Doll designer Joey Versaw, who made a name for himself with his artful line of fashion doll inspired by 1950s Barbies, Mary Magpie, has shifted from modeling his figures from Fortin and then resin to 3D printing the articulated bodies and then making each unique with hand painting. The first 3D printed fashion doll, Mary Magpie, sold via Versaw’s Etsy store, was an immediate hit. Now Versaw has come up with a new line of dolls: gay boy dolls in a series he calls, “First Love.”
Albany, Oregon-based Versaw knew from early childhood that his love for dolls needed to be moderated depending upon the company he kept. At home, he limited himself to what he perceived as culturally acceptable, entertaining himself with a retinue of the standard “boy dolls” like the popular and super masculine GI Joe. At his grandmother’s house, however, Versaw’s boundaries were broader. His grandmother taught him to sew in order to make costumes for female fashion dolls, particularly Barbie dolls. By age 10, the budding young designer was making his own dolls and at age 16, dispensed with any pretense and began collecting dolls as well.
Versaw conceived of Mary Magpie, his own fashion doll, when he was 13 and has been refining her design ever since. She’s 11 ½” tall and is sort of an amalgam of 1959 Barbie, pin-up model Bettie Page, burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese, Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz,” and Kira, Olivia Newton John’s character in the movie “Xanadu.” In her first incarnation, Mary was a boudoir-type doll with a cloth body but, after a series of refinements, Versaw began sculpting Mary Magpie using a ceramic-like material called Fortin. The doll featured articulated joints and was the same height as her fashionable predecessor, Barbie.
A year after her first sculpting in Fortin, Versaw switched to producing Mary Magpie from resin but as he was working out of his home rather than in a controlled, studio environment, he faced many challenges with the material, including health issues. A friend suggested that he try constructing his Mary Magpie dolls using 3D printing. The dolls are printed using laser sintered nylon plastic and then handpainted to show fine details such as facial features. The dolls are ball-jointed and strung and have five articulation points — hips, shoulders, and neck. Mary Magpie’s costumes are evocative of those of Hollywood starlets of the 1950s and 1960 and each doll comes with a 3D printed wig, shoes, and a fashionable ensemble.
Now Versaw is debuting a new line of 3D-printed dolls: his “First Love” line, which he refers to as “Gay Boy Dolls,” is now available on Etsy, the only source for acquiring the new dolls and his line of Mary Magpies. On his Etsy site, Versaw explains the theme of his new line of dolls: “Being gay is not always easy,” he emphasizes, and encourages customers to “follow Joey [one doll is named after its creator] and his friends on their journey to find their very own first love…”
Like his Mary Magpie figures, Versaw’s First Love dolls are definitely fashion-conscious, although their costumes evoke the 1980s rather than the ‘50s and ‘60s. The First Love dolls are 12” tall and, like Mary Magpie, can wear clothing produced for fashion dolls of that height. Outfits can be custom-ordered from Versaw’s Etsy shop for the anatomically-correct dolls.
“Introducing ‘First Love’ one of the very first doll lines to use state of the art 3D printing, taking dolls to a new place and creating new history in technology!” The dolls’ descriptions read. “Keeping with the old world art of being hand painted, clothed, and assembled to give soul merged with the new option of 3D printing the ‘First Love’ dolls are a mover and shaker in the doll world!”
Versaw’s 3D printed and handcrafted dolls are priced between $250 and $350. The designer now offers limited edition sets, particularly of the Mary Magpie series and, presumably, soon special features will be available with the new, First Love line. For a limited time, customers ordering the First Love dolls are able to choose custom options including hair and eye colors, too.
What do you think of Versaw’s doll lines? Let us know your thoughts on these fashion-forward dolls over at the First Love 3D Printed Dolls forum thread at 3DPB.com.
Check out some more photos of the First Love line taken by doll photographer Sharon Wright: