I think this is Yeondu – Not totally sure… Maybe someone out there can verify her identity. Her owner wasn’t certain about the sculpt name.
Her owner bought her ages ago with the intention of painting her. She is a member of a doll makers’ club with experience in bisque doll making, so some of them decided to try their hand at BJD faceups. I would guess that the skills required are similar, but unfortunately BJDs require an entirely different supply of artist materials, so the project didn’t happen and this poor girl has been languishing in her box. As an early collector, I loved Customhouse and was very happy to be commissioned to paint this cutee.
She is definitely a Customhouse doll, she’s MSD size, and she has a teen style body sculpt. I think she is a Junior AI Yeondu and she was introduced in 2008. For those who have been in the hobby a while, we remember Customhouse well.
The Korean company, Customhouse, started in 2002 making doll supplies and wigs. Even now, many of my favorite wigs came from Customhouse. The blonde bob wig she is wearing (above) is an old Customhouse wig from my stash.
Early dolls were SD sized limited editions but within a few years they introduced several lines in different sizes—probably the most successful was the Petite Ai, 30 centimeter child dolls, the first widely produced child sized BJDs in the market. They were so popular and Customhouse had some great designers and artists.
By 2008, they had had many ups and downs as a company and seemed to be constantly trying new marketing schemes and running special sales. Customer service and quality were inconsistent. Group ordering was popular because some of the sales favored large orders—which meant that lots of people could get frustrated! Buyers had long waits and were often disappointed by dolls with bad seams and uneven resin color. It was later confirmed that they had moved their manufacturing to China – a controversial thing at the time for BJDs – and people felt this was a bad sign for the future of the hobby.
In 2010, they renamed the company AI Dolls and launched new websites. They never really shook off the bad feelings that many collectors had about the original company and many new doll makers were now in the market, so collectors had lots of choices. Later, Luts acquired them and continued to offer some of their best sculpts, but I don’t think these doll sculpts are available anywhere now except for the secondary market. I occasionally see them on eBay and they’re still as charming.
If you find an older Customhouse doll that speaks to you, don’t be afraid of some yellowing. Mild yellowing can be be improved with a thorough Magic Eraser cleaning and some blushing–it’ll never be like new, but can be somewhat rejuvenated.
The sealants we use for BJDs seem totally clear, but they actually have a tiny bit of tint. Mister Super Clear and Zoukeimura from Volks are the two sealants I use most. When painting a doll with some yellowing, I like to use Mister Super Clear because it has a very tiny whitish caste. So with a few coats that you apply in the normal faceup process, it can slightly lighten a yellowed face. Also, dusting the face strategically with very light pink and lavender pastel can offset a yellow cast. But remember that you don’t want to let the face color get very different from the neck/torso (unless you are also blushing the body).
Here are links to my various sharing sites:
And for fun, here are some extreme closeups: