Colorblind artisan creates miniature doll pouches

By Diep Phan   October 31, 2020 | 05:35 pm GMT+7
When Doan resumed his hobby of making accessories for the dolls he collected, he unexpectedly bagged a new career – making miniature bags.
Nguyen Le Lam Doan, 32, has nursed a love for dolls since he was a child. When he was in primary school, Doan used to collect rags to make clothes for the dolls.Even though dolls are normally for girls, my family supported me because they saw my creativity, says Doan, from the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, neighboring Saigon.In 2014, while working as a local youth union officer, he picked up his childhood hobby again as a means of relaxing after the daily grind. Initially, he just bought dolls and made a collection. Later, he began spending his after work hours making clothes and bags for his little friends. Then, he shared pictures of his creations on his Facebook page.

Nguyen Le Lam Doan, 32, has nursed a love for dolls since he was a child. When he was in primary school, Doan used to collect rags to make clothes for the dolls.
"Even though dolls are normally for girls, my family supported me because they saw my creativity," says Doan, from the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, neighboring Saigon.
In 2014, while working as a local youth union officer, he picked up his childhood hobby again as a means of relaxing after the daily grind. Initially, he just bought dolls and made a collection. Later, he began spending his after work hours making clothes and bags for his "little friends." Then, he shared pictures of his creations on his Facebook page.

His bags are mostly made of faux leather. While his creations do have intricate details, Doan dispels some popular notions. Many people think that it is more difficult to make these tiny bags than bigger ones, but that’s not true. Small bags allow me to eliminate several details that I cannot avoid for the bigger versions, making them (the normal bags) a much more time consuming process.

His bags are mostly made of faux leather. While his creations do have intricate details, Doan dispels some popular notions. "Many people think that it is more difficult to make these tiny bags than bigger ones, but that’s not true. Small bags allow me to eliminate several details that I cannot avoid for the bigger versions, making them (the normal bags) a much more time consuming process."

Doan is confident of his little aesthetic sense as he makes everything by hand. The only challenge is that he is color blind.I cannot differentiate between red and blue. So when buying materials in these colors, I am careful about having the sellers identify them.

Doan is confident of his "little aesthetic sense" as he makes everything by hand. The only challenge is that he is color blind.
"I cannot differentiate between red and blue. So when buying materials in these colors, I am careful about having the sellers identify them."

Three years ago, a foreigner friend placed an order, but did not believe that all the products were handmade. Doan had to record a video of him making them as proof.

Three years ago, a foreigner friend placed an order, but did not believe that all the products were handmade. Doan had to record a video of him making them as proof.

All of Doan’s tools, including scissors, brush, screwdrivers, needles and punching pliers, costing around VND300,000 ($12.95), are bought at the Dai Quang Minh garment market in Saigon’s District 5.

All of Doan’s tools, including scissors, brush, screwdrivers, needles and punching pliers, costing around VND300,000 ($12.95), are bought at the Dai Quang Minh garment market in Saigon’s District 5.

A collar inspired bag. A special feature of Doan’s tiny creations is that all of them can be opened and closed like real bags.It takes a lot of patience and meticulousness to make the miniature bags. The first one took him more than 12 hours to finish, Doan recalls.

A collar inspired bag. A special feature of Doan’s tiny creations is that all of them can be opened and closed like real bags.
It takes a lot of patience and meticulousness to make the miniature bags. The first one took him more than 12 hours to finish, Doan recalls.

The bags’ sizes, 2.5 - 10 cm long, depend on the sizes of the dolls, and sell typically for VND250,000 - 500,000. Doan can make six simply styled bags with prepared materials a day. While making more complex ones takes more time, it is a challenge that Doan enjoys.

The bags’ sizes, 2.5 - 10 cm long, depend on the sizes of the dolls, and sell typically for VND250,000 - 500,000 ($10.69 - 21.58). Doan can make six simply styled bags with prepared materials a day. While making more complex ones takes more time, it is a challenge that Doan enjoys.

Five years into his new vocation, his creations have started getting him orders for much bigger versions from white-collar women, students and children.

Five years into his "new" vocation, his creations have started getting him orders for much bigger versions from white-collar women, students and children.

Finding suitable materials is not always simple, Doan says. Sometimes, it takes months for him to get imported materials for particular designs, like the one seen in this picture, which has a faux reptile skin fabric.

Finding suitable materials is not always simple, Doan says. Sometimes, it takes months for him to get imported materials for particular designs, like the one seen in this picture, which has a faux reptile skin fabric.

His bag making ties him to his house the whole day, but Doan does not mind. He considers himself lucky because I have a passion to pursue and I can make money from it.To prove it, he flashes a genuinely big smile for a picture with several of his tiny creations, saying: I am satisfied with my life.

His bag making ties him to his house the whole day, but Doan does not mind. He considers himself "lucky because I have a passion to pursue and I can make money from it."
To prove it, he flashes a genuinely big smile for a picture with several of his tiny creations, saying: "I am satisfied with my life."

 
 
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