The most important attribute I strive for in my work is character believability, which is achieved through physicality, expression, attention to scale and proportion, texture and tone. I believe that there is a “golden section,” or a hierarchy of rules, that determines good doll design. The expression in the eyes, the size of the head in comparison to the limbs—each decision plays a valuable role in the development of the whole. This meaningful being is a timeless creation who has its own world, purpose and ambition. For me to achieve success in my work, a piece needs to speak to me, and continue to do so long after my pleasure in its creation has waned. I am sure most artists encounter this challenge in their work. This driving force keeps me creating new work.
I am a senior lecturer (associate professor) in Design at the College of Creative Arts, Massey University in New Zealand, and the president of NIADA. My research explores how character design can inform meaningful experiences and storytelling opportunities between digital and tangible activities. I have a Bachelor’s degree in industrial design, and a Master of Design in interactive design. I have worked for Weta Workshop on the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Aardman Animation, The World of Wearable Art, and within the United Kingdom toy industry as a product designer. For more than 20 years I have been making dolls inspired by the world around me, predominantly my obsession with birds and war.