Monday, October 2, 2017


Stacie Johnson, founder and creator of Twissi Handmade Dolls

Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black (EEoDiB) is honored to share the profile of doll artist, Stacie Johnson, the ultra-talented woman behind Twissi Handmade Dolls (THD).  By reading her answers to a series of interview questions, readers will learn the inspiration behind her one-of-a-kind dolls and delight in their beauty.

Handmade Cloth-Dress Bag Doll:  Underneath their full-length dresses is a storage compartment.

  What inspired you to become a dollmaker and how long have you been making dolls?

THD:  I began making dolls by accident.  I love painting faces.  I used to paint faces from fashion magazines. I did not like painting faces for custom orders.  I then began to paint figures on furniture which I enjoyed tremendously.  When I was an Army soldier, I received orders to go to Kuwait in 2004.  My job was simple, so I finished work early.  I had time on my hands, so I craved to find a way to be creative.  I could not paint furniture while living in a tent. Where would I find wood furniture in a desert? One day, I called my neighbor who was watching my home while I was away.  I told her I had no way to create on this tour.  My friend sent me small gourds to decorate for Christmas ornaments.  Once the tiny pumpkins arrived, I saw faces! I then started painting faces.  For the body of the doll, I used the stuffing of my pillow and the fabric of my pillowcase.  Next, I ordered fabric and sewing accessories online.  The rest is history.

EEoDiB:  Please share the meaning of Twissi and why it was chosen as the name for your doll art.
THD:  When I was a little girl, my dad called me Twissi.  I wiggled when I walked as a child.  I was very close to my father. Even though he is not here anymore, he is a part of my dollmaking business.

Lovely doll in a three-tiered dress
EEoDIB:  Was there any particular reason you chose cloth as the main medium?
THD:  I chose cloth as a medium because it is like painting on a canvas.  I can add details or take away details easily with paint.

Glass beads were used to adorn the shoes of the previously shown doll.
EEoDiB:  What other materials are used to make your dolls?

THD: I love to use glass beads and durable 100 percent cotton fabrics. I use recycled fabrics from old or worn out garments. Oils are my preferable paint.

EEoDiIB:  Are your dolls made to look like people you know or people you have met, if not, what inspires their faces?

THD:  The faces of my dolls are from my imagination.  I have painted one doll from a Pinterest photo.  I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could still capture a likeness from a photo and I still have it. Sometimes when I finish the faces, the doll reminds me of someone I work with.

23-inch Egyptian-inspired doll with classic bob cut hairstyle and jewel-embellished dress

EEoDiB:  Do you name your dolls or is the naming left up to the buyer?

THD:  The buyers can name the dolls. The only dolls I name are the Egyptian dolls because they are from history.

This doll is Queen Tiye, the mother of King Tut.  I decided to make a doll of Queen Tiye because she made a status for herself outside from being married to royalty.  Her husband looks to her for advice on important issues in politics.

EEoDiB:  What sizes are your smallest and largest dolls and what is the average height of your dolls?

THD: The smallest doll is 18 inches; the tallest is 39 inches, and the average height is 26 inches.

This doll is supported by a cone-shaped stand underneath the tulle of her skirt.

For a better view of her face, the doll with cone-shaped stand is shown from another angle.

EEoDiB:  Would you ever consider making smaller dolls, around 10 to 16 inches tall?
THD:  If a customer requests a custom order of a doll between 10 to 16 inches, I would be happy to make a doll that size.

EEoDiB:  So you do make custom dolls.

THD:    Yes, I make custom dolls.

This half fairy, half ballerina is 27 inches tall.

EEoDiB:  What is the price range of your dolls? 

THD:  The price ranges from 60 to 170 dollars.

EEoDiB:  Where are your dolls sold? 

THD:  My dolls are sold in my Twissi Handmade Dolls shop on Etsy.

Lovely water fairy has colorful costume and face
Close-up of water fairy

EEoDiB:  Do you see yourself making dolls long into the future or is this just a steppingstone to other things?

THD:  I see myself always making dolls.  I have other creations with my love for painting faces.  I have made pillows and a backpack with faces. For now, it is all about dolls. I am so very much inspired by Ancient Egyptian women and I want to make more dolls to show my love for the history.

This doll is Goddess Serqet, an Egyptian Goddess who has many great inscriptions like the Goddess of Marriage, Goddess of Nature, Goddess of Medicine and the Goddess of Magic.  The title that interests me the most is the Goddess of Protection.  Serqet is often depicted with a scorpion on her head and an ankh in her left hand. She could save lives when a person was bitten by a poisonous scorpion. The most dangerous type of scorpions can be found in North Africa. She healed with medicinal herbs. This makes Serqet a very important goddess.  A gold statue of Serqet was found inside King Tut's tomb.  She was also called the Goddess that Gives Breath.

EEoDiB:  Please share any additional information about your doll artistry that you’d like readers to know.

THD:  I am currently working on a website that will feature a video about my dolls.  I wish to tell the story of why I chose to make each doll.  Dolls are more than a pretty figure to look at.  Dolls can inspire confidence and aid in learning about a culture.

EEoDiB:  How can potential customers reach you?

THD:  I can be reached by email, on Facebook, and as mentioned on Etsy at the links provided below:

Thank you, Stacie, for sharing your artist profile with the readers of EEoDiB.  Readers, please browse Stacie’s Etsy shop, like her on Facebook, and/or email her for additional details about her dolls.