Kim Arnold is a Canadian doll maker who’s been garnering fans worldwide with her Trinket Box Dolls line. Ironically, she’s a relative unknown in her home country – a domestic market she hopes to win over when she debuts some specially pre-made Trinket Box Doggy Dolls at Woofstock 2017. We spoke with Kim about dogs and dolls.

CC: Dolls have been a part of human play for thousands of years. Were you interested in dolls as a child?

KA: Yes, I was addicted to Barbie dolls from the young age of about 4 or 5 and up ’til I was a pre-teen.  I used to get together with a really good friend of mine and we would play with our Barbie dolls for hours and hours and never, ever got sick of it. Looking back, it’s kind of funny.

CC: Tell us about yourself? 

I live in a very small town just down river from Sarnia, in Ontario. And I’ve been in this area for most of my life. I’m going on 58 years young and have been married to my husband Ron coming up to 34 years. Ron & I have two children, Mike & Michelle. Both are out on their own, so it’s just the two of us along with four English Setters. Two of our dogs are rescues from Greece. I have been an artist for most of my life. I love art that challenges me to go further.

CC: When did you start collecting? 

KA: I don’t really collect dolls because I’d much rather be sculpting and designing my own line of dolls.

CC: Do you consider yourself a hobby artist? 

KA: In the beginning it was more of a hobby, and now it’s my full-time business.  I am not really well known in Canada, as the doll market is small. I am well known in the U.S.A. and overseas, and this is where the bulk of my dolls go. My aim is to open up the Canadian market.  I am working on it, but it’s going to take time to do it.

CC: What’s the inspiration behind your Trinket Box Doggy Dolls? 

KA: The Inspiration behind my line of Doggy Dolls and my future Mingo, the Cat doll, is my love for animals.  Ron & I have always opened up our home to dogs, be it fostering or rescuing. We love our dogs!!

CC: Tell us about the eyes? Why are they so important? 

KA: The one feature on any doll, be it human or animal, are the eyes. They are the one thing that will penetrate the soul of the person gazing at the creation. I am really picky when it comes to selecting and buying eyes from suppliers.

CC: On what do you base your creations? 

KA: My ideas come to life for each sculpt from what is in my head. Imagination is the key to being a good artist. And I have endless ideas stored up in my imagination, so I doubt I will ever get bored.

CC: What are your interests? 

KA: Most of my interests stem from sculpting dolls and drawing up ideas. I do have other interests besides art – that would be family and our dogs. I also love gardening, being outside in the summertime and taking little day trips along the St Clair River. I really don’t go to far from home, just because we have four dogs and it makes travelling a little tough to do.

CC: Do these doggy dolls range in size?

KA: The Trinket Box Dolls range from 12-inches and a bigger 19-inch size both these sizes are popular with my customers.

CC: How are they made? 

KA: The Process from start to finish is very time consuming. The original doll itself is first sculpted using a clay and many hours go into the piece refining it to the semi finished product. Afterwards, the sculpt gets packed up and shipped to a toy factory overseas.                                                                                                                                                                                                           Once the sculpt is in the hands of the toy factory, then a further refining and priming occurs to get it ready for the mold making process. Once the molds are made, then the doll gets poured in a resin material.  All my dolls are Resin, and fully poseable. They are what doll collectors know as Ball-Jointed Dolls (BJD). The dolls are then shipped from the toy factory to me. I paint them by hand using artist chalks and acrylic paints, and then I spray seal them with a UV cut flat sealer.

The whole process is costly, but worth every effort. The finished product is a unique piece of art that will last a lifetime.

Resin is a very hard material. It can break if the doll is dropped, but it’s much stronger than porcelain. I have won a few awards for my work in the past few years, but I took a break from doll shows in the U.S.A. because my father had been sick and I did not want to be far away from home. We lost our Father this past January, so, looking towards the future, I will go back to doing shows in the USA next year.

CC: How long does it take to create a Trinket Box Doggy Doll?

KA: Customers can wait up to four months to receive one of my dolls from start to finish. It is a wait, but my customers never mind waiting because they love The Trinket Box Dolls.

As for the group of doggy dolls that will be available at Woofstock (May 27th and 28th) – this group of dolls was ordered long before the festival in order for me to have the time to paint them all and dress them to be ready. I do not normally have dolls available like this. They have to be pre-ordered through my web site or by email.