The Tactile Aspect of the Hobby

Oct 26, 2020

    1. This hobby is very much a visual one - looking at pictures of dolls and accessories online, conceptualizing just how you want your doll to look, doing or commissioning face-ups or outfits to make your doll completely fit your aesthetic...but it's also a tactile one, a way to physically interact with something that previously existed only in your imagination or on paper. I've found I enjoy the tactile sensation of the hobby nearly as much as, or perhaps more than, the visual aspect, and it got me to wondering how others feel about this aspect of the hobby.
      1. Do you tend to favor the feel of one company's resin over others? Are there any companies you would never buy from again simply because you didn't like the feel of their resin?
      2. Does handling a doll have benefits for your mental health (similar to a weighted blanket or a fidget/stim toy)? Which doll(s) do you primarily reach for (and for what reasons)? Does the intended comfort purpose influence the size of doll you tend to buy?
      3. When you handle your doll, do you focus more on smooth areas of resin or on joints? Ignoring posing capability and aesthetics, are you attracted to or put off by certain kinds of joints in terms of how they make a doll "feel"? (For example, do you like the smooth sculpting of a doll's hand, or would you rather buy jointed hands and play around with them?)
      4. Does the tactile sensation of various fabrics and wigs influence your doll's style? Any favorite materials, or any you avoid? Do you find yourself playing more with your doll's wigs or clothes than your doll's body?
      5. Are there any dolls you avoid painting and/or dressing for tactile reasons (such as you handle them so frequently or they have so many joints that chipping would be unavoidable)? Are there any you purposefully leave loose/floppy because even though they're not great at posing, it makes them easier to cuddle?
      Feel free to answer any or all of these or to add other questions to the discussion!
       
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    2. I actually use my dolls as fidget toys! Double jointed and clicky when played with is better than any fidget toy I've found. And I absolutely love the feeling of mohair wigs but I don't have many (mainly due to cost). I used to have a 1/8 that I kept in my purse as something to fidget with when out and about but I reshelled her into a 1/6 and I honestly miss that little doll. I'm considering getting another one just as a fidget toy and not attaching a character to it. Until then, often when I'm home I'll have a doll in my hands to fidget with if I'm just doing something simple like watching tv.
       
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    3. 2: I love playing with my doll when I’m stressed. I only have one at the moment, and what I usually do is brush her hair, dress her, pose her, or modify things for her to self sooth. I also love fiddling with jointed hands and the joints in general. I love when you suede them and the joint needs a little extra pressure to bend. I don’t know, it just feel nice.
      3: I like to touch the smooth resin. It feels really pleasing to touch! Kind of like a nicely sanded wood, I just wanna pet it. I do like the smooth look of non jointed hands, and I do prefer that to hold. Though the posing abilities of the jointed hands makes me lean a little to them lol

      4: god yes. I cannot deal with wigs that feel... I don’t know how else to describe it, but bad? The fibers are too thick and I just don’t like the feel. Reminds me of a party city wig. I like natural fiber wigs the most, though I do have one synthetic wig I’ve found I like. It really just depends. As far as clothing fabrics I’m not nearly as picky, though I do prefer softer materials!
       
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    4. This is interesting to think about!

      Generally I would say I've only had an issue with the really glossy resins, feel-wise. On the flip side, my favorite resin feel would have to be Island doll (it just feels extremely dense, thick and heavy) and Angodoll (SUPER soft finish, not sure how or why but it feels really nice).

      I generally find that a huge part of my enjoyment of BJDs comes from just playing with the articulation, and that's part of why I value well-engineered bodies so much- Not so much for posing for photos, but just how satisfying it is to move joints that work very well. I'm not really concerned so much with smooth resin, so I'm definitely the type who prefers to fiddle with jointed hands and just test the limits of their articulation.

