contact us

Contact us today to learn more about R. John Wright.

2402 W Rd
Bennington, VT, 05201
United States

802-447-7072

A behind-the-scenes look at the R. John Wright Dolls Design Studio in Bennington, Vermont. Written by R. John Wright, hear in his own words how the creative design process unfolds and how the world-renowned RJW dolls and animal characters are readied for production. 

VT4.jpg

News & Updates

A behind-the-scenes look at the R. John Wright Dolls Design Studio in Bennington, Vermont. Written by R. John Wright, hear in his own words how the creative design process unfolds and how the world-renowned RJW dolls and animal characters are readied for production. 

Now there are Two!

John Wright

We've reached a milestone with the design and production of the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz series. The first hurtle is to make the prototype of course, but almost as important is to be able to make duplicates of the prototype which are every bit as good. This is what sets us apart from One-of-a-Kind doll artists. Below is a photograph of the original prototype alongside the first production sample. Can you tell which is which?

The Scarecrow(s)

The Scarecrow(s)

Once we get to this point in the design process we call it 'Taking the cork out of the bottle' because now we know that we can produce the doll effectively. It's a great feeling!

There is a lot of work between making the prototype and getting the doll ready for production. We literally have to back up and go over the entire design process with a fine-tooth comb to break the making of the doll down to individual steps. As most artists will attest, making the first of something is often a 'seat-of-the-pants' endeavor. Many things that were done in the creation of the prototype must be analyzed and dissected so that someone can be trained to do them. Susan is the critical bridge between design and production. Without her ingenuity the production systems would not be figured out. And without her diligence, the production would not measure up to the high standards of the prototype. As you can see in the photo above, the production doll (on the left) matches the prototype (on the right) exactly. To me this aspect is the most challenging of all that we do. If we didn't do this only one person could have this doll and that would leave many people very disappointed.

This is another reason why we have always insisted on having our design and production under one roof. If we didn't produce the dolls here we couldn't keep a strict eye on all aspects to insure that each doll in the limited edition kept true to our vision. It's a wonderful little world we live in where we can control everything!

NOTE: The first "Scarecrow" shown above will fly to San Antonio tomorrow to take part in the annual UFDC (United Federation of Doll Clubs) convention. He will be on display in the Toy Shoppe booth in the convention salesroom which is open to the public on Sat June 19. Visit UFDC for further details. 

The making of the first production sample completes the design process. From there on the Scarecrow ceases to be a design project and becomes a 'production' piece. While the doll is in production it must be carefully and continually monitored so that it doesn't begin to 'drift.' Even though our team is extremely skilled and dependable it's easy to get off track when doing multiples. But now that the design cycle has been completed with the Scarecrow we can begin to focus on designing the Wizard of Oz mice! My next post will take you there.

Oz Mice Update—

John Wright

The Wizard of Oz mice have received a resounding thumbs-up from collectors and retailers. So we are fine-tuning the details in preparation to design them. First off are the decisions regarding edition sizes. The reason for this is that certificates and tags, boxes and materials must be ordered and the suppliers require lead time. Among the preliminary design moves is to order the required mohair fabrics from Schulte in Germany, and the glass eyes also from Germany.

The Toy Shoppe - our premiere stockist - has come up with a creative solution to promote the series without having photos of the actual mice. Here is their interpretation of what the mice will look like:

"Dorothy" Mouse

"Dorothy" Mouse

"Scarecrow" Mouse

"Scarecrow" Mouse

"Tin Man" Mouse

"Tin Man" Mouse

"Cowardly Lion" Mouse

"Cowardly Lion" Mouse

We think they did a very good job of imagining them! Kudos go out to Jessica at the Toy Shoppe!

This will be our most ambitious mouse series by far. We've decided that in addition to the four main characters, we will also be designing a 'Wicked Witch' mouse, a 'Glinda' mouse, and a mousey incarnation of 'Nikko' - the leader of the flying monkeys.  It will be hard to draw the line on additional characters. We think a 'Winkie' mouse would be great with his distinctive headdress and spear. And it's awfully tempting to design a group of 'Munchkin' mice! We certainly welcome any input from you Dear Reader. Please add your comments below!

Exciting 'Mouse' News!

John Wright

We haven't made any new mice for 2014 and so we began thinking of a 'mouse-related' project that would be different from any we'd done before. Suddenly, it came to us: Wizard of Oz Mice!  Since we're so embroiled in making the Oz dolls, the mice seemed like they would be an natural addition to the 75th anniversary year celebration of the release of the original movie.

Quickly, our heads began spinning as we envisioned how the mice could look. First, we decided that the main 4 characters were begging to be made in mouse form: Dorothy; Scarecrow; Tin Man; and Cowardly Lion. Even if we attempted further characters collectors would always want the main ones. We decided that the first 75 sets of the 4 main characters would be boxed separately to commemorate the anniversary. [Note: The special commemorative sets are SOLD OUT] To limit the editions that severely would leave too many heartbroken customers. So the higher-numbered mice would be sold separately. In this way, collectors would have the option of picking their favorite if they so chose.

There seemed to be 2 different ways to go with the design of the mice. One way would be to simply accessorize the mice without going further on the costume. But that didn't feel satisfying enough.... So we have decided to costume them more fully. We can't outfit them to the extent that the dolls are because of the restrictions of mouse 'anatomy.' But we will try our best to recreate the beloved characters just as if they were....well....Mice! 

We must get back to the drawing board so we can have something to show. Look for images to begin to appear in the next few weeks. It's an exciting and fun project to be involved in.