2 living in NYC. I’ve been collecting dolls since the late 90s as a young girl. Now housing over 300 vintage Barbie, Cissy, Blythe, Erte, Integrity Toys, Franklin Mint, etc in storage and only just now slowly starting to bring them out to play with my kids regardless of value.

Watching my 2yr old daughter’s reaction during unboxing is priceless! (You can see videos in the YouTube link on my profile page.) I love taking pics using outdoors, real life. Welcome to my happy place! So buckle up, it’s going to be one fantasy ride of art imitating life here!

The tender scene below shows the Hameed family leaving the hospital with a newborn.

Dollicious life Hameed family leaving hospitalTinu’s signature as a fashion doll photographer is using real backgrounds, made by placing the dolls in front of the real place!

And as a native New Yorker, she uses the city as a backdrop!

Her doll pictures in the last months include protest art, with photographs of her dolls she took while joining the protests in midtown.

She describes Dollicious Life as “the place where art imitates life”, and says she uses her dolls to teach her kids about the world.

The scenes she creates are warm and inclusive, a hopeful vision of human connection.

Dollicious life pride june 2020I love the family dinners and Pride pictures, which show gatherings of stylish folks.

Dollicious Life Moms 2020Her dolls are responsible and have tiny masks!

The scenes include cancer survivors and breastfeeding.

I also really value the education about traditional African fashion Tinu’s work provides, like this scene with Yoruba attire and this king in Ghanaian Kente style.

Tinu is a serious lifelong fashion doll collector (although now she lets her two-year-old open valuable boxed dolls!) and through her I learned about the fantastic doll company Integrity Toys, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
Tinu twinning in Ndebele for Human Rights Day by Dollicious Life March 2020

Dolls have tremendous intrinsic energy, and using them for education is powerful.

I hope you’ll follow Tinu on Instagram or Youtube and see what stories her dolls have to tell.

Dollicious Life Juneteenth Black Lives Matter art by Tinu

You can also read Tinu’s reporting on New York protests here and see her coverage of the NYC Juneteenth events here.

NYC protest by Tinu June 2020Plus, check out her coverage of last year’s events like Curl Fest, Afropunk and Pride!

Tinu’s beautiful Sisterhood in White video:

Tinu’s Black History Month doll unboxing with her daughter!

Trans pride and power: action figures and stuffed trans mermaid doll!

Custom trans action figures by Suzanne Forbes June 24 2020 cuCustomized Black Trans Lives Matter protester action figures!

I bought these wrestling figures years ago with various projects in mind, but they have been sitting in the fodder drawer for too long and it was time for them to blossom!

Custom trans action figures by Suzanne Forbes June 24 2020I bought the figure on the right to customize for Stevie, the New Mutants dance teacher, for my X-Men dollhouse.

But wrestling figures are quite tall for 6″ scale, and she seemed too muscular for a former ballerina.

Custom trans action figures in process by Suzanne Forbes June 24 2020So I made her a skirt out of an actual trans pride flag, with black ribbon added.

To wear to the protest that is happening on the balcony of my action figure dollhouse!

Custom trans actions figures protest by Suzanne Forbes June 24 2020Look at this group of beautiful people ready for justice!

My NECA Vasquez looks pissed off and with good reason. Our trans sisters and brothers are more vulnerable than ever as tensions everywhere increase. Support programs like @glits_inc and @theokraproject to get black trans people housed and fed, support @transsexworks here in Berlin to help vulnerable street SW’s.

Of course I included red umbrellas, the symbol of support and solidarity with sex workers!

Custom trans action figures street protest by Suzanne Forbes June 24 2020Note the cis white woman at this protest is being useful as an armed honor guard off to the side.

Ready to Protect Black Trans People! Who are significantly more vulnerable everywhere, including at protests. After the protest the ladies feasted while my newly arrived Hasbro Ghostbusters Ernie kept up the protesting!

I also made this fluffy darling as part of my Pride Doll Art projects.

Commercially available Trans Mermaid doll adapted by Suzanne Forbes June 24 2020

Commercially available Trans Mermaid Stuffed Doll!

No, you cannot buy a trans mermaid dolly at Tiger or IKEA. Yet. But this is a vision of a world where kids can get stuffed dollies of all genders, BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY. We all deserve a world where trans toys are as common as cis toys. Meanwhile, @mermaidsgender is a great org I like to donate to when she who shall not be named does something hateful.

Much of the art of being an assemblage artist is simply HAVING STUFF AROUND.

Having materials around, having bits of things, having the tools to cut them up and the adhesives to glue them back together. I was at the Dutch store, TIGER, buying markers when I saw this stuffed mermaid doll. I knew, I knew instantly, that I had some black faux fur that precisely matched the doll’s fur. I instantly knew I could make a trans mermaid that would be adorable. So I bought the doll and brought it home. I did a quick look through my materials, knowing I had saved one last scrap of the fur after a project a couple years earlier.

But I could not find it. I have 25 drawers and 12 cabinets of materials and tools. I knew the tuft of fur would turn up eventually, so I put the doll in the Large Doll Parts drawer and moved on. A year and change later, last week, I came across that last tuft of the perfect fur, and glued it on.

It’s like having the plumber come fix your pipe – 1% is banging on the pipe, 99% is knowing where to hit.

As usual these images are licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) for all to share and enjoy!

I am incredibly grateful to my Patreon Patrons, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me work safely at home.