I tried to think of a witty way to start this post but I guess Friday evenings just aren’t my wittiest time of the week, so I’ll get right to it instead: I collect dolls. Not just any dolls, a particular type of dolls called ABJD (Asian Ball-jointed Doll) or just BJD. Instead of giving some long explanation of what they are, I’ll just refer you to this Wikipedia article and to our good friend Google. But the really short definition is that they are resin-casted ball-jointed dolls strung with elastic thread that highly customizable, usually made in Asia and, at least for certain people, highly addictive. I started out saying I would only ever have two BJDs and now I have 7, with 3 being prepared to be shipped to me in the next few weeks which will push me over into the double digits (not counting so called “floating heads”, dolls that don’t have bodies yet).
A lot of people think that dolls are just for kids, but as far as I’m concerned BJDs are an excellent hobby for any age (although perhaps not for kids as BJDs are expensive and somewhat delicate). It encourages a lot of creative activity (painting the faces, sewing, taking pictures etc) and is also a fun way to meet people. I’ve won some lovely friends through BJD communities online or meetups offline.
People’s reasons for having BJDs vary a great deal. For some it’s simply about aesthetics or collecting limited editions. Some style dolls to look like their favorite celebrities. Some use them as photography props. Some sew for them. From my experience, a lot of people who collect BJDs also write. Some buy BJDs to turn into the main characters of their stories. Others write stories based on the characters they’ve made their BJDs into.
Although my dolls aren’t based on any characters of mine, they are still connected to my writing. I’ve chosen to base my dolls on abstract concepts that are writing related. The different sizes of dolls contain different categories of concepts, as follows: muses, languages, genres, character archetypes, themes and linguistic tools or concepts. I may end up having more categories in future but for now those are it. Each category at present only has one doll in it, except for my Muses which are, and will probably remain, two (Erato and Calliope). I’ve always been quite fond of trying to create embodiments of abstract concepts. I’m not quite sure why. I guess there’s just something appealing about going “what would X be like if they were a person?”.
Another thing I like about BJDs is that it’s one of those hobbies that you’re just never done with. There’s always something more to do. Just this afternoon, when I was taking the photo above, I looked at a few of my dolls and thought to myself “Hm… I think you need new faceups soon”. That unfinishedness can also be annoying at times, but mostly it’s fun, and all in all I find doing things with my dolls (taking photos, sewing, painting their faces, what have you) to be quite inspirational.
Oh, and if any doll-people are reading this, feel free to pop over to Worldwide Dollhouse, my little BJD hangout on the web.