      I have only one doll that I keep blank for tactile reasons (a gem of doll big baby body with a AOD skull head, lol) because I do get too nervous to really handle most of my dolls much. It's nice having one that I can handle without worrying so much about it.

      As for wigs and clothes... I can't stand the feeling of long synthetic wigs, ESPECIALLY curly ones. Eugh. Most of my doll wigs are short, which I feel makes them easier to manage and maintain. I actually don't mind crunchy styled wigs at all, but I know that's probably a tactile nightmare for some people. :lol: I LOVE imitation mohair wigs, I feel like it might be my favorite wig fiber.

      I tend to avoid clothes that aren't stretchy... Most of my dolls' wardrobes are spandex or knit of some sort. I tend to avoid non-stretchy fabrics in my own wardrobe too, they just seem uncomfortable and unyielding.
       
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    5. So far my favorite doll in terms of resin feel is my Maskcat, it is so silky. It is funny you mention hands because when I am sitting with my Maskcat or IOS one of the things I do is slip my fingers into their 'holds' and lightly manipulate their arms that way. I do not currently have any jointed hands so I cannot comment on that.
      I actually did not ever think about the mental health aspect of dolls until recently. A parent's medical diagnosis early this year basically changed my day to day life. . . and since then I have found that I more frequently will grab a doll to sit with or mess with, even while working (wfh). I will even bring some of my small textile (non-bjds) in my purse with me when I go out so I can fuss with them in the car. I cannot say anything about the weight helping because I would just as readily grab a light or vinyl doll as a resin, I think for me it is being able to move their joints or pose randomly.

      As for smooth areas versus joints to mess with, I do not think I have a preference because I mess with both. I will sit and kind of play with an arm or the stomach but then also mess with a wrist or elbow joint.

      I do not think clothing feel influenced me too much. . . Maybe the only way is tight fabric or expensive/character outfits. For example, I am much less likely to grab a doll with tight fitting clothes to mess with because it is harder to manipulate their joints and such. I also rarely pick up Hatsune Miku because I almost always have her dressed in one of her Miku outfits and I do not want to possibly damage them.
      For wigs, I think I am not too picky as long as I can brush them properly and sometimes thread my fingers through if it is just loose down.

      As for the last question, I do not have a doll I have left unpainted for tactile reasons but when I take out my Dreamhigh Studios love bird I will often leave him unclothed because the joints are much more fun to play with when he is nude!
       
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    6. I'm a bit of an old, weird and boring person. Ever since I was very young, I started taking art classes -- some teachers would encourage you to blend the medium with your fingers, but others would suggest to avoid doing so due to the oils in human hands deteriorating everything they touch, over time. I have never enjoyed touching my dolls regardless of type due to that bit of knowledge; not my "cheap" mass-produced fashion dolls, not my more "expensive" BJD, not my least expensive OT Asian fashion dolls.

      I love customizing them (when I'm not being lazy), to the point of sculpting new, or larger/smaller features, and shaving areas off, but I don't particularly enjoy petting/caressing any of them. I never found comfort in carrying, or hugging my dolls or stuff push toys, but I'm not an affectionate person either. I don't cuddle with other people, or hug any human-beings. I prefer hugging, or carrying my cats like babies, if I feel like feeling comforted. As I get older, I'm also growing into a lot more of a germaphobe than I'll like to admit, so finding greasy/oily/shiny (gross) looking plastic spots on my toys, is not something I would find appealing, and would definitely have to get rid of the toy if I did. I prefer not handling my toys if I don't need to, most are for display only (even back when I was a child, I never touched my dolls for long, other than for rearranging them). I got my BJD for customizing and not for comfort, so they stay wigless, unclothed in their boxes, if I'm not modifying them, repainting them, making wigs or clothes for them. Most of my BJD are full-bodied blushed, so I try to avoid handling them without any protection in between their plastic and my hands, because I am super lazy old fart, and I don't want to redo their body blush, unless I really want to. (:
       
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    7. I'm still waiting for my first doll, but the tactile aspect is actually what made me get one. I'm very much a digital soul at this point - I work with computers, I play on computers, I consume all and every type of media of screen... As a result I barely touch anything that is not a mouse and keyboard combo. My partner and my kitty are my tow main sources of tactile input and as much as I love them they do tend to move around and refuse to stay put when and where I want them :lol:
      So what I really want is something physical and weighty to ground myself in - dolls and all the handcrafts that come with them are perfect to give me something I can touch and feel as a complement to all the purely visual stuff I do every day.
       
