Canberra Artist and Creators Spotlight | Allie McClure from Attire Dolls

We continue our ongoing series to spotlight local Canberra Artists and creators. We asked artist, jeweller and business owner of Attire Dolls and all-round kickass human, Allie McClure, some questions about who they are and what they do.

CGM – Who are you and what do you do? 

AM – My name is Allie, I run a small handmade business called Attire Dolls, which makes an assortment of items from different categories! I make jewellery, accessories, art, and take commissions and custom orders for so many things that are original designs/fandom-related/cosplay accessories/ LGBTQIA+. I also have a small crystal/gem related range that involves jewellery and crystal terrariums as well.

CGM – Why do you do what you do? 

AM – I’m chronically/mentally ill and have a neurological disorder, so have been unable to work normally. Created Attire Dolls so I can try and make a little money while working from home, and also make people happy! I do my best to ensure everyone can wear my products, so I offer extensions/change of size/allergy-friendly and other custom order options in my Etsy and at stalls to ensure this works. This goes also for the LGBTQIA+ content that I create- I have 18 flags* I currently bulk create for, but also take on commissions/custom orders for any other flags I don’t currently offer. 

(*If I get enough requests I add the flag to the bulk creating list so its available for all!)

“If you like it, and you really enjoy it, keep doing it!” – Allie

CGM – What art (style or artist) do you most identify with? 

AM – I love the alternative styles, to be honest. Goth, punk, a bit of grunge and the general witchy aesthetic drive me a bit with my original content, especially my one-off designs. (Hoping to bring out more alternative items once I have some room!) Otherwise, I do love some anime/manga, cartoons and books.

AM – The fandom/cosplay side of it all has a rather big mix of different styles that inspire and influence me, which also can show in my art, as I have a few different styles, from chibi to the Steven Universe art style, to my own style (rarely seen in the prints I currently sell but can be seen in commission work!) which is a mix of cartoon/anime/manga and a bit of realism.

CGM – What’s your favourite artwork? Or What is your dream project?

AM – My dream project is to dive more into the alternative side of fashion with jewellery! I’ve been experimenting a little with this by making some jewellery and accessories for my modelling hobby, and some pieces have come out really cool- I just need to look into some other ideas and experiment a bit more before I can come out with these!

Another dream is to create more artwork to sell/keep in my portfolio. Currently, my art doesn’t sell as well as everything else in the store, so its been a bit hard to find time to work on between creating all the other products.

CGM – What memorable responses have you had to your work? 

AM – My favourite response is to when I tell people that if it doesn’t fit, or there’s an allergy that needs to be catered towards/non pierced ears, that I can cater to them. I’ve had a lot of very happy people walk away with jewellery that fits them, or telling them what I have back at home to create custom orders with for allergies/clip-on earrings. I always do my best to keep some sort of supplies on hand at events, so if a choker or necklace needs extending, I can do it then and there for them. (i also have rings that are adjustable, most bracelets made w stretchy cord or cuffs that can change size a bit too.) 

I’ve also had people come by, and bring along friends! It’s fantastic to see everyone get excited over what I have to sell, especially if it’s been hard to find something for or something they weren’t expecting. I love it when someone sees something cosplay or fandom related and gets excited…. until I show them the other things (if I do have them) for the fandom/cosplay related, and then they just go ‘oh no! my money!’ 

I’ve also had people thank me for working to create items for anyone to wear, and if it’s not all ready-made, that I take custom orders to make it so that it can fit anyone. I also do my best to try and keep prices reasonable for any-items/custom orders/commissions and do my best to work with budgets for some things. I also offer to pay off more expensive commissions/custom orders over a period, rather than straight up as well. 

CGM – Should art be funded? What role does arts funding have? 

AM – I believe art should be funded purely because its something that is needed- it might not be deemed as ‘important’ to many, but its a way to express one’s sense. This, for me at least, goes for all areas that can fall under art, including acting, poetry, singing, dancing, art, craft/handmade items, and cosplay. Without having some sort of art funded, it can mean that those today, and future generations could have fewer ways to interact with others, find others similar to expressing one’s self. Creativity in all forms is incredibly important, as it can shape us just as much, if not more than sciences and maths and having money. 

CGM – What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? 

AM – If you like it, and you really enjoy it, keep doing it! Even if you get bullied, made fun of or sorts like that. It’s going to happen because it’s viewed differently to others. You also might not be the best at it and might get upset or jealous of others skills, but remember that everyone needs to start somewhere, but with this; it doesn’t have to be pushed to be the best! Do it because you like it because you love it. Do it for you, not anyone else.

CGM – Shop. Canberra Geek Markets is all about local artist and vendors, where can people buy your stuff?

AM – Attire Dolls attends a range of Pop Culture Cons in Sydney/surrounding NSW and ACT areas. We also do some other events as well, such as Canberra’s LGBTQIA+ Pride events in November (and smaller ones throughout the year), and some small markets as well. We’re hoping to see if we can start attending Melbourne events for 2020 too!

Otherwise, we’re online- facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Etsy. Our Etsy might not always be up to date with what one sees at our stalls in person, but we always encourage people to message us via FB if this is the case so we can sort out online orders this way until it is available on Etsy. (so many products, so much to do for one person, so I do fall behind often with adding new products.)

CGM – Play. Canberra Geek Markets is all about fun! What superpower would you have and why? 

Superhero power…. Honestly would probably go with hydrokinesis. Mostly due to my love of swimming and water in general. I find it calming, inspiring, amazing and horrifying, especially with how destructive can be when it comes to natural disasters. I got good respect for this element with how it contributes to life. 

CGM – Geek. What do you, Geek out about?

I geek out about a few things, like favourite cartoons/anime/mangas/books etc. If there’s a new book in a series I’m reading, I’ll get excited and disappear to read said book for the next few days (if I have time!) I also get excited over all my friends creations as well, ranging from ocs, to art, new good things in life happening, and any of their arty creations…. Oh, and cats. I love cats as well.