Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — “I was told by a teacher not too long ago that I can’t expect to win blue ribbons making dolls in my basement,” she said.
That teacher might be surprised at the many blue ribbon awards in the Infantino home, where there are about a dozen award-winning dolls and doll displays, including two different “Alice in Wonderland” displays and a display of three dolls of Winken, Blinken and Nod, placed in a sailboat made from a real wooden shoe.
Infantino doesn’t seem to do anything in a small way. She admits that “when I do something, I do it with my whole heart.”
Before the doll making, she was wrapped up in cake decorating and Italian cooking, which she taught at Lewiston Porter’s continuing education program.
But, now it’s all dolls of all kinds, many in various stages of production in her basement workshop. As a member of the Western New York Doll Club, an affiliate of the United Federation of Doll Clubs and of For The Love of Dolls, Chapter II, her next goal is to win the biggest prize of all, the “Millie” given for antique doll reproductions. She has already started to replicate a French doll named Genevieve, designed with rosebud lips and long, dark, hand-painted eye lashes. Infantino has poured and fired eight different heads to get one that is perfect.
“Once I win the Millie, I won’t care if I do it anymore,” she laughed. In nearly the next breath, Infantino described the doll she hopes to make after Genevieve, and showed a picture in a magazine of a little doll, circa 1890s, dark haired, dressed in a sweet, red dress. “I can’t wait to pour her,” she said with a laugh.
As for her husband, Phil, a retired chemical analyst at Dupont and one-time football player in high school, a house decorated by dolls is not so hard to take.
“I like them. I think they’re pretty,” he said. “They make her happy, and that makes me happy.”