Turner Dolls | Midwest Made


>>FOR YEARS, LITTLE GIRLS HAVE
DELIGHTFULLY CARED FOR THEIR DELIGHTFULLY CARED FOR THEIR
FAVORITE DOLL AND FOR MANY OF FAVORITE DOLL AND FOR MANY OF
THOSE SWEET FACES, THEIR JOURNEY THOSE SWEET FACES, THEIR JOURNEY
BEGAN RIGHT HERE IN INDIANA. BEGAN RIGHT HERE IN INDIANA.
♪ ♪
>>I DIDN’T LIKE DOLLS WHEN I >>I DIDN’T LIKE DOLLS WHEN I
WAS THE KID. WAS THE KID.
I THE OLDEST OF A FAMILY OF SIX I THE OLDEST OF A FAMILY OF SIX
AND PLAYING WITH DOLLS IS TOO AND PLAYING WITH DOLLS IS TOO
MUCH OF WHAT I HAD TO DO EVERY MUCH OF WHAT I HAD TO DO EVERY
DAY. DAY.
MY PARENTS WERE BOTH ARTISTS AND MY PARENTS WERE BOTH ARTISTS AND
I HAVE LOVED ART ALL OF MY LIFE. I HAVE LOVED ART ALL OF MY LIFE.
MY HUSBAND’S SISTER STARTED THIS MY HUSBAND’S SISTER STARTED THIS
THING WITH DOLLS. THING WITH DOLLS.
THEY WERE RECREATING ANTIQUES. THEY WERE RECREATING ANTIQUES.
MY SISTER-IN-LAW TOOK THEM AND MY SISTER-IN-LAW TOOK THEM AND
SHE PUT REAL EYELASHES IN THEM SHE PUT REAL EYELASHES IN THEM
AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL AND THAT AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL AND THAT
CAUGHT MY EYE. CAUGHT MY EYE.
IT WAS THE LOVE OF THE DOLL THAT IT WAS THE LOVE OF THE DOLL THAT
WAS PRETTY. WAS PRETTY.
>>TOGETHER, THEY DESIGNED AND >>TOGETHER, THEY DESIGNED AND
SOLD DOLL MOLDS TO RETAILERS. SOLD DOLL MOLDS TO RETAILERS.
UNTIL 1989, WHEN VIRGINIA UNTIL 1989, WHEN VIRGINIA
STARTED HER OWN STUDIO, STARTED HER OWN STUDIO,
SCULPTING AND PRODUCING DOLLS SCULPTING AND PRODUCING DOLLS
DIRECT TO CUSTOMERS. DIRECT TO CUSTOMERS.
>>THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO >>THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO
ME IS TO DO A FACE THAT IS SWEET ME IS TO DO A FACE THAT IS SWEET
AND NOT SAD. AND NOT SAD.
YOU CAN’T DO EVERY DOLL SMILING YOU CAN’T DO EVERY DOLL SMILING
OR LAUGHING, BUT THEY CAN STILL OR LAUGHING, BUT THEY CAN STILL
BE VERY PLEASANT AND SWEET. BE VERY PLEASANT AND SWEET.
I HAVE FOUND OUT THROUGH THE I HAVE FOUND OUT THROUGH THE
YEARS THAT WHAT WE CALL A YEARS THAT WHAT WE CALL A
GENERIC SCULPT RATHER THAN A GENERIC SCULPT RATHER THAN A
CHARACTER SCULPT. CHARACTER SCULPT.
MY BEST DOLLS ARE THE ONES WHERE MY BEST DOLLS ARE THE ONES WHERE
I HAVE NOT TRIED TO TOTALLY MAKE I HAVE NOT TRIED TO TOTALLY MAKE
IT LOOK LIKE THIS PICTURE. IT LOOK LIKE THIS PICTURE.
>>VIRGINIA DESIGNS AND PRODUCES>>VIRGINIA DESIGNS AND PRODUCES
EACH TURNER DOLL, FROM HEAD TO EACH TURNER DOLL, FROM HEAD TO
TOE, ON SITE AT THE FACTORY NEXT TOE, ON SITE AT THE FACTORY NEXT
TO HER FAMILY FARM. TO HER FAMILY FARM.
