I must admit, I'm pretty indifferent to the light tan, or 'sunkissed' resin color. Chocolate PukiPuki or Fairyland or Tan Yellows of Lati are adorable and cute but nothing I would specifically be out to get because of just skin color - now a great sculpt would be a different story, but you get the idea. This was the case until a new pal I met online introduced me to a whole new kind of resin shade: ebony. And the companies that deal with resin this dark are not many, but most notable of them is, I think, Iplehouse.
I think Iplehouse has all kinds of things going for them: they have very realistic sculpts in every 'age' group, they have a great variety of those. The realism of their dolls is what I think makes them stand out, so I question their choice to dub in big-headed pixies, but hey, might be a sound business decision. But another thing is the variety, and availability, of their dolls' skin tones. Now the two darkest shades of tan are not always available other than through a custom-doll order (more expensive), but they are harder to produce, so that's understandable.
Some of their sculpts already have ethnic features built into them, to the point that they don't even look right in, say, normal skin, and I love it. Erzulie is one of such sculpts. In my case it's a girl, but she could also come on a boy body and with right makeup looked very boyish. Most importantly, she was first released in Ebony and specifically sculpted for it. She was the one I decided to add to my collection.
I placed a WTB on DoA and very soon, a Canadian owner replied. We had set pretty quick on the price, but as she was packing the doll for shipping, it fell and damaged its face-up. Now I must say, Iplehouse face-ups are gorgeous, adding to the realism... But I wasn't ready to give up so easily. I found an artist brave enough to investigate and repair the defect, and had the seller ship the doll to her.
Now, the defect turned out to be only face-up deep, but the face-up itself could not be saved. I commissioned the artist for the new one, and it took her, I kid you not, three tries to get just the lips right! Ebony resin was showing off its temper ;) I'm happy with the end result, and frankly, the price I paid did not even begin to cover the effort, but deep down inside I miss Iplehouse original face-up...
Anyway. I finally got my Erzulie (I named her Amondi - 'born at the dawn' in Kenyan). She is slowly coming together: a special outfit I commissioned for her took forever to get here from Russia, and her special dreadlock wig has just arrived. I like the way she is working out, taking on her own personality, and I have quite a bit of clothes and shoes for her. But the most interesting plot twist is that for a little while, she had a sister.
While I was waiting for her, on a board I belong to an Iplehouse BID (Baby Iplehouse Doll - this is what Erzulie also is) came up for sale. The price was very affordable, she was in normal skin, but her face up was a work of beauty by an Italian artist. I bought her telling myself I could always re-home her for profit, and that is what I ended up doing, as her pale resin just didn't look right in the pictures for me. I sold her to finance a doll dream of mine and have no regrets, although I must admit having both girls 'play' together was so much fun, I see myself getting another BID in the future.
BIDs are slightly chunkier than LittleFees and make wonderful models for sewing, crochet and knitting - not so small that you can't really work into too much detail (unless you have magic powers, like my friend Rasa), but not so large that your time and material investment becomes considerable. I have found several patterns I want to try for my Amondi...
But for now, just a few pictures of her - not too many as I have just received her dreadlocks wig, meant to complete her look, - and a shot of her sister too, for nostalgia's sake:
(There is also her character's storyline behind the jump)
And this is how aforementioned pale BID, Naias, looked:
The SD man you see in one photo is my Ichiro. You can see him on my Flickr under Elfdoll set. He now lives in Germany as an ordinary man and makes money by teaching Japanese martial arts like aikido (people like it for fitness these days). Nobody knows that in the past, when he lived in Japan still, he was an assassin. Once he was hired by one Japanese mafia boss to kill another. And when he did, the clan of the man he killed decided on revenge. They tracked him down, after several years, but he was forewarned and escaped to Europe. He had no chance to warn his wife, but hoped his enemies would obey the code of honor and leave her in peace, as she knew nothing of her husband's activities. Instead, they brutally killed her.
So while Ichiro lives in hiding, his heart is broken by guilt as his wife died because of him and the evil ways he followed. And he feels horrible for all the people he killed working for mafia. And then one time, a ghost of his wife appears (I don't have a doll for this character and may just not play this out or use an owl as her 'messenger'). She tells him there is a way to Repay some of the debt. That she cannot come back, but if he does what she says, she can appear to him more often. She tells him of a child who is very sick and cannot get the treatment in their home country, because they live in very poor orphanage. So this is my Erzulie, Amondi.
Becoming a father was a huge step for Ichiro. Little girl of a very different origin had a hard time adjusting to her new life. But Ichiro, being a foreigner in Germany himself, can understand her in many way better than anyone. They become united by this feeling of transplanted life, by loss (she still remembers her real parents, though vaguely), and by the quest for healing. Amondi required bone marrow transplant and is on the wait list. She is not very uncomfortable in her daily life as mess control her condition, but she has to be very careful as her immune system is almost nonexistent. She is 4 years old and goes to a German Kindergarten than appointed a special person to help her learn the language and get along with kids and not het hurt, as it could be fatal in her case. Ichiro keeps on working and saving up for a long leave when Amondi's turn for transplant comes up.