Lynne and Michael Roche and Their New Old Dolls
Lynne and Michael Roche have been making artist dolls for 30 years. They are well known for their porcelain headed dolls with finely carved and articulated lime-wood bodies. They have also made a variety of ranges of different bodies for the dolls over the years, at the moment tiny all bisque jointed dolls compliment their larger wooden and porcelain collection.
Another definitive aspect of their work is the clothing for the dolls, Lynne uses uniquely dyed fabrics and yarns and wonderful antique fabric for the clothes and many details such as embroidery and appliqués decorate the unusual and evocative garments. Many outfits are also enhanced by wonderful hand knitted items.
All of this with the addition of real or mohair custom made wigs, beautiful paperweight glass eyes made in England, delightful specially made leather shoes and boots and uniquely imaginative accessories make their dolls highly desirable and collectable. They have been called by serious antique doll collectors ‘antiques of the future’.
“We took on a shop and began to make copies of old rare dolls often buying cracked examples of the rarer dolls in the Paris flea market, dissatisfied with the body types that were available. Michael began to carve the wooden bodies, all that time ago he used a variety of different woods, but now we only use lime-wood for light colour and lack of strong figuring. We kept our shop for 7 years until we were so busy with making the dolls we realised we wanted to concentrate on that.“
The clothing has always been very important, they have often gone towards the 50’s look, harking back to their own childhood. The clothes is always to be very much in proportion to the dolls, and have a feeling of reality, not overpowering the doll, so they often use knitteds, wool and cotton rather than heavier fabrics. Also, much of the fabric and yarns are dyed for them using natural dyes which give beautiful soft but rich colouring. For detailing they love embroidery and appliqués and of course the knitting can also enable details in the right scale.