2018 Conference and Dollmaking School

June 25th to­ June 27th and June 28th to July 1st,
Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, California

The NIADA Conference and Dollmaking School is a wonderful opportunity for artists, collectors and everyone interested in the expanding world of doll art to experience the cutting edge of this dynamic art form. The Conference will offer attendees four days of opportunities to meet new people, to inspire and to be inspired.

NIADA 2018

Thursday, June 28th to­ Sunday, July 1st
Conference location: Asilomar, 800 Asilomar Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, USA

Register now!

NIADA 2018
Dollmaking School

Monday, June 25th to­ Wednesday, June 27th
Conference location:  Asilomar Conference grounds, 800 Asilomar Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, USA

Classes are taught this year by NIADA Artists
Stephanie Blythe, Donna May Robinson, Lesley Keeble, Shelley Thornton, Robert Tonner, Tanya Marriott, Connie Smith and Tatiana Baeva
(Students do not need to attend the conference in order to attend the Doll-making School)

Register for the Dollmaking School here

Conference Registration

NIADA Artist or Patron Registration

With Souvenir Doll – $250.00

Without Souvenir Doll – $175.00

Non-Member Registration

With Souvenir Doll – $275.00

Without Souvenir Doll – $200.00

Student Registration

(Current High School or College student with ID)

Does not include the Souvenir Doll or Banquet – these can be purchased seperately.

Critique Registration

$25 each critique

Conference and Critique Registration Form

When you have paid via paypal you will be automatically sent back to this website to fill out the Conference, Critique and Dollmaking School Registration form.

You must register for the conference in order to undertake a Critique.

If you wish to pay by check, please contact the Conference Registrar Lillian Hopkins.

By registering online you agree to our terms and conditions.

For information regarding the student rate visit  Frequently Asked Questions.

Cancellation Policy
Frequently Asked Questions

What does my Conference fee cover?

Your Conference registration gives you access to:
Gallery Night at the Grovian Doll Museum / Special Banquet / Exciting Programs and Special Exhibits / Keynote Speaker /Visiting Artists Critiques / Artists Demos/  Early entry to NIADA Artist Show and Sale / Souvenir Program

Optional: Limited Edition Souvenir Dolls created by NIADA Artists / Special Artist Patron Luncheon.

Registrations must be received on or before May 24, 2018

Conference and Dollmaking School Contact Information

Conference Co-Chairs: Stephanie Blythe & Tanya Marriott
Registrar: Lillian Hopkins
Critique Registrar: To be Determined
First-Timers Assistance: Mary Ellen Frank
Dollmaking School Class Registrar:  Stephanie Blythe
Paypal Liaison: Stephanie Blythe

NIADA Programs

Dolls in the Classroom by Geri Olson
When contemporary become antique by Michael Canadas
Mastering the art of marketing online: How to crowdfund and sell Your art on the internet by Caytlin Vilbrandt
Planning a conference by Cindee Moyer
Russian Doll Artists by Tatiana Baeva
California NIADA Artists by Lillian Hopkins
The evolution of historical figures by George Stuart


Making well dressed base bottoms up with Lesley Keeble
Finding and making suitable fabrics for Dolls with Stephanie Blythe
Making woodland chairs with Larry Blount
Annie Wahl’s simple eyeglasses for dolls with Mary Ellen Frank
Making scale leather bags for dolls with Tanya Marriott

Conference Schedule


7.30- 9am : Breakfast (All)
9 – 12 : Artist Meeting ( NIADA Artists)
12- 1pm : Registration ( All)
9 – 12 : On your own Visit the Monterey Aquarium (Visiting Artists/Patrons)
12 – 1pm : Lunch (All)
1.15 – 3.30pm : Patron Meeting ( Patrons)
1 – 4pm : Doll-making activity: Group challenge to make a doll which we will auction off at the end of the conference (All)
4 – 6pm : Gallery event setup ( All)
6 – 7pm : Dinner ( All)
7 – 10pm : Gallery night Function at the Carmel Doll Shop/Grovian Doll Museum (All)


7.30am – 9am : Breakfast (All)
9am – late : Gallery Doll, Critique Doll and Challenge Doll Exhibition (All)
9am- 5pm : Photographer (All)
9am – 5pm : Jennifer Osner Antique Textiles Room open (All)
9am – 5pm : Raffle room open (All)
9am – 10am : Program 1: Dolls in the Classroom : Geri Olson (All)
10am – 11am : Program 2: When contemporary become antique: Michael Canadas (All)
11am – 12 : Program 3: Mastering the Art of Marketing Online:How to Crowdfund and Sell Your Art on the Internet:  Caytlin Vilbrandt (All)
12pm – 1pm : Lunch (All)
12pm – 1.30pm : Patron/Lunch ( NIADA Artists/Patrons)
1pm – 1.30pm :10 x 12 New work by our Visiting Artists (All)
1.30pm – 2pm : Program 4:  2019 Conference : Cindee Moyer (All)
2pm – 4pm : Demos (All)
4pm – 5.45pm : Flea Market (All)
4pm – 6pm : Team doll-making activity (All)
6pm – 7pm : Dinner (All)
7pm – 9pm : Keynote speaker (All)


