Charming to them, eerie to some, impressive to all, doll-making is couple’s craft

Carmack is careful to pay attention to all details of the dolls, even down to the nail polish (KTVO)

On Thursday, KTVO featured The Arts Incubator in Green City.

But without artists, the building would be empty.

In a home in the country outside of Milan, Missouri, Marilyn Carmack is breaking the mold by crafting porcelain dolls by hand.

It’s a hobby she loves, and has been busy with the hobby for around 20 years, with the help of her husband.

“You start with the liquid porcelain; it comes in gallon jugs. You have special tools you have to use, and you have one to hollow out the eyes so the eyeballs can go in,” Carmack said, explaining a tiny portion of the extensive process to make porcelain dolls. “I loved it so much that my husband bought me some molds and I had what I called a little doll house. It was outside, it was a little building and we put the kiln in there, and he built shelves for green ware, and I even taught classes in there.”

But she understands those porcelain stares can be a little unsettling for some.

“If people like the dolls they seem to love them, but there all people that don’t care for dolls, they think they’re kind of creepy,” said Carmack.

For Carmack and her husband though, the dolls are a treasure, especially for Marilyn’s favorite doll: Princess Diana.

“The hardest part of making her was making her dress,” Carmack recalled. “It’s very detailed, it’s a dress that she wore and had one of her royal pictures taken in that dress. And she has all the jewelry.”

Carmack says the parts and pieces of the dolls from the eyelashes, to the porcelain, to the footwear, are each specially chosen and ordered. But for the clothing, almost all of the dolls have costumes sewed by Carmack.

She specialized in making custom dolls for local girls too.

“I made this cheerleader doll for my daughter because she was a cheerleader, so girls started wanting them too. They’d have their mom or somebody give me a picture of them, and I made it look like that girl, and I made the outfits like their outfits. I made them for Green City people, I made them for Milan people, I sent some to Florida, and I just cut the patterns for those because it was pretty tiny and I didn’t have patterns for it.”

Look at it the way you want to, as creepy, or charming, but for Carmack, it is her craft.

“When I was making them, I loved doing it so much, I would come home from school and I would, if I was working on the clothes I just sewed and sewed, and I just really loved doing it,” said Carmack.

Marilyn doesn’t make dolls anymore, but she does do repairs on porcelain dolls.

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