R. John Wright was born and raised in Michigan, where he graduated
from Wayne State University with a degree in liberal arts. After
university, he settled in New Hampshire. While browsing in a bookstore
one day, he came across a book entitled “The Doll” by Carl Fox.
Intrigued by the photos of antique dolls, Wright began to contemplate
a career in dollmaking.
Two years later, he met his future wife, Susan, who had a degree
in Fine Arts. The couple moved to Vermont in 1974 and John took
a job as a clerk in a hardware store. When
he was abruptly laid off in 1976, he turned to dollmaking. On
a whim, he made his first crude doll out of the only material
at hand – an old, pale yellow, flannel sheet (picture left). Although
he had never sewn before, John quickly developed his skills. Within
a week, he had made six rudimentary “hillbilly” dolls (picture
below) out of flesh-coloured fabric. When
he took them to a local crafts show, they instantly sold out.
Over the course of the next year, he made over 100 of these primitive
Operating out of their small apartment, retail orders began to
pour in, and soon John and Susan had to hire assistants to help
out. One year after he started, he sculpted the faces that would
become his first molded felt dolls.
1980, the “Little Children” series had been introduced, and the
Wrights had set up a proper factory in Cambridge, New York with
specialized machinery to increase production.
In 1985, the first prototype of Wright’s classic “Christopher
Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh” (picture left) was introduced, under
license from Disney. This limited edition set is now worth thousands
R. John Wright is fascinated with capturing childhood characters
in three-dimensional art.
His versions of Disney characters – such as Pinocchio – and other
legendary figures – such as Peter Rabbit (picture right), The
Little Prince (picture below), and Paddington Bear – are stunning
re-creations of classic artwork.
The dolls are made of felt, in the tradition of fine dollmaking,
as well as mohair and other top-notch materials. They are produced
in small editions of the highest quality. Most come with a numbered
Certificate of Authenticity. Although the dolls are expensive,
they have an enviable record on the secondary market, often selling
for many times their original value.
Wright has won many awards over the years, including the Doll
of the Year (DOTY) Award and the Golden Teddy award. The R. John
Wright Collectors’ Club was inaugurated in 1996.
It offers newsletters, a membership pin and access to Club Exclusive
Today, John and Susan Wright continue to head their innovative
company, which operates out of an historic three story brick Victorian
building in Cambridge. The couple oversees all phases of production
which is still performed on-site, always stressing the highest
quality in craftsmanship and integrity of design.
NOTICE: WCN is not affiliated with R. John
Wright. This information is presented solely for the interest
of R. John Wright doll collectors. Photos courtesy the R.
John Wright web site.
WCN R. John Wright Group
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