7.30am – 9am : Breakfast (All)
9am- 5pm : Photographer (All)
9am – 5pm : Jennifer Osner Antique textiles room open (All)
9am – 4pm : Raffle room open (All)
10am – 4pm : Exhibtion and Sale ( Open to Patrons)
10.30am – 4pm : Exhibtion and Sale ( Open to Visiting Artists)
11am – 4pm : Exhibtion and Sale ( Open to Visiting Artists)
10am – 4pm : Doll-making activity: Group challenge to make a doll which we will auction off at the end of the conference (All)
12 – 1pm : Lunch (All)
4pm – 5.30pm : Exhibition packdown (All)
6pm – late : Banquet (All)
8pm : NIADA Doll Auction + Team Doll Challenge Auction (All)


7.30am – 9am : Breakfast (All)
9am – 4pm : Jennifer Osner Antique textiles room open (All)
9am- 10am : Program 5:  Russian Artists: Tatiana Baeva (All)
10am – 10.45am : Program 6:  California NIADA Artists : Lillian Hopkins (All)
10.45am – 12pm : Program 7: The Evolution of Historical figures: George Stuart (All)
12pm – 1pm : Lunch (All)
1pm – 2.30pm : NIADA Web working group meeting (All interested
1pm -4pm : Doll-making activity: Bring a doll and work hands-on with NIADA artists to improve your technique. (All)
1pm – 6pm : On your own Visit the Monterey Aquarium (Visiting Artists/Patrons)
4pm – 6pm : Board Meeting ( NIADA Board)
6pm – 7pm : Dinner and conference close (All)


Conference attendees can sign up for a variety of activities, including Critiques and the 10 x 12 program

Visiting Artist Critique

All Visiting Artists are welcome to register for a Visiting Artist Critique. This is a great opportunity to discuss your dollmaking goals, troubleshoot technical issues and develop your work under the guidance of  NIADA Artists. Each Critique will be conducted by two NIADA Artists. The fee for each Critique is $25. You may bring a selection of dolls to be critiqued. You are welcome to suggest a NIADA Artist you would like to critique your work, and we will do our best to meet your request. If we cannot, we will assign you a NIADA Artist most relevant to your dollmaking aspirations.

If you are in the process of applying for NIADA Artist membership you must participate in Visiting Artist Critique as a component of your application process. This Critique is an opportunity to discuss what is required to become an Artist Member.

Register for a Visiting Artist Critique at the top of this page.

Critique Exhibition

All Visiting Artists registered for a Critique are invited to exhibit their dolls at the Critique Exhibition for Conference attendees to view. If you have any questions please contact the Critique Registrar .

Flea Market

The“Flea Market” is open to all conference attendees to purchase all sorts of items often at Bargain prices. You will find fabrics, trims, buttons, and unusual, hand-crafted items that will delight and get those creative juices flowing! Conference attendees can also register to sell items at the flea market, but please note the only Dolls to be on sale at the conference are by NIADA Artists.

Contact the conference chairs to register your interest.


NIADA offers two scholarships to visiting Artists to help them to attend the NIADA conference. The Helen Bullard Scholarship recipient is awarded a free Conference registration. The Susanna Oroyan Memorial Scholarship helps to cover extra expenses and/ or pay for a Dollmaking Class of the recipients choice.

Apply for a NIADA Scholarship.


NIADA Helpers are donated  dolls and doll-related items created by NIADA artists or donated by NIADA patrons, which will be raffled to the registrants. There will be time to peruse the items and purchase tickets during the course of each day.. Occasionally new items arrive after the helper room has started displaying so be sure to check back often. The helper winners will be drawn at the Saturday night banquet.

10 x 12 Program

Twelve Visiting Artists will have an opportunity to introduce their dolls to all NIADA Conference attendees in a special program in which each participant will show ten projected images of their work.

Each photo will be allotted twenty seconds for artists to add their description or commentary. If you are a Visiting Artist registering for the NIADA Conference, this is your chance to introduce your work to NIADA Artists and Patrons.

To register your interest, contact Shelley Thornton.

Challenge Doll : Pacific Blue


This year NIADA returns to the west coast and the beautiful Pacific ocean, the largest and deepest body of water in the world. This magical realm and the stories that it holds forms the inspiration for this year’s Challenge Doll theme – PACIFIC BLUE. The Pacific Ocean is a rich ecosystem full of abundant and unique wildlife, sunken treasures, adventure and exploration, and the trappings of human life. Representing 50% of the earth’s water, the Pacific is home to many unique and wonderful species who either call the Pacific home or use it as a highway on their journeys from the Arctic to to the Antarctic.

The Pacific Ocean is home to the ring of fire with a base layer of ever-moving tectonic plates, subterranean volcanoes and plateaus, canyons and underwater fields. Its waters guard deep troughs, submerged volcanic mountains, and oceanic volcanic islands that characterize the Pacific basin. Here basaltic lavas gently flow out of rifts to build huge dome-shaped volcanic mountains whose eroded summits form island arcs, chains, and clusters. It’s depths are full of sunken ships, lost civilisations, mysterious objects and the remnants of human conflict from numerous wars fought through the centuries. The Pacific Ocean has served as the crash site of satellites and the resting place of yet unfound treasure. The Pacific is an ocean of islands and home to many sea-faring communities, among them, the Pacifika or Waka, express traditions which name a mythical homeland called Hawaiki. These communities are watched over by divine guardians or protectors that retain a balance within the ocean environment.

