Today, Daisy and I went out in search for props for our upcoming new product shoot, and stumbled across an Aladdin's Cave.
In a suburb not so far from where I grew up, a curious little Dolls Hospital has sat for many decades. It's so tiny and the lettering on the facade so faded, one could assume it's closed down. But the scattering of vintage dolls prams and dolls houses in the front window has often caught my attention, though still, I've never been inside. Until today.
Entering through the doors, you feel at once like you've stepped onto the set of a film. In this dimly lit space, with its old fashioned decor, there is a heavy sense of nostalgia. The walls and much of the floor are lined with glass cabinets, housing dolls in droves. Tiny dolls, dolls that stand 1 metre tall. Dolls of every ethnicity, dolls in knitted booties and handwoven straw hats. Porcelain dolls with pretty faces and lifelike hair, newer plastic babies with knitted clothes and booties, some kind of creepy looking dolls that must have been 60 years old. There were collections of vintage plush toys and vintage Barbies. And every doll accessory a little girl could ever dream of. Our little doll loving girl was in HEAVEN.
Chatting with the owner, Marisa, we soon learn that this business was originally operated by her parents, who had a passion for restoring vintage dolls and a knack for building wooden dolls furniture. It's been years now since they've passed, and Marisa has continued to operate the store from it's humble abode and carry on this family tradition. Her eyes light up talking of the rarest and most beautiful dolls in her collection, it's clear that this is a passion project that is close to her heart.
The Dolls Home is kind of like the anti-Kmart - here there are no glaring fluorescent lights and rows upon rows of mass produced licensed toys made by machines. Rather, everything is lovingly made, preciously cared for and preserved. Toys with history and oozing character, like they've stepped out of the pages of an Enid Blyton tale.
This quaint little place really feels magical. Maybe it's the dolls, or maybe it's the devotion and preservation of a family trade that's so admirable.
Oh, and we found exactly what, or should we say, whom, we needed for the photo shoot. I wonder if you'll be able to pick her? Stay tuned...
I love everything about Summer in Australia. The heat, the long days and sunset at 8:30pm, the spontaneity that school holidays afford. The swimming, reading, cooking and balmy evenings watching the kids run under the sprinkler. Dreaming about the year ahead with friends over a glass of vino or two. But most of all, I love holidays at small seaside towns dotted with holiday shacks like this in shades of pink and blue, just begging to be photographed. Daisy wears our Such Great Heights Cosmos Romper, Grace wears her Wovenplay sunsuit.
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The time has come for us to sign off for the holiday season!
Jo & I want to thank you for your support, custom and friendship in 2015. It was a truly special year for Such Great Heights and our family. We hope it was a happy, memorable one for you too, and that you and your loved ones have a happy and safe Christmas break.
But before we go...
We wish to share with you one final piece of work, something we are extremely proud of. I have recently returned to my filmmaking roots and partnered with Norwegian cinematographer, Per Sveinung Larsen, on a short film for Such Great Heights.
We created a quiet and beautiful piece about a boy's boundless imagination and beloved 'Wonder Tent'. The film was shot on location in Norway and is the first release in an ongoing series of films for Such Great Heights.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Ryan and Jo x