INCLUDING THE CUSTOMIZED INCLUDING THE CUSTOMIZED
CLOTHING. CLOTHING.
>>FABRIC, IT WILL START THE >>FABRIC, IT WILL START THE
WHEELS TURNING AND WE ARE KNOWN WHEELS TURNING AND WE ARE KNOWN
FOR OUR CLOTHING. FOR OUR CLOTHING.
IT’S ALL HAND MADE. IT’S ALL HAND MADE.
THE FABRIC WILL CLICK WITH ME, THE FABRIC WILL CLICK WITH ME,
BUT I DON’T ALWAYS SEE THE BUT I DON’T ALWAYS SEE THE
DESIGN UNTIL I GET IT IN HERE. DESIGN UNTIL I GET IT IN HERE.
THE DOLLS ARE MANNEQUINS. THE DOLLS ARE MANNEQUINS.
WHAT YOU DRESS THE DOLL IN WILL WHAT YOU DRESS THE DOLL IN WILL
EITHER MAKE IT OR BREAK IT AND I EITHER MAKE IT OR BREAK IT AND I
HAVE TRIED A FEW TIMES, BUYING HAVE TRIED A FEW TIMES, BUYING
COMMERCIALLY MADE DRESSES. COMMERCIALLY MADE DRESSES.
UH-UH. UH-UH.
THEY DON’T WANT IT. THEY DON’T WANT IT.
THEY WANT THE HANDMADE TURNER THEY WANT THE HANDMADE TURNER
DRESSES AND WE ENJOY DOING IT. DRESSES AND WE ENJOY DOING IT.
THAT’S FINE WITH US. THAT’S FINE WITH US.
>>AND AS MOST TOY COMPANIES >>AND AS MOST TOY COMPANIES
MOVE THEIR OPERATIONS OVERSEAS, MOVE THEIR OPERATIONS OVERSEAS,
VIRGINIA FOUND NEW WAYS TO VIRGINIA FOUND NEW WAYS TO
REMAIN SUSTAINABLE AND REMAIN SUSTAINABLE AND
INDEPENDENT. INDEPENDENT.
>>I SAID PORCELAIN WILL PLAY >>I SAID PORCELAIN WILL PLAY
OUT. OUT.
SO THE VINYL IS KICKING IN. SO THE VINYL IS KICKING IN.
EVERYBODY WAS LOVING VINYL. EVERYBODY WAS LOVING VINYL.
AND THE GREAT THING WITH AND THE GREAT THING WITH
ROTATIONAL MOLDING, YOU DON’T ROTATIONAL MOLDING, YOU DON’T
HAVE ANY SEAMS FROM THE MOLD. HAVE ANY SEAMS FROM THE MOLD.
IT’S DONE WHERE IT’S SMOOTH. IT’S DONE WHERE IT’S SMOOTH.
AND WE INVESTED IN THE OVEN. AND WE INVESTED IN THE OVEN.
WE HAD A MOLD MAKER OVER IN WE HAD A MOLD MAKER OVER IN
CINCINNATI THAT DID THE METAL CINCINNATI THAT DID THE METAL
MOLDS THAT WE NEEDED. MOLDS THAT WE NEEDED.
WE PUT IN OUR OPERATION IN 1991 WE PUT IN OUR OPERATION IN 1991
AND PORCELAIN, I HAND PANTED AND PORCELAIN, I HAND PANTED
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM.
WHEN I GOT TO VINYL, THERE’S A WHEN I GOT TO VINYL, THERE’S A
DIFFERENT ASPECT. DIFFERENT ASPECT.
THE PAINT YOU USE TO PAINT VINYL THE PAINT YOU USE TO PAINT VINYL
WITH, YOU PURCHASE IT FROM THE WITH, YOU PURCHASE IT FROM THE
AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY. AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY.
