In this doll community, there are some people that are an essential part.
One such person is the multi-talented Susan Dizon Gibbs.
Susan is also known for her brand Dizon Designs.
With no limit to her talents and an endlessly growing fan base, we wanted to take a little time to find out more about this true designer and artist.
Q1. This year you are celebrating 10 years of creating amazing pieces of art. Can you remember what got you into the dolly world?
“I’ve always loved dolls since I was little girl.
And in my young mind I thought doll makers should make them more realistic.
In the summer of 2009, I came across a furniture shop with real-looking dolls as models.
The shop owner told me she got them from eBay.
So the search began.
I bought one and in a couple of months added another one. And another one.
They were addicting!
And very expensive.
Reborn artist Krista Cook gave me a Bountiful Baby Robin kit and encouraged me to try my hand at painting it.
With the help of some amazing reborn artists Jennifer Lincavicks (then Jennifer Watier), Debbie Henshaw and Mary Skay, I made my very first reborn December 25, 2010.
I name it Christian.
I gifted it to my eldest sister who had never owned a baby doll as a young girl.
Being the oldest of 8 girls, she had to share toys with younger siblings.
The following year, I made a portrait baby of me for my mother.
It was her very first doll in 84 years.
She never even played with a doll as a young girl.
Next, my wife Erin wanted one too.
Then another portrait baby for my cousin.
So basically I was making them for family and myself in the beginning.
Then custom orders started coming in.
After a couple of years I was given a break to do a prototype.
The rest is history. 😀 ”
Q2. Do you remember the first bassinet bag you ever made?
“Oh yes! And I’m still using it.
It plain black and white huge bag.
It has traveled many places.
I started making them in the beginning of 2010 when I was showing my dolls to my students at school.
I didn’t want to put my dolls in a backpack or grocery bag.
And I didn’t want to carry them in the open either.
So I made a bag that folds down into a bassinet and I called it bassinet-bag.
At first I was only making them for my collector friends.
Then the word got out and I started getting orders.
Eventually I had to make them to sell due to high demand.
To this day, they are my fastest selling items.”
Q3. When did you start painting your gorgeous silicone babies?
“I switched to painting silicone dolls in 2014 with the encouragement and help from Dana Henderson Milligan, Claire Taylor and Kristie Sohn-Cartwithen.
Eventually I developed my own techniques and now teaching silicone painting online and at doll shows.
Q4. Do you prefer working with silicone babies or vinyl?
I prefer painting silicone now.
I do miss painting vinyl but it seems I have forgotten how.
They are totally different systems of painting.
Q5. Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from the babies I never had.
I paint with a vision in my head of how my own babies would’ve looked like if I had them.
Each doll I make has a piece of my heart.
My dolls are not just art, they are my dream.
My tangible dream.
Q6. If you could improve and make easier one area of the bringing baby to life process what would that be?
It’s always nerve-wracking.
I wish there was an easier way to matte a silicone doll without filtering the colours.
Q7. Everyone that meets you and Erin can not help but see just how perfect and supporting you are to each other, do you think that your love for Erin helps you with your craft?
“Awe. This is lovely! Thank you.
And yes! I am always full throttle with my creativity because Erin supports me 100%.
She is my QC person, my candid critique, and most especially my no.1 fan.
Q8. Have you got one sculpt that touches your heart more than any other?
Luna by Jennie Lee.
She’s like my security blanket.
Her face is so peaceful, you’d just want to hold her close to your heart.
Q9. Do you have a baby that will be your forever baby and you would never sell?
“My Traveling Twins, Fon and Bunsoy.
They are 10 years old.
Both reborned by Elizabeth Whitford in biracial skin tone.”
Q10. It is obvious that you are a highly sought after artist, how does it feel to know that you are a dream artist to many, i know you are a dream artist to me and my own collection will not be complete until I can welcome home one of your darlings.
“Wow, thank you! Honestly, I’m always shocked when I hear this.
Each time is like hearing it for the first time.
I don’t even think I am.
I’m just like any other doll artists.”
Q11. Do you find your art a form of therapy?
And my form of meditation too.
It’s funny in one of my online classes someone thought her speakers were not working because I got quiet for a few minutes. ”
Q12. If you could ever only do one, paint or sew which would you choose?
“Sew. I can do many different things with my sewing machine. ”
Q13. With your bags selling within minutes at shows, do you think you will ever be able to keep up with the popularity that your bags have gotten?
I’m sticking to “I sell what I sew”.
If I would take custom orders, there’s no way I could keep up with the demand.
I know a few people have started making them as well.
But many still want the original Dizon Designs.
Actually, I have a small client base because I only sell them on my Facebook and ar doll shows.
I don’t sell them on etsy.
I prefer to know where my bags go.
Each bag has a piece of me and my mother’s heart.
I even name each bag that I make.
Q14. You now have 10 successful years behind you, what can you look forward to in the next 10?
“I hope to make my business grow.
Doing online classes and selling my artist’s formula silicone paint sets.
I also want to hone my sculpting and casting skills so I can make dolls from start to finish. ”
Q15. If there was any tip you could give to people picking up a paintbrush for the first time what would it be?
“Don’t be scared!
Just go for it.
And like what Claire Taylor advised me, paint a doll for yourself.
Not for other people.
Another thing I want to say is wherever this venture takes you, whatever you achieve in life, always keep your feet on the ground.
Be humble and be kind.”