Amy Taylor, aka SqueakyQueen, is the jeweler of the Orange Team in the For the Love of Blythe book project and that team couldn’t be luckier. Amy is not not only very creative and talented, she also uses precious materials in her creations for Blythe, which makes them definitely unique on the market and very valuable too. I am sure you do agree with Amy and me that our beloved Blythe well deserves to wear silver and precious gems, don’t you?
Photo: SqueakyQueen. Amy and her Blythe.
Hi Amy! Can you introduce yourself ?
My name is, quite simply, Amy Taylor. I have always wished it was something more exotic, which is the reason I probably have named my children, animals and dolls such convoluted names akin to those of an eccentric recluse. (Zacharius Ignatius Aloysius Ezekiel the Freeloader of Hutchings Glen, for instance…oh, that’s an animal…no worries!). I live in Glenview, Illinois…just outside of Chicago with my husband Tom and two of our five boys (Yes, five. Boys.), our dog, two kitties and one Blythe. Ye old dog-eared birth certificate says I am 46 years old, and was raised in Evanston, Illinois (home the ice cream sundae) where pet rocks and dolls ruled my world.
Photo: SqueakyQueen. Amy and Tom in 2010.
I was fortunate to get a job apprenticing as a jeweler when I was just sixteen years old. I liked the detail work of being a jeweler, and was always assigned the fiddly projects that no one wanted. Ironically, one of my co-workers named these orders, “Barbie Shoe Projects” because of her difficulty as a child getting the shoes on Barbie’s feet. “Give Amy the Barbie Shoe Projects!” was something I regularly heard…oh how no truer words had ever been spoken : )
My hobbies include doing just about anything with my hands and any tool I can get a hold of, hiking, travel and doll collecting. I’m proud to say I AM able to put down my tools when I hike and travel, but usually have to pick up a doll to take with me instead. I am a self employed metalsmith by profession… a jeweler… and enjoy making hand fabricated jewelry of silver and gold, with an emphasis on unique hingework that you can see on my website and Etsy shop. This summer, Blythe will be accompanying me to Art Fairs as I make the circuit with my newest work! Please follow me on Facebook at Amy “hingedjewelry” Taylor! It was the only way I could spice up my name a bit…but anyhow, you can watch me make things for Blythe on my Facebook page!
Photos: SqueakyQueen. Pendants and earrings. Amy’s jewelry is made of 14k and 18k gold and sterling silver. It is completely constructed (no cast elements) with an emphasis on unique hinge work, gemstone color juxtapostions, as well as found objects such as beach glass and rock. Her influences are primarily architecture and nature.
How and when did you discover Blythe?
I discovered Blythe as a child. I never owned one, but remember the Blythe television commercials. It was my memory that Blythe looked like the Martian Gazoo on the Flintstones, and the Quisp cereal commercials! Big heads were obviously all the rage in those days! Blythe was always something that I wanted, but somehow I ended up with a collection of the rag-doll version of her: Joan Walsh Anglund dolls. Still, it was in my psyche that I wanted one of those big headed plastic babes one day… Dolls are very important to me, and one of my favorite doll makers is Cindy Sowers. I met her when I bought one of her hand-made-one-of-a-kind dolls a few years ago. When Blythe started popping up in her Etsy shop, I took a walk down memory lane to my childhood and questioned her about them. Cindy is very knowledgeable! I got the whole Blythe history from her, and was intrigued. Shortly after her re-introducing Blythe to me, I was on a search to find my little plastic soul-mate!
When and why did you start your collection?
Nostalgia bit me. I had to have a Blythe! I only wanted one (I say that now…), and the quest began for her last year. I found her, a Takara RBL “Kiss Me True”…but haven’t breathed life into her yet. I have plans for her, but she’s not been customized yet. I’m enjoying her, “as is” for now! She and I both have long gray hair.
How many Blythe dolls do you have in your own collection?
I only have one Takara RBL Blythe and would like to keep it that way. She’s very high-maintenance, I think she is all I can handle! Oooh, as a matter of fact she’s calling me now…!!!
Where and how do you store them?