WE HAVE WHAT THEY CALL STENCILS, WE HAVE WHAT THEY CALL STENCILS,
IT’S A METAL MASS THAT CAN GOES IT’S A METAL MASS THAT CAN GOES
OVER THE FACE AND WE SPRAY THE OVER THE FACE AND WE SPRAY THE
LIPS AND WE SPRAY THE CHEEKS. LIPS AND WE SPRAY THE CHEEKS.
IT’S HAND PAINTED BUT IN A WAY, IT’S HAND PAINTED BUT IN A WAY,
IT’S NOT LIKE WITH A BRUSH IT’S NOT LIKE WITH A BRUSH
WHERE, YOU KNOW, YOU DO EACH WHERE, YOU KNOW, YOU DO EACH
STROKE BECAUSE YOU CAN’T WITH STROKE BECAUSE YOU CAN’T WITH
VINYL. VINYL.
IT HAS TO BE SPRAYED ON OR IT’S IT HAS TO BE SPRAYED ON OR IT’S
GLOBBY LOOKING. GLOBBY LOOKING.
THERE’S A LOT OF MECHANICS IN THERE’S A LOT OF MECHANICS IN
MAKING DOLLS, NOT ONLY THE FACE MAKING DOLLS, NOT ONLY THE FACE
ITSELF BUT ALSO YOU HAVE TO ITSELF BUT ALSO YOU HAVE TO
THINK OF THE TECHNICAL PART OF THINK OF THE TECHNICAL PART OF
IT. IT.
IS IT GOING TO BE ONE THAT’S IS IT GOING TO BE ONE THAT’S
GOING TO GO ON A SHOULDER PLATE? GOING TO GO ON A SHOULDER PLATE?
IS IT GOING TO BE ONE WHERE THE IS IT GOING TO BE ONE WHERE THE
NECK IS ATTACHED TO THE HEAD? NECK IS ATTACHED TO THE HEAD?
OR IT GOING TO BE ONE WHERE THE OR IT GOING TO BE ONE WHERE THE
IN HE CAN IS ATTACHED TO THE IN HE CAN IS ATTACHED TO THE
SHOULDER MEAT? SHOULDER MEAT?
BECAUSE THERE’S A DIFFERENCE — BECAUSE THERE’S A DIFFERENCE —
PLATE? PLATE?
BECAUSE THERE’S A DIFFERENCE IN BECAUSE THERE’S A DIFFERENCE IN
THE WAY THE HEAD ROTATE. THE WAY THE HEAD ROTATE.
VINYL, YOU HAVE TO MAKE WAY MORE VINYL, YOU HAVE TO MAKE WAY MORE
OF THEM. OF THEM.
AND ONCE YOU GET THE WORK DONE AND ONCE YOU GET THE WORK DONE
TO WHERE YOU HAVE THE METAL TO WHERE YOU HAVE THE METAL
MOLDS TO MAKE IT, THEN IT’S VERY MOLDS TO MAKE IT, THEN IT’S VERY
EASY TO MAKE ONE AFTER THE EASY TO MAKE ONE AFTER THE
OTHER. OTHER.
WELL, THEN THE MARKET BECAME SO WELL, THEN THE MARKET BECAME SO
LARGE, THAT WE HAD 1,000 RETAIL LARGE, THAT WE HAD 1,000 RETAIL
DOLL SHOPS THAT WE WERE SELLING DOLL SHOPS THAT WE WERE SELLING
TO. TO.
THEY WOULD BE LINING UP TO GET THEY WOULD BE LINING UP TO GET
INTO THE BOOTH TO BUY THE DOLLS. INTO THE BOOTH TO BUY THE DOLLS.
SO THEN WE HAD TO EXPAND. SO THEN WE HAD TO EXPAND.
WE HAD TO BUILD MORE BUILDINGS. WE HAD TO BUILD MORE BUILDINGS.
WE HAD TO ADD ANOTHER OVEN. WE HAD TO ADD ANOTHER OVEN.
