Boy, I hate this part… trying to tell someone about oneself! Where does one start? Okay… In the beginning….well, I’ve always loved art in any way, shape or form. Even though I was a tomboy at heart, I remember drawing my own paper dolls and all kinds of outfits for them.
In seventh grade, I had a wonderful nun who told me “you have a talent Maryanne, and if you don’t do something with it, it would be a sin”! Well, one doesn’t take that kind of thing lightly, so I went on to study art and shortly after, became a freelance commercial artist.
In the late ’60’s I discovered dollhouses and miniatures as a way of compensating for wishing I was an interior decorator. By 1972, after experimenting with every conceivable media from cloth to wood, I created “families” for most of the houses.
After discovering this new clay that could be cured in a regular oven (Sculpy), the dollhouses fell by the wayside. I immersed myself totally into teaching myself sculpting, anatomy, costuming, shoe making and even wig making.
A public library asked me if I wanted to do a display of my houses in 1973. I agreed and asked to add some new figures that I created from the polymer clay. Two days after the display opened I received a call letting me know there were several doll collectors interested in buying the dollhouse dolls. I said “what dolls…those aren’t dolls they’re “figures”! So I sold my first “dolls”, four of them, for a whopping $25.00 each.
In June of that year I attended my first doll show in Algoma and in August, I attended my first national doll convention in Louisville KT for UFDC (United Federation of Doll Clubs). I entered several “original creations” categories and came home with 4 Blue Ribbons. While there I met and became friends with a number of doll artists…it was so exciting, since I didn’t even know this world existed.
From 1973 on, I traveled to several different Doll Conferences as well as the National Doll Convention, each year. At these shows, I displayed and sold my one-of-a-kind dolls. In 1974 I met a wonderful doll collecting couple from Ohio, Margaret and Dick Schively, who took me under their wing. Margaret convinced me to try my hand at porcelain doll making. She invited me down to her shop where she taught me how to pour, clean, fire and paint porcelain in one week. Later that year I taught myself to make plaster molds and another new world opened up for me.
In 1975 I began producing my dolls in porcelain, in additions of 6-10 dolls for each new design. Thank heavens; my young family was so supportive of my efforts, not to mention my travel time to do all the shows each year, to “promote” my wares. During the late ‘70’s and all through the 80’s, my husband and I produced anywhere from 300 to 800 souvenir dolls, for several different Conferences.
In 1990, my two daughters, Kelly Paulson and Bambi Gulig joined me in my doll business, “Oldenburg Originals”. From 1990 until 2001, I designed 12 new dolls each year and we produced, as a team, anywhere from 300-500 dolls per year.
In 2002, I felt the need to return to designing my polymer clay dolls, due to a desire to spend more time being “creative”, rather than being a “production machine”.
I created mainly OOAK’s and occasionally limited edition resin pieces, with my main focus being on children, toddlers and babies. I strive to portray my children in a timeless way, always showing their sweetness and innocence.
I have designed dolls for a number of doll companies. I served as Director of Creative Design for the Oren Village Doll Co. Affordable Designs is another company I’ve worked with. Two different young ladies, “Leeann” and “Leneda”, have been designed for that company. I have also recently designed six new 18” ethnic dolls for a Florida company called “Faraway Friends”.
In 2007, I talked my daughters Kelly and Bambi to come back into business with me and we formed a new company called “Oldenburg & Co. LLC”. I designed 6 little 10” children, which are produced in vinyl for the doll collector market. The grouping called “The Playmates of Willow’s Way” includes 7 year old “Willow” along with her best playmates, “Poppy”, “Holly”, “MerryRose”, “Heather”, and a little boy named “Kip”. In 2009, we added 3 new 7 ½” little girls, with 13 moveable joints, that I designed, named the “Kinder Kids”. They are made of cold cast resin and. I continue to design new outfits and accessories for them, along with dozens of patterns so the collectors can sew new wardrobes for them.
For more information on Maryanne’s work please visit her website at: www.oldenburgandcompany.com.
What’s Cookin’? Convention 2012 Artist Spotlight
“Jambalaya Jubilee” may be months away but our event artists are already hard at work. Each month UFDC is pleased to introduce you to the artists whose work will be showcased at the meal events planned for New Orleans