In the second part of our interview with Suzanne Wood-Thomas, Lily Rose, we discuss her favorite colors, why she creates OOAK BJD costumes, and her romantic bohemian spirit.
BJDmagazine: What are your favorite colors?
Suzanne: Undoubtedly my favorite color in the universe is pink. I’ve loved the color pink since I was a child. As far back as I can remember, pink made me feel so many wonderful feelings from comfort, happiness, elation and romance…. It is simply to me the most divine color in the world, from the palest shade of cherub pink, to the sweet and gentle shades of nature’s roses, to the most electric and shocking hot pinks. Recently, I was feeling overwhelmed with work and life in general, and I needed to feel a sense of happiness. I decided to make something that would make me feel happy whenever I looked at it. So I am crocheting an electric hot pink afghan/blanket for my bed. It brings me joy just working on it!
I also love antique colors; they have a story to tell. I love antique white or cream over white, because to me they have a sense of movement and feeling – aged as though lives have passed through them. I love dusty lavender and muted shades of moss green, and rich dark plums. Dark plums remind me of my grandparent’s home. A bedroom I stayed in as a child was wallpapered in a beautiful dark plum with huge antique white lilies. I always felt like a princess when I spent the night and slept in the magical room with the beautiful wallpaper. It comforted me and made me feel the love of my grandparents. I think there are reasons why we are drawn to one color or a number of colors as opposed to others – they hold a special place in our subconscious or deep within our heart that generates warm and beautiful memories and gives us a sense of calm.
BJDmagazine: Do you sew unique costumes, or do you make limited editions? Please elaborate.
Suzanne: My costumes are strictly OOAK. I may make a number of silk velvet bloomers or jackets with my outfits, and although they may share the same color of silk velvet, the trims will always be different. I am also a knitter and crocheter, learning much from my mother as well as my grandmothers. I actually started out crocheting hats and knitting sweaters for ball-jointed dolls. My true longing was to design clothing, and although I could use the drape method for designing, I wanted to learn how to design as a professional. I like to alter patterns and embellishments for different styles. I get bored too easily and I like OOAK items, thinking I am special being the only one in the world with that particular item. I think it is a delightful way to design.
BJDmagazine: How would you describe your style?
Suzanne: I’m definitely a hopeless romantic, and believe in love-at-first sight. I would call my style romantic bohemian. I stray from it occasionally, but truly love the romantic or poetic style with a touch of gypsy thrown in at times.
BJDmagazine: What attracts you to Dollstown sculpts?
Suzanne: It may have something to do with the fact that the first BJD I truly fell in love with was Dollstown’s Elysia sculpt. I feel that their sculpts are so lifelike. To me, it is asas if they can breathe, talk, and have feelings. They are almost as alive as much as a doll can be – at least in one’s own mind. There are many beautiful and amazing sculpts, and I own a couple from a few other companies, but Dollstown dolls truly speak to me and are timeless.
BJDmagazine: Who is Lily Rose? Is she your namesake?
Suzanne: Lily Rose is a name that appeared in my mind that I thought was beautiful and sounded like an old romantic name with soul. I named my first BJD, my Dollstown Elysia, “Lily Rose”. It seemed only natural to use the name Lily Rose for my design business. I am a huge fan of Johnny Depp and at the time I chose the name I didn’t know his daughter’s name was Lily Rose. A few people have thought it was the reason for having chosen the name, but my reason for choosing it was simply that I loved the name.
BJDmagazine: When you sew a garment, do you have a specific plan, and then choose the fabrics, or do you let the fabrics guide you? Can you elaborate? Do you use patterns?
Suzanne: I usually have a grand vision in my head and can’t wait to start pulling fabrics to create the design. I have an unbelievable number of fabrics and embellishments, although I never seem to have enough! I often stray quite far from my original vision. One of my favorite parts of designing for me is the initial flurry of thoughts and choosing scrumptuous fabrics and trims to make it come together. Sometimes a certain “to-die-for” piece of fabric calls to me, and I design an outfit around that fabric. I love gorgeous fabrics, trims and beading, and at times the embellishments cause me to stray from my original design. I never complete a design unless I love it and it feels right to me. I’ve used published patterns a few times after tweaking them, but soon found that it is not as creative or as much of a challenge, and I love a challenge. In the future it will strictly be my own designs and patterns I create. Although I don’t have any professional training in fashion design, I purchased a few books that have become my bibles. One in particular taught me the principles of patternmaking, which was just as difficult as I had envisioned it! I also have what I refer to as my bible of couture sewing techniques. I really enjoy sewing and embellishing garments by hand. I use the sewing machine when I can, but a lot of my work, and especially working with silk velvet, really calls for hand sewing. It is time-consuming, but have found that I love sewing by hand. It makes me feel connected to a past when a lot of work was done strictly by hand.
BJDmagazine: Where do you sell your outfits?
Suzanne: I sell my designs on a few of the doll boards, The Zone and Bitten. I also do it by word-of-mouth. I have just opened an Etsy shop called “Vintage Lily Rose” to sell my designs and heads with faceups.
BJDmagazine: What are your plans for this new year?
Suzanne: I plan on following my passion by devoting more time to creating new designs and expanding my horizons, perhaps doing more faceups, and offering my designs for sale at “Vintage Lily Rose”.
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