I designed my first doll at the age of 12 after attending a porcelain doll making class for kids. I had always made “things” out of Fimo, so the whole dollmaking process didn’t daunt me. My first doll, Robin Hood, was bug-eyed and jaundiced and horrified my tutor, but I kept at it, and gradually improved.
I gained my Gold Seal of excellence in original Sculpture at the age of 15 and became a regular at all the New Zealand Doll Shows. My mum used to get congratulated for my entries, they never knew how young I really was, and thought my mum was the sculptor. In 1997 I went to University to study for a Bachelor of Industrial Design, this inspired me to look into a career in film or toy design, my doll work supporting me as I went. I have worked for Weta SPFX and been credited for the Fellowship of the Ring, my sculpture greatly improved during this time with the help of the weta designers. In 2003 I packed my bags and headed overseas. In Canada I worked in the SPFX, and also as a stop motion puppet maker before moving on to the UK. I worked for Aardman Animation in Bristol (of Wallace and Gromit fame) for a while before settling into toy design with various companies in London.
I am now back in New Zealand, living in Wellington, and lecturing Design at Massey University. After a two year break from Dollmaking, I am back an inspired to create again. In particular I am focusing on my animal dolls and a range of New Zealand inspired creations.
At Massey University she teaches Animation, Play theory and Game design. She has a background in toy design and character sculpture having worked for several leading toy design companies in London and over twenty years experience as a doll designer. She is also a several times World of Wearable Arts award winner- entering 16 garments over the past seven years.
© 2011 Tanya Marriott