Linda Macario OOAK BJD Freckles

Linda Macario: Italian BJD Artist (part 1)

In the first installment of this two part interview with Linda Macario, an Italian BJD artist from Florence, Linda introduces us to her dolls, and talks about her creative process, and the importance of materials in the creation of OOAK BJDs.

BJDmagazine: When and how did you start creating dolls? Are you trained as an artist?

Linda: I started to get interested in the world of dolls many years ago, while reading an Italian magazine. Laura Scattolini’s wonderful dolls immediately caught my attention. I had never seen dolls like that before and decided to try to make one myself. I used  doll artist Naoko Fortunato’s book to teach myself. From that point on, I dedicated myself to the creation of polymer clay OOAK dolls.

I took a course to learn how to make porcelain dolls.  Sculpting is my vocation.  Creating a whole new doll from scratch is gratifying . The Internet has always played a fundamental role in my training; I have collected and cataloged the work of many doll artists from around the world, and I still dedicate a few hours a day to browsing doll-making sites. Creativity and artistic spirit have always been aspects of my character. When I was a little girl, I loved drawing more than anything else, and I grew up following my instincts and studying of art. Making dolls is how I express myself and my feelings, as a painter does with paintings, and a sculptor with sculptures.

Linda Macario OOAK BJD Freckles

BJDmagazine: When did you discover BJDs? What attracted you to them? Do you own BJDs?

Linda: I really like resin BJDs, but my favorites are the Japanese OOAK BJDs. I am attracted to their realism and refinement. They’re so different from the dolls I’ve seen before. I’m also interested in the expressive aspect of posing BJDs.

BJDmagazine: How did you start creating BJDs? Did you learn from someone? Did you use a book?How did you figure out how to create their articulations?

Linda: When I see something I like and that tickles my creative interest, the first thing I do is to  try to recreate it.
For inspiration creating new dolls, I read Ryo Yoshida’s book (like many other artists), but I didn’t stop there. I continue searching; I study and experiment a lot to adapt these techniques to my style. I am a self-taught doll maker who learns a lot from others, but my objective is to maintain a personal style.

Linda Macario OOAK BJD Summer Dream

BJDmagazine: Tell us about your experience creating your first doll, Sakura?

Linda: Sakura was my first experiment, and the beginning of this exciting adventure. After I assembled all the pieces, and the doll was standing by itself, I felt like Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein exclaiming, “It…Could… Work!”

BJDmagazine: What have you learned since Sakura?

Linda: The part of my job as a  doll maker that I like most, is testing of techniques and materials. Although in general my dolls are similar to each other, every creation is unique. I spend much time finding the materials that are best suited to my needs. An example is the choice of air dry clays with which I sculpt. I tried at least three different clays before deciding that LaDoll is best for me, although I discovered that the limbs are more durable if I use DAS as a base.

Linda Macario OOAK BJD Freckles

BJDmagazine: Your ball-jointed dolls are single-jointed? Why?

Linda: It is a question of style. I prefer the harmony of proportion to absolute posability. It is probably linked to the types of dolls I have made in the past. But I do not exclude the possibility of using other types of joints in my future creations.

Linda Macario OOAK BJD Summer Dream

BJDmagazine: Can you describe your creative process for us? Do you plan every step, or do you let the clay guide you?

Linda: Creating an OOAK BJD is a very long and laborious process, consisting of many stages, all equally important.  I start by a drawing in 1:1 scale of the subject I want to create. Then, I make a carve the core pieces out of polystyrene. I cover the core parts with clay and sculpt the details. Then I remove the polystyrene cores, leaving the parts hollow.

When the general structure is good, it’s time to work on the ball joints that allow movement. I assemble the pieces to check for stability and mobility and make the necessary corrections. Then I coat the parts with a special foundation and paint all the details.

The next step consists of applying two coats of wax to protect the doll from wear and dust. I like to customize my dolls as much as possible, so I try not to use wigs, but work with mohair fibers and then apply them on the doll to create a custom hairstyle. In broad terms, this is the process that leads to the creation of the doll itself.  Designing the clothes and accessories follows. In general, however, I am not strongly tied to a specific model. I love to experiment, and every creation is unique even for the techniques and materials chosen.

Linda Macario OOAK BJD Alice

BJDmagazine: What are your favorite materials to use?

Linda: My favorite air dry clays are LaDoll and DAS. For the hair, I usually choose mohair fiber — it has an antique look that gives a certain charm to the doll. The eyes are an essential part of the doll, so they must be the best, and blown glass eyes are my favorite. My choice materials depends on the doll I am creating. I do not think one material is better than another, but rather one is better suited to a particular doll. I avoid all materials that are of poor quality.

Linda Macario OOAK BJD Freckles in Old Florence

Join us Thursday at 9 a.m. (Boston time) for the second installment of our interview with Linda Macario, and Saturday also at 9, for her wonderful face-sculpting tutorial!

You can find Linda Macario on:

Her Blog:

Her Website:

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About BJDmagazine

BJDmagazine is a free online magazine for the ball-jointed doll community. We feature DIYs articles and how-to's, interviews with prominent BJD artists, BJD photography, and product/doll company news.

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