Mum Spends Thousands on recreating her childhood Barbie Collection
A 40-year-old mum from Blackpool has spent the last 5 months pending an astonishing £3,500 on a collection that is 70 Barbies strong. Clare Rawling has splashed out on an array of dolls that span six decades after she fell back in love the iconic figure’s beauty and elegance.
Not only has Clare amassed 70 dolls, she also boasts a fantastic range of outfits, props and sets which she plays with by arranging them in different scenarios. She loves to snap photos of her dolls in these different scenes and upload them to social media.
Most of the mum of one’s beloved Barbie dolls are vintage dolls from the 80’s and early 90’s, when Clare was girl and consumed by their “beauty” and “elegance”. But since she jumped back into her obsession with Barbie, she has fallen in love with Mattel Toys’ newer versions of the iconic doll because of the increase in range of her movements.
Clare said: “Sometimes I have to remind myself I'm 40. It is hard to explain the feeling Barbie gives me, it's very nostalgic and they bring back lots of happy memories. They bring me joy, it's as simple as that.”
Clare’s fascination with Barbie began when she was a child, and her infatuation was so intense that her dad converted the loft of the house into Clare’s very own Barbie play-space. She said "I remember being massively into Barbie from around age seven to 11, I loved them so much. I enjoyed the aesthetics, they were so pretty, and really loved all the accessories. I have lots of lovely Barbie memories. I would have kept playing with them, but girls were being mean to me at school."
When she moved out, Clare gave her mum permission to sell her original collection because she did not want to take them with her. She added “Little did I know then I would wish I had kept them." As an adult, Clare did not pay much thought to her favourite childhood toy until February this year when she saw one of her other treasured items for sale on eBay. Her husband Colin, 56, surprised her with an “Oh Penny” doll. This started Clare’s mind racing on how else she could roll back the years.
She said: "I turned 40 and we couldn't go out because of the restrictions so I said, 'I know I'm 40 but can I have everything Barbie?’ I asked for everything to be pink and for a doll's house as my present." Clare has since jumped headfirst back into her Barbie obsession by acquiring an impressive 70 dolls in the space of a few months, as well as dozens of accessories. Clare said: "I have never had a connection with anything like this before, you think it's just Barbie but it's a bit of a rabbit hole when you get into it. Everything you can get in real life; you can get in Barbie too. It's amazing." She added: "I initially wanted to collect dolls from the 80s and 90s but as I started learning more, I realised the new ones were really good too." Her modern Barbie dolls and playsets include some collectable editions including Wicked Elphaba Witch Doll, Inspiring Women Series Katherine Johnson Doll and Barbie Signature Collector Styled by Iris Apfel Doll.
Her collection now spans the decades from the 1960’s all the way to today, with her vintage figures costing between £100 and £200. She has even had custom dolls made of her and her family, Colin and son Zach, 12. As well as her amazing collection of dolls, she also has outfits, props and sets, many of these are bespoke made.
Clare has said that her enjoyment does not come from playing with the toys now, but from taking photos of them and stop motion videos. Clare says: "I didn't expect it at all but my passion now is all about videography and photography. I like getting the dolls into little scenarios that I think up then snapping away. It's really fun." Clare shares her Barbie creations on her Instagram Page vintagebarbieclare.
What do you think of Clare’s new lease on life in the form of Barbie art? Do you collect any toys or games? Do you see any dolls you would love to own? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.