Dolls and Doll-related Items for Sale

Sunday, June 5, 2016

2016 Tonner Convention Day Three Workshop, Formal Dinner Event, and PJ Party

There were seminars and workshops in the afternoons for both Friday and Saturday. The seminars were free, although reservations needed to be made as seating was limited. Friday's seminar was on the Wilde Imagination Company. Saturday's was a talk by Andrew Yang, about his great-grandmother, Mary Astor. Apparently there are going to be some dolls of her produced, and from what I've heard, they'll be wearing some sharp outfits from the 1930s. I didn't attend either seminar.

I chose to take a workshop on Friday which involved making a Tyler sized bag. The story behind the bag is that Marley Wentworth is now a fashion blogger, and she designed a laptop/tablet bag for some sort of competition. My workshop cost $15, which I though was very fair, especially since we got a pattern that we can use to make further bags. Here is a picture of our workshop materials.
Underneath the bag pattern pieces, there was a bag filled with four different kinds of non-fraying fabrics. We could use them however we liked, using one color for everything or two offsetting colors. The large gray rectangle in the bag is supposed to be a tablet. It wasn't until we were into the project that we were told that our instructor, Jay Barrett, had designed his own mold and cast our "tablets" out of resin. The colored pictures are supposed to be computer screens, which will fit inside the tablet. There were also metal pieces to use to attach the straps to the bag, some pins to stick into the bottom of the bag to give the bag feet, and some bits and pieces to decorate the bag if you wished. I'm sorry, but I'm too tired too remember the correct names for some of these pieces, or look them up! I enjoyed the workshop, even though my bag turned out far from perfect! But it was a good starting point for me to try to make a better bag, which is a doll craft that I've never tried. By the way, Jay came all the way from Australia for the convention, which I though was neat.

Apparently, there were serious problems with the shoe making workshop on the previous day. The glue wasn't holding together at all; I believe participants are getting mailed supplies to make another set of shoes. Jay mentioned on Saturday that the glue had been affected by the air pressure changes in the plane when the person who ran the workshop traveled there (I got the impression that wasn't his workshop, but I'm not sure.) I suppose it would be a lot of hassle to run around and buy workshop supplies once you get to an event like this, but it certainly caused problems on Friday. Word got all around the convention about how badly the workshop had gone.

There were two other workshops, a ribbon dress workshop, and a Betsy McCall workshop. I didn't hear anything about those, or see any of the results.

Saturday night was the Big Event, the formal dinner event. Some people were decked out to the nines, some were in between, some were mostly casual. I noticed that while a lot of people like dressing for every event, there were lots of people who didn't, and neither did I. The centerpiece was a Tyler doll preparing one of her designs on a model. Each model was completely different, different mold, different hairstyle, different costume. I actually won the first chance to buy the centerpiece, but I passed, as $400 was too much for me to spend. :( Multiple numbers were drawn for the centerpiece, because there were tables which hadn't had anyone pick the first number that was drawn. So, our table hostess was the second number picked, and she bought it.

In the middle of the room was a catwalk. After dinner, there was a fashion show, featuring about twenty of Tonner's doll fashions created in human size. I only recognized a few of the outfits, and couldn't get good pictures. Some of them are on the Tonner Doll Company's Facebook page. We were also told pictures of each centerpiece would be online, but not where. I don't know. I heard before the convention that there was a Tonner convention Yahoo group, but could never find it.

Robert left the stage and the room with one of the models, who is apparently a good friend of his from his Bill Blass designer days. One of the Tonner people, who'd done most of the announcements for the meal events, told us that it was now time to clear the room so it could be set up for the evening's pajama party. At that point, many of us wondered if there was going to be an event doll, as we all expected. One woman in another part of the room eventually yelled out "Where's our doll?" It honestly seemed like they accidentally passed over that part, although it could have been for show, to get us excited about the doll. Someone ran to get Robert back, and he came back up to the stage, while the table hosts/hostesses got out the dolls, which had been under the tables. We had to wait to open the box until everybody got their dolls out of the shipper, which was a time consuming process. In the dim light, the doll looked gorgeous, although not my style. It wasn't until I took some pictures of her that I noticed an issue.
Someone had rather sloppily put on her eyeshadow on her left eye; not only was it crooked, but it ran up into her eyebrow.
Fortunately, they had some extra dolls, and I was able to swap her out at the doll show today. However, it left me a little disappointed in what had happened. For one thing, when I showed the doll to a woman behind the table, who was Tonner's executive assistant, she said, "That's eyeshadow." I said, "It runs over her eyebrow." The light was not great in the room, although better than last night, but it made me a bit uncomfortable that I had to explain why the doll was defective. This was a limited edition doll, the climactic doll of a 25th anniversary celebration convention. She has a face mold that was made especially for this convention. I feel a flaw like this should have been checked before the dolls were handed out. Also, one of my tablemates got a doll where the inside box, not the shipper, was already pretty banged up. She got a fresh doll that night, but again, it just felt disappointing.

I would also like to point out, that although I said in a previous comment that the two dolls were "free," they were of course included in the price of our convention package.

The pajama party started pretty quickly after the dinner was cleared out. I missed quite a bit, because I wasn't staying in the hotel the convention was held in, and I had to go back and change into pajamas. Also, I forgot to bring back the little piece of paper that got people into the pajama party (there was nobody at the doors by the time I got back.) Because of those things, I missed out on getting this doll case in a silver stripe pattern. Yeah, I could have tried to get one afterwards, and yeah, it retailed for a lot of money, but I don't have room for it and don't know how often I'd use it, and I was super tired by that time. At previous conventions, the PJ party has apparently been pretty fun, involving dancing. Last night, there were snacks, but the only things that happened were the drawings for the raffles. I totally missed the raffle room, so I wasn't involved in that at all. Several people won more than one item, so according to my table hostess, they must have put in a lot of money for raffle tickets. The last drawing was for a OOAK resin Ellowyne in a hand beaded and hand sewn dress. Robert did some of the work, but I think I heard he had help? This drawing was a reverse raffle. Twenty five people were called up onto the catwalk which was still there from dinner. As each number was called, that person had to leave; the last person standing won. On the giant screen during the party was a slide show of the contest winners. Robert didn't seem like he was feeling it last night. He was probably as tired of the rest of us; he might also have a really dry personality, which how he came off in general, from what *I personally* saw of him at the public events.

Some people had great nightwear for the party. One man was wearing a striped nightshirt and cap. My Hello Kitty loving tablemate was dressed in pajamas that made her look like a giant Hello Kitty.

And that's it for the convention! Wow, was I exhausted by last night, and so were a lot of others. Overall, I'm glad I went. I think I'd always regret missing this opportunity of going when it happened so close to where I live. It was also good for introverted me to get out, and meet some doll people. But there were some letdowns, although that's probably normal. This was the first convention of any sort that I've ever been to! I'll put up at least one more post about the other things I either bought or was given, and my experience at the doll show today, which included meeting Tam of Planet of the Dolls!


  1. It's a shame that they didn't have better quality control (although I'm glad you were able to swap yours), but it's brilliant that the doll has a unique head sculpt - she has a lovely face!

    Thanks for sharing your workshop thoughts as well - that's another element that I'd been wondering about! :)

    1. I think workshops are definitely worth giving a try if you're going to a convention, if you're interested in the finished product. I'm glad you find my description of use. :)

    2. All of these convention posts have been great - and I'll bet that you're going to get regular hits on these posts when they announce next year's convention and potential first time convention goers start looking for what to expect!

    3. Thank you so much for reading through these, jSarie! And I hope you're right about people coming here for information.