Linda at 2 years old
Linda at 2 years old

“Once upon a daydream, a young girl versioned her future of fame and fortune. As a young woman she dismissed those daydreams as fantasies. For many years she felt something was missing from her life. Was it a twist of fate or just pure luck? Little did she know that her childhood daydreams would someday become a reality. All those years of searching for the missing link, only to discover it was in her hands all along. The country girl had been blessed from another world and she finally discovered her niche. How could she be worthy of this special gift from God? Her vision was clear, to share her blessings with others. She set out on a course of no return, traveling from town to town, touching the hearts of many as they did hers. From her own hands, she gave life to each sculpture. In the eyes of each creation, you can see a small piece of her spirit and soul. Long after her daydreams are passed on to another, her spirit will live on, and continue to touch the hearts of generations to come.”

It was evident at an early age that Linda had been blessed with an artistic flair. She comes from a long line of family members that worked with their hands. The youthful tomboy spent her youth climbing tress, jumping from the barn rafters, and playing with the animals.

garlin2015x
51 years with the same guy!

Linda was 10 when her mom decided she was too old to get a doll for Christmas. Her interest quickly turned to paper dolls. She  would draw paper dolls on notepaper while riding the bus to and from school. After graduation, she set off for the Art Institute of Pittsburgh to study commercial art, now referred to as Graphic Media. After graduation, she married her high school sweetheart. They have three grown children, six grandchildren, one great grandson, and a whole bundh of yorkie fur babies.

In 1976, I began taking ceramic lessons at a local studio, just to get away one night a week. After doing all sorts of ceramic project I discovered porcelain and china painting winning Best of Show in a local ceramics competition. Soon after that dolls sparked an interest and in 1979 I exhibited at a doll show that was to become a 28 year long career. Beginning with antique reproductions, I quickly became bored and tried my hand at sculpting my own original dolls. Starting from scratch I sculpted the doll parts, making the plaster molds, pouring the porcelain, cleaning, firing, and painting the porcelain, assembling the bodies, designing and sewing the outfits, and then doing my own marketing and website. There was not doubt this was my true niche. I was considered on the “A” list of doll designers, winning numerous Public Choice Dolls of the Year and Dolls of Excellence awards. Over the years I designed for several major doll manufacturers and have appeared on HSN and QVC with my doll designs. In 2000 I discovered my registered copyright designs were being ripped off by 6 different doll manufacturers. And that year also began to to feel the effects of a slow down in the collectible market.

Mom & sisters

November 9, 1996

The Steele Clan

May 15, 2011

Home Depot associate

“I am a firm believer that everyone is born with a special talent. It’s up to you to discovery what your special gift from God is and what you will do with it. Life is like a roadmap. It depends on which road you take as to where you will end up. There are many hills and valleys along the way. Some roads are smooth sailing and straight while others may be out of the way and bumpy with lots of curves. I have never been one to take the easy way.”

Linda is an accomplished seamstress and photographer, a self-taught doll maker, sculptor, mold maker.  Her original dolls realistic hand painted Paperweight-Glazed™ eyes became a trademark of her work.

“ I remember my dad asking me, “If your friends were to jump off a bridge, would you follow them?” Being a young teenager, my answer was definitely a yes. I have come to realize that just the opposite is true. I am not one to follow the crowd, rather I make my own way and do my own thing. I closely follow what other artists are doing and then try to come up with something completely different. Many artists come into the business thinking they are going to make money. If you don’t have the passion for it, find another line of work.”

“When I set off to exhibit at my first doll show back in August of 1979, my husband thought I had fell out of my tree. He actually thought that dolls were for kids and really felt that ‘This too shall pass’. That was in 1979. Without a doubt, I’ve been blessed from above. Not everyone can say they really enjoy what they do for a living.”

In 2002 she switched directions just to have some fun doing fashion doll repaint makeovers. 

When the collectible market tanked, Linda searched for employment, “a real job”. She worked for a company doing painting and wall papering for a couple of months. In late summer of 2005 she was hired at JoAnn Fabrics for a seasonal stint. Then in March of 2006 she began her new career at the Salem Home Depot. Starting off as a cashier, she also worked in credit and the Service Desk. In July of 2007 she was moved to the paint department. It was a welcome move and is referred to as the paint queen by her co-workers. Her talents are not wasted as she does special signage for her Salem Ohio store, #3877. The phone will ring and on the other end will be an associate, “Linda, I need a favor!” The paint department is now also the art department. Not only does she create unique signs for the store, she also gives a free hands-on faux finish clinic twice a year. “I try out a lot of the products to see how they work and pass on my findings to customers.”

Once again she has experienced a transformation and is concentrating on OOAK direct sculpt originals.