About Steele Dolls
Linda’s trademark hand painted realistic Paperweight-Glazed© eyes, the window to your soul
All of Linda’s personally hand crafted original dolls have a porcelain swivel head, breastplate, arms and legs. Most of her dolls have a breastplate that comes to the waist, arms that go above the elbow, and legs that extend to the thigh. Armature is used with the cloth body for positioning. If the doll is a standing doll, in most cases, the doll is balanced to stand alone, although Linda suggests using the support of a doll stand. If the doll is a sitting doll, the legs are sculptured in a sitting position. The most outstanding and recognized feature of her originals are the realistic hand painted Paperweight-Glazed© eyes.
Each doll is a work of love. Beginning with a lump of clay, her talented hands go to work. Sometime there is a hint of an idea before she begins, but most of the time, the sculpture seems to form right before her eyes. It may change directions many times before it is completed. Simply add a small piece of clay here or there, and it is dramatically changed and a new idea is rapidly forming. Sometimes it takes several weeks, even months, before a new head is completed. Other times the image is so strong that she just can’t put the head down and continues to work into the wee hours of the morning. Only to rise after a couple of hours of sleep and continue working.
After careful detailing of each part, she get her mind set and drags herself to the mold room (also known as the basement) and begins making the plaster molds. If you haven’t guessed already, this is not one of her favorite parts of creating original dolls. Finally the molds are made and then the excitement begins. A quick pouring of the liquid porcelain into the fresh plaster mold and the long wait until the mold can be opened is what seems like an eternity. Linda is not known for her patience when it comes to getting that first, new head done. She rushes everything, including drying the head in the oven so she can get it cleaned and fired and that first painting. She breaks all the rules that the doll making instructional books tell you NOT TO DO.
Finally the painting is complete, the assembly begins, and then the really difficult part, deciding on the costume. She has had more than one doll sitting in her sewing room for over a year, naked. Why? Because she just can’t decide how to dress it. The cupboards are filled with fabrics, the cutting table can’t be used because it too is overloaded with more fabrics and trims. But, when things come together, it’s like a symphony. The sewing machine is humming, it’s like music to her ears.
In 1989 her work was nationally honored with her first Dolls of the Yearâ Nomination. The following year she won the Dolls of the Yearâ Public’s Choice Award. Click Here to review all her nominees and Public Choice Award Winners forDolls of the Yearâ and Dolls of Excellence.
She has designed for several manufacturers, including Ashton Drake Galleries, Danbury Mint, Effanbee Doll Company, Home Shopping Network, QVC, J.C. Penny’s Co., Ganz Cottage Collectibles, Candy Spelling, and Seymour Mann. Linda has personally appeared on HSN & QVC.
After 20 plus years in the doll business, Linda began feeling the stress of the everyday limited edition porcelain production work and some of the dirty politics in the doll industry. In 2002 she took a side track just to have some fun and began doing repaint makeovers on vinyl fashion dolls. When the fall of 2004 turned to winter, once again she reinvented herself and began to experience the joy of creating like when she first began her life’s journey. One thing she had never done was direct sculpt OOAK’s. Thanks to renewing an old friendship with Jack Johnston at Expo East in 2004, Jack gave her some ProSculpt to play with. It didn’t take Linda long to get hooked on sculpting again and enjoying the freedom of creating OOAK’s.
At the Dolls of Excellence Award Banquet at Expo East in 2004, Jack Jones of Jones Publishing spoke about how manufacturers and artists must reinvent ourselves to keep the industry growing and collector’s enthusiastic. Taking his talk to heart and with her new approach and rejuvenated enthusiasm for dolls and life, our website has also taken on a brand new look to reflect that spark. Stay turned because who knows what will come next?