“Kiss” sits above my workbench wearing something you’d see me wear on a daily basis: jeans and a tie die halter top by Cindy Sowers. She also sports high top Doc Martens, of course (pink, and yes, I have a matching pair). She keeps me inspired. Occasionally when I create something for another of her sisterhood, I will break out a party dress and dress her up in whatever I’ve just made (tiara, jewelry, etc.) Shhh, don’t tell anyone. The day after the party, the goods are shipped elsewhere ;^)
As a jewelry designer, how do you like designing jewelry for Blythe? What is your work rhythm where do you sell your designs?
I LOVE designing for Blythe. She’s a challenge! Her complexion is flawless, but slippery. I guess this is good, no wrinkles, right? But the neckpieces fly all over her neck and there isn’t much cleavage to tuck things. Her wrists are teeny tiny and demand very tiny clasps. Her ears don’t have a back, so you must make sure earrings stay in through clever tactics! And tiaras, crowns and eyeglasses…oh my. Trying to get them to stay on is like trying to nail jello to a wall. But, I’ve figured all those things out with much success and not too many complaints from the girls, so I must be doing okay.
Photo: SqueakyQueen. Sterling silver, white pearl and CZ tiara! A must, in every wardrobe. : ) My life has been all about miniatures…playing with dolls as a child is precisely the reason I am a jeweler today. It is the reason I live in the tiny house I live in, and the reason I married my fabulous yet diminutive husband… but I digress. Making jewelry for Blythe is a natural extension of my jewelry making and interests!
Photos: SqueakyQueen. Teeny tiny little sterling silver crown – Sterling silver new moons encircle her crown, topped with raven’s wing pearls! Heart tiara for Charlotte, Queen of Hearts! Sterling siver and rose cut garnet. My wares are sold through Cindy Sowers on Etsy. She’s the Royal Milliner to Blythe, so I figured having a few jewels and crowns in the shop would be a natural extension of HER niche in the Blythe world. We collaborate on a lot of things, and the partnership has worked out well! Anyone can contact me directly if they wish to have anything made!
What do you like the most in collecting Blythe?
Creating things for Blythe has been my favorite thing. It really breathes life and personality into them. Each girl is different and evokes a mood, I love that my work adds to that essence.
Photo: Cindy Sowers. Silver pull charms by Amy Taylor.
What are you working on these days and what are your next projects with Blythe?
Currently I’m gearing up for summer art fairs, so creating inventory is on the agenda. Cindy and I are working on our next customized Blythe too, which is going to be very different from our last two (Charlotte, The Queen Of Hearts and Calypso the Sea Goddess). I’m extremely excited about that. My niche in the jewelry industry is creating interesting hinges to give my work movement, and I’m happy to say this next custom is going to be sporting a fabulous pair of custom eyeglasses, complete with hinges!
Photo: Cindy Sowers. Charlotte, the Queen of Hearts – Collaboration project between jeweler Amy Taylor and artist Cindy Sowers.
Photo: Cindy Sowers. Calypso, the Sea Goddess – OOAK Blythe by Amy Taylor and Cindy Sowers. She’s got a mohair re-root in various shades of blue, green and black to resemble seaweed colors, a silver plate shell seat with lime green velvet cushions, a sterling silver fish arm band, a sterling silver trident, sterling silver pull charms, and a sterling silver crown of dangling iridescent blue fresh water pearls. She has 3 pairs of hand-painted eye chips in various blues and greens and 1 pair of dark slate blue Coolcat chips. Her dress is kind of a lime green velvet halter dress with a tight fitting bodice that goes below the hips in frond-like projections, and voluminous blue and green tulle over a silk underskirt.
Thank YOU, Fanny! It’s been a lot of fun thinking of what really makes me tick about Blythe. I’m delighted to have the chance to put it into words!
Thank YOU so much, Amy, for participating in the adventure of the book project, and for sharing your love story with Blythe and jewels. Your irreproachable technique combined to a unique style make your designs simply exceptional. I just adore the pure lines of your tiny crowns and tiaras. They are so elegant and compliment Blythe’s beauty to perfection. I can’t wait to see what your For the Love of Blythe doll is going to wear!