Lucy Aissa is a doll collector based in Lincolnshire. She uses her knowledge as a professional chemist to solve tricky Sindy repair problems. She has recently started to share some of her creative scenes and photography on various private Facebook Groups. We met when Lucy found the ShimmyShim youtube channel and reached out to me about one of the fix it videos. I'm really excited to present this interview with Lucy - read on to delve into the mind of a doll collector! Look out for the really ingenious digital clock that Lucy created in one of the showcase photos.
Tell us about the photos in this showcase.
I wanted to create a room without the usual Sindy furniture, based on the salons in Pre Revolution 18th Century France, with a modern twist where anything goes. I also wanted to tattoo a doll so found some nail stickers and thought they might work and they did! I am thinking of getting some willow and delft patterned stickers to apply to Sindy plates to customise them a bit.
Why do you collect dolls?
I have eight still from childhood and once I joined one of the Sindy groups, I was inspired to get them restored and re-rooted. I have a brunette sad faced ballerina somewhere in the house (still haven’t found her) and bought my first eBay Sindy of the very same doll. I then began searching and watching more and have been buying ever since. They give me so much pleasure restoring them and I think they are therapeutic. It has certainly kept me entertained and busy during the pandemic.
How do you feel about collecting dolls?
I feel like it might have taken over somewhat and I have become Sindy obsessed especially finding things - miniature things that work and would look good for setting a scene. I have also bought a Fleur, a Susi Estrella and a Bibi Bo and I have the full set of the newbies from Kid Kreations [the collector range of Sindy dolls released in 2020].
I have made so many acquaintances and friends through collecting and seeing what other people enjoy. Sindy has certainly been a tonic and has kept me happy during a very strange couple of years. I have also learnt so much from the other collectors and I had no idea there were so many other types of Sindys.
What is the theme of your collection?
I don’t really have a theme… I just like the vintage dolls, preferably the more poseable dolls like the ballerina and the gauntlet. I like to collect the clothes as well and have most of the furniture. As I like antiques and vintage stuff (since the age of fourteen) I like my Sindys to be vintage but I also like the modern clothes and think the Creatable Deluxe sets [Mattel Creatable World] are great.
Do your dolls have names?
All my dolls are called Sindy! I don’t name them, I may have done in childhood but I have nearly 80, so too many to name. But I think they all have their own little personalities and each one is so different to the next.
Do you make stories around them?
Yes I create scenes from famous movies or adverts or things I remember from my childhood.
What is a favourite project that you’re working on or keep coming back to?
I haven’t started yet but I am working on two things: a Priscilla Queen of the Desert scene and a Paul scene. I also want to create a riad Moroccan roof top scene.
Do you practice any crafts for your fashion doll collection?
My Mum knits for me but I mostly just restore faces and restring. I would like to do re-roots as well which is something I will try soon .
Are you into photography?
What kind of camera do you use and how do you get your pictures ready for upload?
I simply use my iPhone and a few apps and that’s it. I might consider doing something more professional when I have time.
How do you display your collection and can you share any tips?
I currently have my collection all over. I haven’t been collecting [dolls] long. My scenes tend to be set up and dismantled within a few hours - although I am making a cabinet into rooms at present. I have five Sindy houses but I find the simple small house with the cross section of four walls more suitable for scenes, as the rooms are bigger and the light is so much better.
How do you store your collection and again, any tips?
My spare room has most of the dolls and furniture and accessories stored away in various locations in the house so no, no tips and I could do with some to be honest .
How do you sort out doll repairs? Do you do them yourself or get help?
I am trying to do them myself and getting more brave. I wish there were more spares about - especially the bespoke rubber fittings for arms and legs. However I am going to try and attempt to replicate again when I get chance (I am a full time working mother so it’s hard to fit it all in).
Do you remember your childhood dolls and do you still have any of them?
Yes, I have all my childhood dolls and I have restored most of them that needed it. I have a brunette sad faced ballerina which was my fave and she was placed somewhere safe and I can’t find her at the moment. She has broken arms. I have a new set to replace them, so I am going to start hunting for her again soon. However I have bought some more along the way.
What do friends and family think of your collection and collecting interest? Can they relate?
No, they think I am bonkers! Well, I think some can relate especially those who had Sindy as a child as she was so special. I know some friends are thinking of buying the houses and furniture for their children as its so much nicer than some of the modern things.
Can you recommend any museums or collections of interest that readers might like to visit?
I can recommend The Little Sindy Museum in Sweden. I follow a few people on Instagram and Facebook, there are some talented people out there. Sindy snap is great and there are some useful videos on YouTube you can follow for repairs and tips. Anything else doll related that you’d like to share? Just think its great to restore these lost dolls and give them a new lease of life plus stops plastic going to landfill. I think many people have become a little nostalgic in my age group and since living through this pandemic
Interesting reading. I too are a fan of photographing mini scenes. Since discovering my Sindys in a charity shop recently, has took my creative side to another level… Excellent scenes