Lady With A Past

Historically Inspired Art Dolls

About Me
Even though my professional career for 24 years was as a Forensic Scientist with the Miami-Dade Police Department Crime Laboratory, I was always equally fascinated with art and design. The human face especially intrigued me, and I began doing portraits in pastels. My mother taught me to sew and I developed a keen interest in historic costume and accessories. I also love the other needle arts such as knitting and crocheting.

All of these interests came together beautifully about 20 years ago when I saw a newspaper ad for porcelain doll making classes. After one class, I was totally hooked! My passion for painting faces and re-creating beautiful fashions and accessories from the past had found a fabulous outlet in doll making.

Initially, I concentrated on porcelain antique reproduction dolls of the 19th century. Gradually, the creative “urge” took me further than I thought I was capable. I began sculpting my own dolls so they would be totally unique.

These dolls have a cloth body, with the head, hands and arms, and legs to the knee sculpted of paper clay. They are then oil painted for a beautiful mellow, vintage patina. I want these dolls to look as if they just walked off an old canvas. Some of my creations are based on real figures from history; they come with a framed “biography” for display.

Each doll is signed and dated, and comes with a “certificate of authenticity.” Due to my own personal interest, and an overwhelming response from my customers, many of the dolls I now create are African-Americans from history. Some of these have included Harriet Tubman, and Madam C.J. Walker.

All of the doll’s costumes are meticulously created of beautiful fabrics, laces and trims—many of which are vintage. I have created outfits ranging from the 1700’s to the early 20th century. For those of you who just need a new wardrobe for an existing cherished doll, I also offer doll dressmaking services only, tailored to your exact specifications.

My love of the past extends to old houses as well! My husband Doug and I have restored four old homes over the years, and currently live in a circa 1850 home in Monticello, Florida. Doug, who is a retired homicide detective, is an extremely talented woodworker. I asked him to join me in my endeavors by creating beautiful period room settings and furniture for the dolls; these can be custom-made to your specifications.

My designs are meant to evoke the mystique of the past. I try to bring to life the ladies and children of a forgotten era, and make their stories known. My wish is that one day, perhaps, my dolls will become the treasured heirlooms of the future. Thank you so much for your interest in my work, and if you purchase one of my dolls, I hope it brings you as much pleasure as I experienced while creating it!

Dollmaker Theresa Merritt Johnnie Mae - custom doll by Theresa Merritt Mary Todd Lincoln - custom doll by Theresa Merritt