I should have anticipated this one. Doll Crafter and Doll Costuming used to be two separate publications. A couple of years ago they merged. Since then, letters to the editor have contained regular complaints from readers that their area of interest was not adequately covered. The combined magazine promised to address all doll crafting and costuming interests. Tall order. It meant that some areas were covered once every few months, others once in a blue moon. An issue focusing on fairies, or polymer clay, or reborning meant many subscribers went without anything of interest to read. The costumers were lucky to get a pattern per issue. It was a no-win situation.
The magazine dwindled in size. And then the announcement came in Monday's mail saying subscriptions would transfer to Dolls magazine. I have subscribed to Dolls magazine for a number of years. It's a nice general overview of all kinds of dolls, with articles, news, auction and show reports. It won't replace Doll Crafter & Costuming -- it doesn't cover those technical aspects of dolls. The postcard says subscribers may transfer to Teddy Bear Review or The Crafts Report if they prefer. Either way, crafters and costumers have been left high and dry.
The other announcement came on Tuesday via email, and this one elicited a howl of disbelief: Haute Doll, the magazine for dolls who love to shop, was also folding. This notice didn't even pretend to cite the economy as a reason; it stated that its editors had "decided to retire and go on to new adventures." Never mind the loyal subscribers and those who purchased it regularly on newsstands, eager to plumb its depths for the latest on their favorite fashion dolls, including -- yes! -- BJDs. Haute Doll was thick, even in the face of a struggling economy, with 114 glossy pages in its June 2010 issue alone. Haute Doll gave us tutorials on face painting, stringing, and wig styling, in addition to photo stories, patterns, and articles spotlighting BJD faceup artists, clothing designers, and Asian as well as American BJD makers.
The publishers of Haute Doll also brought us The BJD Orbyrarium, an Angel's Guide to the Universe of Modern Ball Jointed Dolls. At 192 pages, this soft-bound book is indispensible for the BJD collector. Like Haute Doll, it is full of tutorials, articles, patterns, full-page and full-color photography of ball jointed dolls. Buy a copy now from one of the doll shops that carry it, because who knows if it will remain in print once Haute Doll is gone.
No way will we have that level of coverage of BJDs in its replacement, for Doll Reader is another magazine that deals with dolls in general. While it has begun to acknowledge the BJD phenomenon, it recognizes few ball jointed dolls produced outside the US. Even with the promised Haute Doll special supplement within its pages, I seriously doubt that we will see a shift in that narrow focus.
How I wish I had the financial ability, the business acumen, the time, and the industry connections to publish a magazine. I would focus on BJDs exclusively. The audience is there. If you don't believe me, go to ebay and look at the volume of merchandise being traded under the category of Super Dollfies. We need a magazine. A thick, glossy, high quality magazine. A Vogue for BJDs. We had Haute Doll. Now we have nothing.