Sunday, April 4, 2010
Outside the Box Primitives
WEST ALEXANDER, Pa. - Robin Armstrong Seeber usually wakes up each morning with a picture of a doll in her mind.
Before the West Alexander woman has time to think, it's 11 a.m. and her creation is well under way to being sold online at eBay or via her Web site.
"It is my passion in life. It makes me happy," said Seeber, who has made such a success with her folk art that she left her career as a registered nurse.
It's also taken her a long time to get to this place.
She missed an opportunity for fame as a doll maker three decades ago when the upscale FAO Schwarz of New York liked a toy she had made in response to the chubby, pillowy 1980s sensation known as the Cabbage Patch Doll.
Fast forward to this year:
Seeber is excited about a new line of her small dolls that will be mass produced in resin in the Philippines by Bethany Lowe Designs Inc. in Illinois. Lowe's business has grown from her farm to become a major global wholesaler of collectibles made or designed by folk artists. The work is sold in luxury department stores from coast to coast.
"When I went through her catalog, I saw that she had cloth dolls," Seeber said. "I said, 'I'm going to pop her a couple pictures to see what she has to say.'
"She responded, and three days later I had a contract to sign. I felt like I was dreaming. I gave her 13 or 14 submissions. She accepted them and immediately sent them to her factory."
Seebers' dolls will be in Lowe's catalogs in July and in stores in January.
(The above is an excerpt from a story in the Observer-Reporter newspaper, Washington, Pa.)