I am a latecomer to the world of Ellowyne Wilde. I noticed her in the doll magazines but decided not to collect her for several reasons. First, the timing was bad. I had too much going on in my life when Ellowyne debuted. Second, I was reluctant to collect a line so different from Tyler Wentworth. I had collected Tyler from 1999 on and I was hesitant to get into a doll that didn’t fit into her wardrobe or her world. And finally, I wasn’t particularly fond of Ellowyne’s official storyline. Ennui? What was that? It was a question on the Miller Analogies Test but otherwise, I knew little about it. Was it boredom, depression, or an emotional fad?
But then I had an epiphany. In the spirit of “Believe in the Power of Play” I realized that if didn’t like Ellowyne’s official storyline, I could simply make up one of my own. I could imbue her with the traits I wanted regardless of how others, even her creator, viewed her. I decided that my first Ellowyne would have some traits in common with me: I decided she would have juvenile fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, two conditions with which I have. I settled on a Feeling Drained Three because I liked her appearance, I’ve had many days when I’ve felt completely drained, and she was on sale. Keep in mind I had my never seen an Ellowyne in person and I wasn’t completely sure if I would like her. My trepidations fell away when I opened the tissue paper to see my first Ellowyne. I felt a rush, an excitement akin to being a little girl opening presents on Christmas morning. Ellowyne was so different from any other doll that I owned. She had the large head aesthetic, like Madame Alexander’s Cissy but she still had a certain essence that identified her as a Tonner doll.
At that point I took to the Internet to search for wigs and clothes for my new doll. At the beginning, I thought I could be happy with just one doll and a bunch of wigs and clothes. I was kidding myself. I found an online forum, Ellowyne’s Ennui
There, I saw beautiful pictures of all the dolls in the Ellowyne line. I also noticed the different ways in which these collectors played. Some created dioramas featuring their favorite dolls. Some sewed handmade outfits and others repainted their dolls. Still others created elaborate photo stories. I was hooked and I wanted to play, too! I started to post and I put up a photo of my only Ellowyne. I was naïve enough to believe that I would only stick with one doll and my newfound friends on Ellowyne’s Ennui laughed as they watched me add Prudence, Amber, Lizette, and even Rufus to my collection.
I have learned never to say never in the context of collecting Ellowyne. I had decided to only buy one of each character. That didn’t last long because Lizette came in honey and spice skin tones so I had to have one of each. My Amber was rooted while my other dolls were wigged so I had to find another Amber. And Rufus—I really love Rufus. I didn’t want to get him because he looked rather goofy and I thought the whole handy man part of his story was a bit, well, weird. But I saw pictures of customized Rufuses (Rufi?) and bought one that I sent off to get glass eyes installed. I like quirky looking dolls and Rufus, customized or left as is. Then I decided to collect only dolls with inset eyes but I got a painted eye Lizette and then a painted eye Prudence and I had to backtrack and admit the painted eye dolls had a unique charm. I have not said “never” to a resin Ellowyne because I am well aware of what could happen!
Ellowyne and her friends inspire my creativity and invite me to play in ways like no other dolls have. For a few years, I wrote a column in one of the Miller’$ publications entitled Can You Play? in which I advocated releasing play line Barbie dolls from their plastic and cardboard prisons for the purpose of doll play. I took Genes and Tylers out of their boxes but for the most part, I left them in their original outfits, rarely changing them unless I had a nude duplicate doll. In retrospect, I thought I was playing but I wasn’t. And that’s why I love Ellowyne so much. I can change her look with the change of a wig or an outfit. I have purchased a number of handmade clothes, something I didn’t do with other dolls, and I enjoy the skill and creativity put into these outfits. I’ve started to make jewelry again and, of course, I continue to weave stories about the characters I love.