WE HAD TO HIRE MORE EMPLOYEES WE HAD TO HIRE MORE EMPLOYEES
AND IT WAS REALLY FUN. AND IT WAS REALLY FUN.
I LOVED IT. I LOVED IT.
>>AT ITS PEAK, TURNER DOLLS >>AT ITS PEAK, TURNER DOLLS
SHIPPED UP TO 6,000 DOLLS A SHIPPED UP TO 6,000 DOLLS A
YEAR. YEAR.
UNFORTUNATELY, THE COLLECTION UNFORTUNATELY, THE COLLECTION
LOST POPULARITY AND THE LOST POPULARITY AND THE
PRODUCTION SLOWED. PRODUCTION SLOWED.
TODAY THEY MAKE LESS THAN 100. TODAY THEY MAKE LESS THAN 100.
>>I AM THE ONLY ARTIST THAT IS >>I AM THE ONLY ARTIST THAT IS
PRODUCING HER DOLLS IN THE PRODUCING HER DOLLS IN THE
UNITED STATES. UNITED STATES.
I JUST CAN’T SEE LETTING MY I JUST CAN’T SEE LETTING MY
DOLLS GO INTO KITS OR ANYTHING DOLLS GO INTO KITS OR ANYTHING
ELSE. ELSE.
I’VE GOT TO PROTECT THE I’VE GOT TO PROTECT THE
COLLECTORS. COLLECTORS.
IF A PERSON IS A DOLL COLLECTOR, IF A PERSON IS A DOLL COLLECTOR,
RIGHT AWAY THEY KNOW WHO RIGHT AWAY THEY KNOW WHO
VIRGINIA TURNER IS. VIRGINIA TURNER IS.
AND A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY WHEN I AND A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY WHEN I
SAY I MAKE DOLLS. SAY I MAKE DOLLS.
THEY THINK I’M MAKING DOLLS AS A THEY THINK I’M MAKING DOLLS AS A
HOBBY. HOBBY.
THEY DON’T KNOW THAT I HAVE DONE THEY DON’T KNOW THAT I HAVE DONE
IT AS A LIVING. IT AS A LIVING.
I HAVE BEEN FORTUNATE BECAUSE I I HAVE BEEN FORTUNATE BECAUSE I
GOT IN ON THE GROUND FLOOR AND GOT IN ON THE GROUND FLOOR AND
TAKE IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH. TAKE IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH.
THERE ARE NOT TOO MANY ARTISTS THERE ARE NOT TOO MANY ARTISTS
WHO HAVE LASTED 33 YEARS. WHO HAVE LASTED 33 YEARS.
I WORKED VERY HARD IN IT, I WILL I WORKED VERY HARD IN IT, I WILL
SAY THAT BUT THE WORK HAS BEEN A SAY THAT BUT THE WORK HAS BEEN A
JOY. JOY.
AND THE EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN LIKE AND THE EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN LIKE
MY FAMILY. MY FAMILY.
I WILL SAY TO MY HUSBAND QUITE I WILL SAY TO MY HUSBAND QUITE
OFTEN, WELL, IT’S GOING AWAY, OFTEN, WELL, IT’S GOING AWAY,
BUT YOU CAN’T TAKE AWAY THE BUT YOU CAN’T TAKE AWAY THE
MEMORIES. MEMORIES.
THEY WERE MADE WITH A LOT OF THEY WERE MADE WITH A LOT OF
LOVE AND A LOT OF PRIDE.

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19 thoughts on “Turner Dolls | Midwest Made

  1. Very pretty dolls! I've been looking to see if vinyl dolls could be made here in the USA but don't know where to find medal mold makers or businesses that do roto casting of vinyl. Do you recommend someone? Thanks!

  2. I am a collector and I’ve never heard of this woman but now I am like wow with her dolls and they are so beautiful 😍 they remind me of lee Middleton dolls to.

  3. I just found my 7th Virginia Turner doll. I love her designs and clothing. When I hold one of my VT dolls I feel like a kid again. So sad that time and the market has caused her to slow business down.

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