1. Introduce yourself, who are you and where do you live?
My name is John H. Baens, originally from Columbia, South Carolina. I moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1996 to pursue a dream in medicine. After college, with a B.A. in Sociology and Theology, I decided to postpone going into healthcare for a career in Retail Management. It was a lovely 13-year experience, which taught me a lot about people management, motivating groups, creating brand awareness, and my favorite: mentorship. As a child and I guess in my adult career in management, I always loved taking things apart, seeing how they work, finding the good bits, putting them back together and making them, in a way, better. So I started with customizing Blythe. I found the mechanics amazing. Sewing came out of necessity. At the time, I didn't have much money to spend on clothes. I learned how to hand sew but I dropped it because I couldn't get inspired at the time.
After BCEU 2012 in Berlin, I discovered many wonderful clothing designers. This started my clothing brand buying binge. I began cataloging each purchase on Flickr. Mostly to practice photography, but I also figured it would help other newbies like me sort through the large world of online shopping. I thought that, through me, maybe they would find some essential pieces for their personal dolly wardrobes. After many photo shoots, I noticed that I loved to mix and match pieces from different designers. The theme was consistent: fitted, lots of layers and volume, with a play on proportions. I realized I was styling my dream dress. I picked up the needle and thread again and I started sewing like crazy. Sewing to get all the ideas out of my head. I didn't realize how much was trapped inside. From this I built my brand, Maudib05.
All my pieces are 95% hand sewn. Just a needle and a thread. I'll continue to practice with the machine. Did I mention I love my Singer Featherweight? It's from 1941. Also my painting is good, but I would like to practice my carving more.
2. What do you make for Blythe?
At BlythConSeattle, I will be making Dresses from my LaborForce and LillyHammer
lines, made with local prints and some fabrics I picked up during my world travels.
You can Find my work3. Where can we find your creations?
My photos scan be Found on Flickr
4. What are your main influences?
I get inspiration from interactions with people, places and food. The more unfamiliar the situation...the better. Just to get out of my comfort zone and shake things up. My most memorable 1st times that have inspired my creations: a baseball game, a drag show, a pajama party, gay karaoke night, a bboy battle, and a run in with a net sack filled with fingerling potatoes. I'd never seen purple ones before. Most of the time when I go anywhere, I take a camera with me. The photos help me revisit the moment. I look at the pictures from different angles, if I get a mental block. When it comes to sewing dresses, I use the same silhouette each time. This feeds my need for consistency, and I think it also helps distinguish my aesthetic from the crowd of dolly designers. Though I use the same silhouette for each dress, I tweak the color, print, and mix of textures according to my inspiration.
5. How did you get started with Blythe dolls?
It actually didn't start with Blythe. It all began with another scary doll called Little Miss No Name. It was July of 2010. A random search for mid-century modern furniture took me to a store in Indianapolis, Indiana. There I found LMNN. I took her home and posted some pictures of her on Facebook, which a friend saw. That friend introduced me to her sister-in law Alexandra, who collected Blythe. Alexandra shared with me the online community and its many resources. From then on, I was immediately hooked and got my first Blythe in August of 2010.
I collect BJD. My Muse, Mini Me and Travel Companion is Ellyse. She is a MyDolling MJ Koo.6. Do you collect anything else?
I love lists so i can’t just give one:7. What's one interesting fact we may not know about you?
I come from a Large Family. One of 11 kids.
I Hand Sew.
My first Sewing Class was in Barcelona. My Teacher was Momolita.
I was featured in Blythiful Magazine Issue 2
One of My dresses appeared in Metamorphosis: Art of BlytheI was in DollyBird Volume19. Not for my work but for a dolly adventure.