Humans however do not always give the ocean the respect it is due, unfortunately, and the ocean’s subtle balance has been upset by things like overfishing and the exponential growth of marine litter,  (inorganic, human-created waste; mostly plastic) which ends up polluting not only our beaches, but also the stomachs of marine animals, including those in our own food chain. Climate Change also impacts the Pacific, with the ocean absorbing 80-90 percent of this extra heat, impacting sea-levels, storm systems, sea ice and coral reefs. This in turn causes marine migration toward the cooler poles. The Pacific Ocean is a dramatic and unique environment whose diverse inhabitants provide wonderful inspiration for stories our dolls might tell.

A challenge doll is an artistic exploration of how each individual interprets and represents the theme. This theme may be well defined or merely a phrase. Each participant renders their work, in this case, honoring the doll making tradition, and submits it for exhibition at the Conference. Submitted dolls should be all original designs and completely fabricated by the artist using any material.

Dolls must be no larger than 24″ in diameter and must not exceed 30″ in height.
The “Pacific Blue” Challenge dolls will be on display during the conference at a location yet to be determined.

 NIADA Souvenir Doll Artists 2018

The 2018 Conference Souvenir Doll will again be made by a variety of NIADA Artists. The souvenir dolls designs will remain secret until the conference, and will be distributed at the banquet to conference attendees who requested one at registration. The contributing NIADA Artists for 2018 will be announced shortly. Below are examples of the 2017 Souvenir Dolls.


Our Conference photographer will be available Friday and Saturday from 9am to 5pm. NIADA has commissioned one photo for each NIADA artist. Conference attendees may also schedule a time to have dolls photographed. The fee is $45 per doll, paid directly to the photographer. Sign-up at the Registration Desk.

Guest Vendor:
Jennifer Osner

Jennifer Osner will be selling antique & vintage textiles at the conference. Jennifer has  been a textile merchant since 1978. She travels nationwide acquiring and selling, antique ribbon collections, lace, and other textiles.  Her customers include milliners, doll costumers, designers, movie studios, and all types of artists and crafters.

Sign up to the conference Chatline here, and receive updates regarding the conference and dollmaking school.

Sign up here

Events open to the public

NIADA Artists Gallery Night

7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday, June 28th
The Grovian Doll Museum
213 Forest Ave
Pacific Grove
California, 93950

NIADA Artists Exhibition and Sale

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 30th
Fred Farr Forum
800 Asilomar Ave
Pacific Grove
California, 93950

Conference Venue and Accommodation

Asilomar Conference Grounds
800 Asilomar Ave,
Pacific Grove,
California, 93950, USA

Join us at Asilomar, located on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula, just 120 miles south of San Francisco. This spectacular state park, with its historic buildings designed by Julia Morgan, 107 acres of woodlands, sand dunes and ocean beach is an ideal setting for our 2018 Conference and Doll-making School. Since the entire city of Pacific Grove, including Asilomar, is only 2.7 square miles, you’re always just a few steps from the ocean. Pacific Grove is an easy 5-minute drive to Monterey, and not far from San Francisco and San Jose.

Accommodations include single, double-, triple- or quad-shared rooms. Attendees are strongly encouraged to stay at the Asilomar conference hotel. You will have a unique experience at a discounted rate that includes all of your meals (with vegetarian options) and all taxes for all of your days at the conference. There is free Wi-Fi access in every room and free parking. Meals begin with dinner on arrival night and end with lunch on departure day.

The room rates per night including all meals and taxes are as follows:
Quad Room – $146.33 Each
Triple Room – $159.85 Each
Double room – $186 Each
Single room – $279.06

To book using the NIADA room rate, click here – https://aws.passkey.com/event/49551171/owner/10793795/home

If you have any questions or problems regarding hotel reservations, please contact the Conference Co-Chair – Stephanie Blythe or registrar Lillian Hopkins

Getting to Asilomar

If you drive to Asilomar from San Francisco or San Jose, make your way to California Highway 1 and go south. After you pass the Monterey exits, take the second Pacific Grove exit (Route 68 West). Travel west on Route 68 for approximately 10 minutes (watch for where Route 68 West turns left). Near the bottom of the hill, turn right on Asilomar Blvd. The main entrance to Asilomar is at the intersection of Asilomar Blvd and Sinex.

By Air
Asilomar is approximately 120 miles from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and 65 miles from San Jose International Airport (SJC). To travel from these airports to Asilomar you rent a car or take the Monterey Airbus shuttle.  From SFO to Asilomar the fee is $65 one-way and from SJC the fee is $55 one-way.  Save $5 per trip if you book online at www.montereyairbus.com.

You may also fly into the Monterey Airport.  Taxis are available at the Monterey Airport and fare is approximately $30 to Asilomar.