This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending PNW BJD Expo with my pal Prizmdoll. I’m lucky to have a niche event like this so close to home, it’s not quite as big as Dolpa in LA but it’s still worth seeing! I was able to meet lots of BJD artists from USA and abroad, and picked up some cool goodies for my doll crew.
I got a cute Code Noir neko maid set (modeled by Cheryl) as well as a couple MDD-sized outfits, wigs, eyes, shoes and a few other odds and ends. And of course I collected cards from artists and sellers there.
I’m the sort who gets easily overwhelmed in noisy and crowded situations, so I didn’t get a ton of photos but I do have some tidbits to share. On the first day, Sheryl came as a cute maid in my cherry homemade dress. We attended a few doll artist panels and then the evening meet-and-greet event with drinks and (tasty!) tacos.
Local doll artisan Allison Wonder gave a panel with demonstrations on posing resin dolls. They also showed off their amazing tiny leather shoes! I’ve gotten some tiny leather goods from Allison at other doll events and they are fantastic, plus what a fun person to chat dolls with! One good tip from this panel- using wire to assist posing should be avoided, since it can damage the channels inside resin parts and can lead to forcing joints into unnatural poses. Also, tiny popsicle sticks or toothpicks can be used to stabilize loose knees.
The next panel was by NYC doll artisan Pidgin Dolls who showed some videos of their work and answered questions. These dolls were new to me but apparently have a huge US following, and I can see why! Really lovely styling and cute proportions, I was sorely tempted to pick up a tan girl but I’d rather get a blank doll to customize than to mess up an artist OOAK. I’m always happy to see this kind of talent show up in my home town for a doll show and now I definitely want to try some more creative makeup styles! I really liked their concept for the doll as a whole- every part of the aesthetic is tied to a theme, from the construction and proportions of the body to the style of the makeup and hair. It reminded me of how theme drives storytelling in comics and novels – storytelling via BJD is a pretty cool concept!
After a fun gathering with the other die-hard BJD fans (I bought the full package ticket) we dragged home to rest and get ready for early day on Friday.
Friday I came back with an MDD girl since hoisting Sheryl around had worn out my arms. We got tiny doll badges, squee!
We arrived bright and early to catch Depth Dolls panel before the showroom opened. They were very generous with their dolls and doll-making knowledge, and it was a super inspiring panel! I’ve always admired their bunny girl Giorria and I’ll probably pick one up during the next sale- I only passed on the last one ’cause I didn’t like gray skin color. But Aurelian’s tiny mermaids and human figures were so fantastic, I’m changing my mind on tiny dolls in weird sizes! Most impressive was how Aurelian had to learn ZBrush software in about a week to sculpt a new doll when theirs was lost in the mail (fortunately it turned up a few months later!) As a game artist I know how tricky ZBrush can be so I was very impressed :D
After the panel was furious shopping, as the VIP attendees got first dibs on the show floor. There were lots of artist BJD, hand-made accessories, and some goods from overseas sellers like Enchanted Eyes and Code Noir. We were pretty toasted after this, and so we missed a few panels in favor of bento lunch break.
After that we checked out panels on doll maintenance and porcelain doll making, and then attended the dessert social event. It was very cool to see folks who had been collecting Volks BJD from the earliest days- I wonder if I’ll still be in the same hobbies 20 years from now?
Saturday, Sheryl returned with her new Code Noir outfit- Prizmdoll got a matching one as well!
The early morning panels didn’t seem appealing so we aimed for the Volks Meet-and-Greet event. This was added late to the show schedule so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It ended up being like a mini version of the Dolpa LA tea party- including cute sandwiches. Volks USA manager Hideyoshi and Volks USA staffer Sara gave a presentation on the history of Volks, explained a bit about ‘Another Yourself’ and showed off the new Volks english information website. There was a drawing for a few cool outfits and goodies, and then a quick Q&A. I asked if they would bring Dream Choice, the Dollfie Dream equivalent to FCS, to the USA. The answer was it’s ‘very likely’ but because Dream Choice is ‘very new’ there may be some delay. They mentioned the Volks USA online FCS system as an example of the form US Dream Choice could follow. In regards to US FCS, they stated that customer and fan emails are very important in deciding which sculpts and options they offer! And they continue to convey the desire for SDGrG option to the head office in Japan. They also mentioned the desire to offer more D’Coord dolls to USA, and that Dollfie Icon (revealed in Dolpa LA) was still in development.
After the Volks event, Prizmdoll and I did a simple spread at the swap meet, and there was much wheeling and dealing. Following that, we had just enough time to catch the first hour of the closing evening dinner before we had to roll out. Sadly we missed the chance to get any raffle prizes, but it was still a fun convention! It looks like PNW BJD Expo will return to Seattle the same time next year for the theme of ‘Paris’ and I definitely plan to attend.