A Baker’s Dozen with Doreen Rae Defauw and Piper Paton Shano of CreepynCuteShop
Doreen is holding the Jerry doll, along with their CreepynCuteShop card, while Piper is holding the Dwight and Jadis dolls, all three The Walking Dead character dolls. I had long admired photos of the cute, creepy dolls I saw on Twitter, but it was learning of Doreen’s illness that finally prompted me to reach out to the ladies, expressing my concern and offering support. I rejoiced with them when she was pronounced cured. Even with all they have been through, it hasn’t slowed them down one bit; they keep designing and creating all these wonderful dolls.
Isn’t that an absolutely delightful array of color and whimsy? I love them all! And I also positively love the living dolls that create them, Piper and Doreen! Keep reading and you can learn all about the talented ladies behind the CreepynCuteShop,
Where are you ladies from?
We are both from the metro Detroit area.
How long have you known each other and how did you meet?
We have known each other since December, 1984. We met at a now defunct club called Traxx.
What inspired you to begin making dolls and why the creepy, cute ones?
Both of us have always been into the horror genre and have an affinity with zombies. Our zombie admiration began with George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. While we did not see this film together, it equally affected us. When AMC’s The Walking Dead came out, the zombie fascination was reinvigorated. Piper wanted a zombie doll and was not finding anything she really, really wanted. She asked Doreen, who is a master of a bunch of crafty things, including being a master quilter, if she could design a zombie doll for Piper.
When did you make your first doll and what was it?
We made the first zombie doll in July of 2013 at Doreen’s home. She is a “ghouly girl” and we still have her.
What all is involved in designing and making each doll?
Hmmm, it sounds like an easy enough question, but it’s actually not that easy to answer. It can be as simple as finding a unique button and designing an entire doll around that. It can also be complex, especially if our shop is asked to make a ‘custom’ or ‘specialty’ doll. For example, someone might request a couple doll for a couple getting married, or a doll of a person who wears eyeglasses, a hat, or has sporting equipment. We have also been asked to create a doll for a friend who plays in a band holding a guitar. We work exceptionally well from images to create such dolls. We also tap into other artisans’ expertise to procure such items as “The Governor’s” eyepatch (character from The Walking Dead).
How long does it take to make each doll from start to finish?
A standard non-custom or non-celebrity doll averages between 4 to 5 hours from design to last stitch or snip of yarn or thread. A custom, specialty, or celebrity character doll can range from 8 hours to 2 to 5 days. It depends on the amount of detail each doll requires. For example, several of The Walking Dead character dolls have hand-knitted items, such as Tyreese’s hat, Sasha’s sweater or Jesus’ hat, and some of them also require hand drawn-on zombie effects and/or fake blood, not to mention all the various weaponry items that many of the character dolls wield!!!
Where do you get your ideas for each doll?
We are inspired by something we see, an experience we have, or a feeling we get. Piper feels she creates her best designs while watching The Walking Dead and/or listening to motivating music. Doreen, on the other hand, just creates.
How many dolls have you made in total?
In all honesty, we have not kept an exact count, but if we had to make a guestimate, it would be over 1,200 dolls!
Since you can no longer find the tiny toy crossbows for the Daryl Dixon dolls, will you have to discontinue the line after making only twelve?
Yikes!!! We know!!! We are working diligently to continue to find mini crossbows for our shop’s Daryl Dixon doll. Recently, after a diligent worldwide online search, our shop was able to find one, but it included other items that our shop may never use. We are confident we will find more of the same and/or similar crossbows of equal quality.
These are the last two Daryl Dixon dolls (made for The Walking Dead fans, Katie Claya and an anonymous Georgia ‘super’ fan) by CreepynCuteShop, but we most certainly hope not the last!!!
How many character dolls have you made and given to cast members and what were their reactions?
Our shop has made 55 The Walking Dead-related character/cast/crew/walker dolls and 13 other celebrity dolls. It has been the total WOW factor – Their reactions have been very diverse, just as diverse as each person who has ever received one of our dolls. They are equally memorable in their own unique way. We have had celebrities cry, share their own doll stories, throw their heads back with huge smiles and laughter, chat doll jokes to the doll itself while blushing and covering their mouths. Each experience has been joyful, and each celebrity has been very thankful and appreciative.
