Emily Hart photo taken September 2011
Emily Hart was born Anne Lea Webster in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1945. She began calling herself Emily in 1972, a year that marked a turning point in Emily's life.
A life-long love of dolls has been the inspiration for creating pieces that are to Emily, representatives of the human form that are much more than just "dolls". By the age of 15, Anne Lea had made her first doll, an Elf, made of felt and hand embroidered; this doll is still in Emily's possession.
Anne Lea graduated from Alberni District Secondary School in 1963 and immediately began work as a seamstress for a very high end shop in Port Alberni.
Here she refined her skill as a seamstress and learned many professional techniques from her employer.
She travelled to Washington D.C. and attended the Stenotype Institute of Washington for a year where her grades were A+ on all exams, but "Court Reporting" was not in the cards for her future....
A trip to Europe in 1968 led to a nine year stay in Spain. She married Rudy Mervin in the Cathedral at Marbella, Malaga, Spain in November of 1968. While in Spain, Emily owned and operated a leather goods handcraft shop, "Boutique Rudann" with her husband Rudy, at Mijas, Malaga. She continued to sew, make jewelry and create leather goods and articles in fur. In 1971 her leather bags and belts were featured in two issues of European Vogue Magazine.
In 1972 Emily traveled home to Port Alberni for 5 months where her son John was born, and then returned to Spain.
In 1974 Emily's innovative cloth dolls and animals were featured in a solo show at the Fuengirola Art Gallery, Spain. During the years in Europe, Emily travelled most places between Iceland and the Sahara Desert having many incredible adventures with her husband, and especially enjoying visiting many World Class Museums and impressive Cathedrals all over Europe.
Upon her return to Canada in 1977, Emily continued to make cloth dolls, including Aboriginal dolls in traditional clothing, but it was not until 1990 that she took her first course in porcelain dollmaking. Finally feeling that she had truly found her career, Emily began a series of courses with the Doll Artisan Guild School of Dollmaking Headquartered in Oneonta, New York. Dollmaking became her all consuming passion, and after one year of working alone, she began teaching in her home studio on Quadra Island, B.C. Canada. Rudy and Emily divorced in 1978 but remained the very dearest of friends until his untimely death by car accident in 2002.
Emily opened a Certified Seeley Doll Center in 1991, and gave lessons three days per week for a total of 13 years, moving her Studio from Quadra Island to Campbell River in December of 1998.
Emily has entered National, International and World competitions in Florida, New York and Vancouver, B.C. Her very first entries, winning first and second place ribbons from the International Federation of Dollmakers in Florida. Soon her work was shown in the IFDM magazine, "Dollmakers Workshop".
In 1993 Emily won 'Best of Show' rosettes in three categories at the Canadian Artists in Porcelain Show held at the Sheraton Inn in Surrey, B.C.
In July 1995 Emily traveled to the Doll Artisan Guild Convention in New York where she won a 1st Prize for her Tété Jumeau Antique Reproduction doll and was also awarded her Master Dollmaker Degree with honors.
The First Western Canadian Doll Festival held in Surrey, B.C. in March 1996 received six entries from Emily Hart. Eleven Awards were presented to Emily with great esteem at this show. She won six 1st Prize ribbons, three 'Best of Category' rosettes, the coveted 'Doll Artisan Guild Director's Choice Rosette' from New York for favorite doll of the entire show and the precious 'Golden Reese Statue' for 'Best Antique Reproduction Doll in the Show' - the highest award given. This show featured approximately 250 dolls in competition from across Canada and the U.S.
In March 1998 Emily achieved the next level of excellence in dollmaking, that of Grand Master of Dollmaking.
In 2001 Emily was approached by an Editor for Jones Publishing U.S. the producer of no less than 5 different International magazines. Over the next few years, Emily wrote and had published 15 articles for Jones Publishing, in the magazines, "Dollmaking", "Doll Artisan", "Doll Costuming", and "Doll Crafter".
Emily entered two Internet competitions put on by the Porcelain Dollmakers Network and again won the highest Awards with her Reproduction Ethnic Jumeau E12J, rare Pintel and Godchaux P10G, and in honor of Gwen Ross, the highest award for her Mariha as the Frog Princess.
Continuing on with International Competitions, until the year 2004, Emily won many "Best of Show" Rosettes as a Professional competitor, including the categories of "Mechanical Dolls", "French Dolls", "Small French Dolls", "German Glass eye Dolls", German Painted eye Dolls", "Modern small dolls", "Modern All Bisque dolls", "Antique all bisque dolls","Fantasy Dolls", and "Costume Only". Emily stopped competition in 2004 when she entered 6 dolls and won 5 Best of Show Rosettes in the Mid-Island Doll Artistry International Competition in Victoria, B.C. At this Doll Artisan Guild sponsored event, she also won the very coveted "Seeley Champion Award" for her ethnic Jumeau. This marked the end of an era for Emily, as she decided to withdraw from Competition.
At this time, May of 2004, Emily also closed her teaching studio, moved her workshop and began her solo career making dolls full time. She opened her ebay store and began to sell Internationally. With the ebay store, Emily put more focus on selling the doll heads on their own, and almost entirely stopped making finished dolls.
Through the ebay store, Emily became friends with Mary Lambeth who has been making French style doll costumes using antique laces and fabulous fabrics for over 25 years. Mary began to purchase Emily Hart dolls to model her famous outfits on, and soon Emily began to dress her dolls in Mary's costumes. This collaboration of Emily Hart dolls and Mary Lambeth costumes has proved to be very complimentary to both artists, and will be continued as long as we are both doing this work.
Although at this point in time, Emily considers herself in semi-retirement, the demand for her meticulous work has only increased. She does, however, plan to retire from this work as soon as the opportunity arises.
Emily sells her porcelain art to serious collectors around the world with an emphasis on selling to doll lovers in the U.S.