The 2013 NIADA Annual Conference kicked off this year in sunny Marin County, just over the
Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. It was a special conference this year with NIADA
celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary, The Golden One. Conference co-chairs
Stephanie Blythe, Tanya
Marriott and Lillian Hopkins wanted to try something different for this auspicious event
did not disappoint! Marin County is home to film making great George Lucas, and our very own
The conference was preceded by the Dollmaking School held at the Marin Suites. Seven NIADA
artists conducted classes in a variety of doll making techniques from Tailored Costume Design,
Expressive face sculpting to Stopmotion armature making for puppets.
The NIADA Artists Gallery Night show held in a Popup
store at Marin Town Center,
a local mall was packed with
both attendees and the general public who wandered in to see the amazing works on display.
Twenty nine exquisite new dolls were exhibited.
Friday was filled with programs and discussions from NIADA artists and invited guests.
Keeble gave an inspirational talk about how she overcame breast Cancer through the therapy of
and Garry Buckley from New Zealand gave a talk on the crossovers dollmaking has
with Filmmaking, Animation and Puppetry with his talk all about specialist modelmaking.
Keynote speaker Nina Rappaport Rowan gave a talk about the making of Alma, an animation
where a little girl finds a mysterious doll shop, and her range of communication toys Kimochis. The Artist/Parton lunch was held at the delicious II Fornaio Restaurant. Diana Rew received a
doll by Donna May Robinson as thanks for her great work as treasurer. We also held a few moments of
silence for Barbie Kantor-Goldenberg
who passed away earlier this year.
The worker bees amassed at dawn on Saturday to set up the Show and Sale at the Marin Art
and Garden Centre. Set amongst the gardens, the Show and Sale provided a beautiful venue to
showcase the new work of NIADA artists. With record numbers of artists in attendance, the
room was overflowing with dolls, including work by newly elected artist members Vita Soyka,
Neva Waldt, Tamara Pivnyuk and Victoria Rose Martin, Anna Zueva and Susan Fosnot.
The room was bustling with patrons and public for most of the day before a rapid packdown
made ready for a Buffet Banquet in the garden. NIADA artists scrub up well with a stylish
presentation by Marlaine Verhelst in her Lanvin Dress. With an open bar, certain dollmakers got
a bit raucous at the naughty table, finally relaxing after a busy week hosting the event. The
banquet was preceded by a Historical Exhibit of NIADA dolls from the collections of Doris
Edwards, Roberta Heinz and Stephanie Blythe as well as The Golden One Challenge dolls.
Some of the historical dolls were donated to be auctioned for the benefit of the NIADA
Scholarship Fund which caused a bidding war between doll museums Aunt Claudia’s in Juneau
and the Quinlan’s Teddy Bear and Doll Museum in Santa Barbara, with Mary Ellen conceding a loss to Susan. The Banquet ended with a beautiful presentation of the handmade Conference souvenir by Stephanie Blythe.
The last day was a bustle of activity, with the Helper Room drawing, Visiting Artists critiques
display, which every year provides a wonderful insight into the activities of the doll community.
This was followed by Artist Demos by Connie Smith, Ankie Daanen, Annie Wahl, Leslie Molen and Pat Lillich. Pat’s demo’s describing
her explorations into building ball jointed dolls stole the show, with a notable comment from Pat,
that she loved being able to explore and play with the medium and see where it takes her.
Several attendees were able to sneak away and spend large sums of money at guest vendor
Jennifer Osner’s antique stall as well as artists offerings at the Flea Market, before the closing of
the event with a potluck dinner by the pool.
Tanya, Stephanie and Lillian would like to thank all of the wonderful Artists, Patrons and
supporters who put up their hands and donated their time to making this conference the special
event that it was.
See you all in Florida in 2014!
~ Tanya Marriott, NIADA President