Like many little girls, as a child I loved dolls. I would spend hours playing with my dolls and get very excited when I saw a new doll advert on the TV. Whenever I saw these adverts I would add the new "Cabbage Patch Kid" or "My Child" to my long Birthday list of "I wants" which my parents would be bombarded with. Unfortunately my daughter does not share my childhood passion and has about as much interest in dolls as a I do in sports, which is none. But somebody who does have a huge passion for dolls, one which has continued her entire life is Judith Hutchings.
Article in Waimea Weekly Wednesday 19th February 2014
You can never be too old to play with dolls, at least that much is true for local woman Judith Hutchings. With more than 2000 dolls in her collection, her home is every girls dream and is a hidden treasure within the Wakefield community. Her fascination first began when she was just 13 years old. Judith would write to her pen friends from all over the world and in exchange would receive national costume dolls, from as far afield as Scotland, Germany, Austria, Malaysia, and India. Since then she has accumulated a huge ranged of dolls from small, to tall, old and new. The oldest and one of the most precious of dolls within the collection is one that is more than 100 years old. She says that someone almost threw it out before it was saved and given to her as a young lady. "It is made of porcelain and leather, and filled with sawdust."
With an extensive collection of NZ and English Pedigree dolls, Gotz dolls which are no longer stocked in NZ, a $500 doll, not to mention the huge selection of Barbies, Cabbage Patch dolls, and Bratz. A few years ago the dolls were given their very on house. At 30sqm the custom built home for Judith's doll collection is a breathtaking sight. Wall to wall, ceiling to floor, each doll is proudly displayed. Dolls are also displayed in cabinets her father built especially for her national dolls when Judith turned 21. "I used to keep them in one of the spare rooms, but the collection just grew and grew." Since taking her collection seriously around 16yrs ago, Judith has discovered many must have dolls at garage sales, online, through Trademe and through people she knows. While some are rare collectors items, others are more common yet just as special. Judith is also in hot demand for her dolls clothes making skills as she freqeently gets request from all over to create something special for other people dolls. Originally she began the clothes making as something to keep her busy in her retirement. But that has flourished into a very busy hobby. "Something that I have found a lot of people request is to recreate the outfit for their childhood doll, the one the dolls used to wear when they first had it."
Judith says she cant see herself ever stopping collecting and admits that she's always looking. "Ive always loved dolls and I just started collecting them. I collect stamps, coins, but I just got into this a bit more."
As for her husband Ian, if you are wondering what he makes of the 2000 strong collection of dolls complete with their own home, he says he simply "turns a blind eye"
Judith offers tours of her dolls collection by appointment for a small donation, and makes dolls clothing to order.
To contact Judith about arranging a tour, purchasing a doll or dolls clothing email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Special thanks to Judith Hutchings for kindly sharing your beautiful doll collection with me.