Do you sell your dolls at comicons or other places, and how can someone purchase one, if not at a comicon?
We vend at small local shows, mid-level regional events to large national and even international conventions. Folks can either message us via our Facebook page and/or our Etsy shop, as well as request a ‘custom order’ via our Etsy shop.
Are there any other shows that you’ve considered making dolls modeled after their characters?
Oh yes!!! Piper is itching to make Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, notorious for his big hair and year-round tan, of The History Channel’s Ancient Aliens. Doreen is anxious to create Johnny Depp’s Edward Scissorhands.
Piper and Doreen’s personal CnC dolls, Harley Quinn aka Puddin’ and The Joker. Regretfully, they do not plan on reproducing them at the present time; they were inspired and made just for Piper and Doreen during Doreen’s battle with cancer. They are awfully creepy and cute though!
What else can you tell us about the CreepynCute dolls, as well as Piper and Doreen?
CreepynCuteShop is the authentic, original “Share the Love” mission & motto designers, gifters & donators of one-of-a-kind, handmade zombie dolls!!! While our shop designs authentic, original, one-of-a-kind, handmade zombie dolls, some may be similarly reproduced by special order like the ‘celebrity’ dolls and this shop takes custom order requests for ‘portrait’ and ‘specialty’ dolls.
CreepynCuteShop won ‘Staff Pick’ in 2014 and ‘Reader’s Choice’ in 2015 for Metro Times Detroit Best of Detroit Best Local Etsy Shop, has been featured on Fox2 News Detroit five times, as well as in several other online and print media platforms.
CreepynCuteShop has gifted 55 dolls to The Walking Dead celebrity actors, as well as 13 dolls to other celebrity actors in the horror, entertainment, and music genres. Our shop has also donated numerous dolls with proceeds benefiting local, regional, national, and international charities, such as American Cancer Society via The Walking Hope for ACS, Gleaners Food Bank of Southeast Michigan, Animals for Good – UK, just to name a few. Our shop often participates in other charitable causes.
No two CreepynCuteShop zombie dolls are the same and since our shop’s mission and motto is “Share the Love,” each (non-celebrity/custom) doll has a heart on them, in one way, shape, or form.
CreepynCuteShop has also made the following The Walking Dead character dolls, gifted to the actors and we are working diligently to list on our Etsy shop: 1) Khary Payton – King Ezekiel & Shiva; 2) Melissa McBride – Carol as a Wolf; 3) Jeffrey Dean Morgan – Negan & Lucille; 4) Jay Bonansinga – Portrait Doll with Bolero Hat; 5) Xander Berkeley – Gregory; 6) Steven Ogg – Simon; 7) Greg Nicotero – Portrait Doll with Hershel’s Head; 8) Austin Amelio – Dwight; 9) Pollyanna McIntosh – Jadis; and 10) Cooper Andrews – Jerry. Our shop has also made “The Godfather” of zombies, George A. Romero, of Night of the Living Dead, a portrait doll complete with infamous black-rimmed eyeglasses.
Source: Photos supplied by Doreen and Piper of CreepynCuteShop
BONUS question: Doreen has recently had a battle with cancer. How is she?
The #ChemoPrincessWarrior kicked cancer’s ass and is doing great!!!
They both look beautiful in the above photo and we’re so glad Doreen is also feeling great. It’s easy to see how all that loveliness leaks out into the dolls they design and create, and furthers their mission and motto of “Share the Love.” Be looking for these ladies and their family of zombie dolls at the comicons and other conventions you attend. Can’t get to a convention? Look them up on Facebook or Etsy. Remember, they take special orders, too! I don’t know how you’ll ever decide on just one CreepynCute doll! They are all delightful and so full of life, color and joie de vivre. And since they are all handmade, each one is different and a work of art itself! I appreciate Piper and Doreen sharing all about themselves and their CreepynCuteShop. Ladies, keep on smiling and creating and Sharing the Love!