Do you remember your first R. John Wright piece?
Piglet with Violets. I remember walking through a local doll shop and glancing down at the floor. Among a pile of other things, I saw a lovely green box with an E.H. Shepard illustration on it. I opened that box to find the most wonderful rendition of Piglet I had ever seen. I had found one of my favorite childhood characters created by what would become one of my favorite artists.
What is your favorite thing about collecting?
Being surrounded by art. It makes me happy. I have display cabinets, but I have pieces all over my house. What I especially like about doll collecting is that I can “play” with them. I have fun creating different displays and searching for accessories I think will compliment them. It makes me feel just a bit like I am part of the creative process. My friend, Pat Knowles, made the 7 dwarfs’ house, Santa’s sleigh and the Mad Hatter’s tea party table.
There’s also the friendships I’ve developed through doll collecting. I have met wonderful people with the same passion for dolls that I have. These friendships are even more precious to me than collecting.
We know it is really hard to narrow it down but can you give us your top three very favorite pieces?
“Really hard” is right! I don’t collect just to see how many I can accumulate. Every piece is special to me in some way. But I will give this a try. Chinaman Brownie (makes me laugh), tie between all the Geppettos and Pinocchios (captures those characters to perfection), and The Gardeners, Painting the Roses Red (love those faces and skinny legs!)
We see you have a lot of pieces from Fairy Tales. Have you always loved Fairytales?
I love tales period. My mom instilled in me a great love of reading, and some of my best childhood memories are of my mom reading stories, especially “Winnie the Pooh”, to my brother and me. She also recorded books on a reel-to-reel tape recorder so I could listen to her read whenever I wanted. That love of reading and of fantasy characters, has stayed with me into adulthood.
Is there something that R. John Wright hasn’t created that would be a dream creation for you?
There are so many characters I would love to see brought to life. “The Jungle Book”, especially Mowgli, would be amazing. Although not as popular as some Disney movies, I love “Brave”. That big, curly red hair on Merida would be unbelievable on a doll. Or any creation with really big, long curly hair.
I am somewhat familiar with license requirements, so instead, creating original versions of Hansel, Gretel, and the Witch, Rapunzel, and Peter Pan would be really fun. An R. John Wright horse would be incredible too. Maybe a prince riding a horse! After all, how can you have fairytales without including Prince Charming?!
I would also like to see more pieces added to existing collections. Such as the Cheshire Cat, hedgehog and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum to Alice in Wonderland, a flying monkey to Wizard of Oz, and a wolf to go with Little Red Riding Hood.
If you could ask R. John Wright a question, what would it be?
Why do some prototypes never make it into production? Such as the wolf for Little Red Riding Hood and a couple of the “Little Children”. I also noticed there were plans for a Tintin and Snowy that seems to have gone by the wayside.
Answer from R. John Wright:
"Good question! There aren't too many editions which never come to fruition but every now and then it happens. The reasons are as varied as the items themselves. Quite often another larger project will push the item off center stage. For example, when we made the Wolf prototype for Red Riding Hood, the Snow White project jettisoned those plans and we never got back to it.
Tintin was a different type of situation. We loved the Tintin books and read them to our children. But we were apprehensive about hitching our wagon to a movie we had not yet seen. When we finally saw the film we were sorely disappointed. The studio had originally announced plans for 2 more Tintin films but the weak reviews caused those to be canceled. Suddenly the situation had changed dramatically. We had begun sculpting but we're now at a crossroads. We reluctantly made the decision to cancel the project. It's still possible that we will do Tintin based on the original books — which we probably should have done in the first place!"