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    8. 1. Not yet.

      2. Absolutely. I bought my first SD to be a comfort weight on my chest when I lay down with anxiety.

      3. Depends on the doll. Artemis gets her hands or feet played with and rubbed like a worry stone. So does Carrie. But Aelin gets their joints adjusted constantly.

      4. Not yet.

      5. My roommate does. I still want mine all strung tight for posing.
       
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    9. Yes!

      I love unsanded resin. :chocoheart
      The subtle velvety texture of resin is very pleasing to me, so I have a harder time with dolls that come sanded by default from the company. Seams don't bother me in the least, so I much prefer to have the doll unsanded and with it's natural tooth, I guess you'd call it, from the mold. It's not the end of the world if a doll arrives sanded, but it's definitely a preference I have noted.

      As for wigs, my preference is for regular old synthetic fibers. The fine wispy hairs in mohair wigs or even synthetic mohair are hard for me to manage. I feel stressed when the fine hairs get caught around my fingers and I hear them snap. :sweat

      I also love floppy dolls! Hehe, people think this is funny when I mention it, but I just love the natural lay of the limbs and would prefer to fiddle with them endlessly than wire them. :blush
       
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    10. I do have a favorite resin out of the resins I've touched: Loongsoul. But I've never handled resin I disliked enough to avoid.

      I find the visual aspect of my dolls comforting, and working on them comforting, but I don't handle them for comfort purposes. For that, I use my cat or a cheaper, more cuddly doll like American Girl or the vintage doll I grew up with. That may change when I get my SD boy body in; I suspect the weight may be comforting.

      I have brought a tiny doll along in my purse/backpack when I had to go somewhere I didn't really want to, for moral support :lol:. But I never took them out of the bag to handle them.

      I do enjoy playing with the joints of my dolls. I have one pair of jointed hands, but I'm not sure how many more I'll get because I find them difficult to pose and manage. For now, although maximum poseability is important to me in torsos, elbows, and knees, I prefer unjointed hands.

      Textures of fabrics and wigs are more important to me than the texture of the resin. Wigs need to be soft, and for outfits I like combining fabrics with differing "feels". I also steer away from fabrics that fray a lot, for practical reasons. I probably do mess around with my dolls' hair and clothes more than the joints, because they need to be adjusted more often to make the dolls look presentable :). My Resinsoul 45 cm boy body is the only one who needs their joints adjusted at random to keep the BJD display :goldstaraesthetic:goldstar.

      It has gotten to the point that I no longer blush nipples any more. The paint just rubs off too easily. Other than that, it's more that I avoid handling one of my dolls that's highly painted than I avoid painting dolls so I can handle them.
       
