Pipistrelle Miniatures by Alison Fleming
My name is Alison Fleming, and I am a dollmaker.
I live in the north of England with my best friend Alan, and 2 cats.
My father was an artist, and my mother and grandmother were both skilled needleworkers, although I have to say that I showed no interest in sewing until my early teens. At that time, I think my mother thought that it was about time I learned to sew properly, so she bought a dolls clothes pattern to fit one of my numerous dolls. We went down to the local drapers (yes it was a long time ago) and bought fabric for each outfit in the pattern. She then showed me how to use her old hand sewing machine, and left me to it.
I squirm now when I think back to those first efforts, but at the time I was so pleased with what I had achieved that I begged my mother for her dressmaking scraps and my dolls became the best dressed dolls in the country. (Or so I thought). It was not long before I progressed to making my own clothes, and then to making cloth dolls.
In 1984 a friend taught me to make porcelain dolls, a hobby that quickly became an obsession, and before I knew it I was teaching classes in dollmaking.
I started making miniatures in earnest in the early ‘90s, and stopped making the large porcelain dolls.
I think the Internet was my biggest spur to creativity, as I could now see the work of other wonderful and inspirational dollsmakers, and I was initiated into the joys of on-line shopping.
I started buying moulds again, this time for miniature dolls, and spent 3 long months wrestling with alien technology, building my first website.
Within hours of going “live” I had sold 6 of the 8 dolls that were for sale on that first website. I was well and truly launched.
I still sell my dolls from my website, and I sell what I make, rather than taking orders.
I also teach workshops and do talks and demonstrations.
This doll shop is now in Teresa Yu’s collection in Hong Kong. The dolls in the window are 24th scale, the dolls looking in are 12th scale.
The dolls that can be seen through the open door are actually pictures of my large porcelain dolls in a photoshop tromp l’oeil montage.