The Black Apple’s Paper Doll Primer

I can thank Emily Winfield Martin for prompting me to take my paper doll collection out of hiding. When I first acquired some of her quirky paper dolls, I knew they were too lovely to hide away and so I had them framed (and Martin herself acknowledges the ‘paper doll conflict’ – to cut or not to cut?!).

In the past, Martin released occasional collections of paper dolls via her Etsy store, The Black Apple. To my delight, there is now a plethora of paper dolls available in Martin’s stunning new book, The Black Apple’s Paper Doll Primer.

Her style is unique – curious characters, a somewhat black sense of humour and a clever mix of modern and old-world detail give Martin’s paper dolls a particular edge.

Each doll (with delightful names such as Cora, Sylvie, Violaine and Nate) is accompanied by important information (where they live, likes and dislikes, what they do) and a collection of clothing. Exquisite details are revealed – Stella likes dancing the jitterbug and sour candies, Henry dislikes poorly researched history books and Sylvie is descended from three generations of French beekeepers. The clothing is a lovely mix of forties style (think caplets, stoles, pillbox hats and frocks) and retro-cool (tattooed arms, headphones and print t-shirts).

The Black Apple’s Paper Doll Primer also includes a magnificent ‘scene library’ so that you can create backdrops for your dolls (there’s a deep, dark wood, a circus, a classroom, a kitchen and more) and all the bits you need to build a paper theatre.

The final section of the book is packed with customisable dolls, dozens of outfits and lots of ideas for paper projects from creating jointed paper dolls to your family ‘portrait’.

And so I come back to the question, to cut or not to cut? The six-year-old in me was itching to get the scissors out. Grown-up me said to put this beautiful book safely on the shelf. I covered my bases and bought two copies!

Find The Black Apple’s Paper Doll Primer at Book Depository for approximately $23. Book Depository deliver free to Australia.

Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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