Annabel Ho is a handmade doll maker extraordinaire. I discovered her on the arts website, Etsy. Searching for mermaid dolls, her mermaid, Jade, was a standout. I placed my order and in a few days, Jade was sitting on my doorstep. Beautifully detailed. Dressed to the nines mermaid. Wispy yarn hair. I’d never had such a beautiful doll.
So began my admiration of Annabel’s work. As her Etsy site is rather nondescript, I did my own research on her. I discovered she works as an accomplished pastry chef at Jin Patisserie in Venice, California. I found her in the LA Times.
I asked Annabel if being a pastry chef and doll maker required similar skill sets. Annabel said no they’re very different artistry. Sometimes, she finds it easier to sculpt something using chocolate rather than cloth. If she likes sculpting, why not use polymer clay? She said she did work with clay a lot as a child, but she prefers plush dolls, things that she can squeeze.
Annabel started making dolls for herself at age 14. She writes on her Etsy sight, “I love making sculptured dolls for myself….so much so that I wound up with far too many and they were given to charities…a gift that I truly enjoyed giving, as the children the dolls were donated to, needed the dolls much more than I did. Even though I wound up with far too many, I did not want to stop creating these beautiful dolls and so I began thinking and looking for another way to create them. In my search, I discovered screen printing and realized it would be perfect! Even though the dolls are screen printed, I use a sculptured detailed sewing technique, which gives the dolls the depth, and sculptured look that I wanted and love.”
Annabel hopes to one day get her dolls in individual specialty dolls shops. She encourages anyone who wants to make dolls, to practice. She says, “It’s easy as long as you master the foundation. Lots of practice makes it better.” One of the cloth doll makers she admires most is Lisa Lichtenfels, for very life-like cloth sculptures.
Find Annabel’s work on Etsy . You can buy from her inventory or commission her to create something of your very own. I hope you will love her dolls as much as I do.