Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Well, Goodbye Dolly; the Party Is Almost over for Grafton's Jacaranda Doll Society Inc

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Well, Goodbye Dolly; the Party Is Almost over for Grafton's Jacaranda Doll Society Inc

Article excerpt

Byline: Lauretta Godbee

DOLLS and tea parties have always gone together but after 28 years the party is almost over for Grafton's Jacaranda Doll Society Inc.

After 27 highly successful Jacaranda Doll Shows plus a decade of equally successful competitive shows in the 1990s, members of the society have voted to pull the plug and wind up the group.

They made and showed their dolls for love and over the years the lovely creatures they crafted raised more than $40,000 for good causes, locally and further afield.

Junction Hill woman Marlene Fuller was one of the driving forces behind the formation of the original group and remained its president for the whole of its history.

A doll lover from childhood, she never outgrew her passion for all things adollya. The arrival of three sons (and no daughters) only intensified her enthusiasm.

She was already taking lessons with a Coffs Harbour doll maker when, as president of the Grafton CWA branch, she convinced her members to hold an afternoon on dolls and doll making as the branch's annual Cultural Day activity.

The event was a raging success. aThe CWA rooms would hardly hold the people who turned up, there were scarcely enough chairs,a Marlene recalls. aThe branch made over $110 on the day a far more than other Cultural Day activities.

aIt was suggested that anybody interested in forming a doll society should stay behind after the event a and stay behind they did.a

The society was formed with an initial membership of about a dozen. Along with Marlene, another of those originals, Pauline James, is still an active member.

The first two Jacaranda Doll Shows were staged in the Grafton CWA rooms, then, to enable the exhibition to expand, the venue was switched to Grafton's Masonic Hall where every subsequent Jacaranda Doll Show was held, showcasing the work of society members.

In the early days Australian doll makers worked only with aantiquea baby dolls, traditional porcelain heads and hands, moulded, dried and kiln fired before assembly into the finished article, an art requiring meticulous attention to detail to produce a show-standard doll.

All that changed in the early '80s, when American doll makers introduced modern dolls, the Sugar Butches that sold for $500 a set of head and hands, compared to the going price of around $20 for traditional parts.

By then Marlene had gained additional qualifications and was teaching doll making to local enthusiasts. Classes of up to 20 would gather at her home four days a week to learn the arts involved.

aAnyone who teaches generally will collect a few different doll moulds,a Marlene admits. aI have got thousands of them.a

Twice she visited the US to check on latest trends in doll making and judged at several shows along the way. …

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