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      1. I do favor some resins over others. I really like Luts and Volks. They have a nice texture and a lot of weight. The only doll I've ever owned where resin was a deal breaker was Mirodoll. In the one doll I bought from them, her resin was very lightweight, unevenly sanded and felt like cheap plastic. I'm not sure if they've improved the quality of their dolls since I owned mine several years ago. I do own a doll cast by them but by a different artist and her resin feels better, but is still more lightweight than I'd prefer.
      2. I think they are very good for mental health, and often when I'm upset, stressed or otherwise in a bad mental state, I enjoy holding one of my dolls. I usually go for whichever character could best identify with whatever problems I'm having at the time. My 70cm guys are the best for cuddling or holding tight due to their large size and ability to put their arms around my neck, but I usually prefer my SD girls due to their characters and how pretty they are. I usually go for Marley (Impldoll Aigne), Lily (Notdoll Belldonna) or Jesse (Doll Legend Xu Yao), as their characters would be most supportive to someone in need of emotional support. Anything smaller than SD doesn't give me the same comfort.
      3. When I'm holding a doll for comfort, I usually either have them sitting in my lap or leaning against my chest with their arm around my neck. If I'm holding onto/touching one part for comfort, it's usually their hands. I like the regular hands because they're pretty and smooth and usually sculpted just right to hold my thumb.
      4. The tactile sensation of wigs and fabrics don't influence my doll's style. The aesthetic is more important to me. I enjoy holding the doll as a whole more than touching wigs or clothes, though I do love stroking Marci's wig (ForMyDoll) because it's just so smooth and silky.
      5. Nobody's staying naked or blank here. I actually find painting my dolls relaxing and kind of therapeutic, so leaving one blank would bother me. I would consider leaving pet or anthros naked, but I collect human SD and 70cm so that might be a little awkward to not clothe them. I prefer my dolls to be strung appropriately for posing, but Damien (DollZone Hong) is such a terrible poser anyway, I just accept that he's more of a cuddler and lazy slacker, it's just his nature, I guess!
       
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    11. 1. I love how smooth my dolls from Xagadoll and Granado are. They have a satiny feel I like more than the glossy feeling a few of my dolls have. I have yet to encounter a doll who's resin's feel was off putting.
      2. My dolls do benefit my mental health. If I'm feeling depressed redressing and rearranging them makes me happier. One of my smallest dolls, the Puki Puki in my avatar, often rides in an inner pocket of my purse. If I'm feeling down, just know he's there is reassuring.
      3. When I'm fiddling with one of my dolls to have something to do with my hands while watching a movie or something, I'm usually moving them between different poses. Sometimes just holding them feels nice, and a particularly like my Granado fellow's hands. They're big, compared to my other dolls, expressive, and feel sturdier than most of the others. So far I only have tinies, and they're a bit too small to cuddle.
      4. My dolls' wigs and clothes are based more on looks than feel. Most of their clothes are quilters' cotton, since that's easy for me to sew, and I make most of their clothes. I like the way jersey feels, so I'd like to make them more clothes from that.
      5. I'm more comfortable handling one of the dolls who I've given face-ups (or are waiting for me to give them face-ups) than one of those with company face-ups, since I'm not very confident or skilled at doing them yet. I have a lot of blank dolls waiting patiently for me to get around to painting them. I don't mind them being blank, but nobody is ever left naked.
       
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    12. The pleasure of handling my dolls came as a complete surprise to me. I am collecting them to sew for, fabulous outfits that there isn’t time or opportunity for a person to wear. But I held one on my lap when we took a driving trip, and now it’s one of the things I like the most.

      I have no idea why this should be so comforting. As a mother I loved holding my baby, but this is different. I think the weight of the resin is pleasing. When I am holding them or have them near, they seem to speak their personalities, and it’s almost overstimulation to imagine clothes and scenarios. This is why I am now working on a custom dollhouse. They inspired it.

      I seem to like a wide variety of fabrics and wigs - a style agnostic, I guess. I’ve only had my dolls for three months - I think the first came in late July. The tactile aspect has been an added bonus to the visual beauty, one I did not anticipate but one which will be very important.

      In reviewing the responses here, I am beginning to wonder if it is actually life-giving at some level. We crave touch from pets, lovers, friends and...dolls.
       
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      1. I had a Mirodoll body (I bought the 1/4 boy body back in 2018, before it was announced that DoA was banning them - but the 1/4 boy body appears to be ok) and really did not like the feeling of the smooth resin. I like some texture, and a matte look. The most pleasant feeling resin I've handled is from Atelier Momoni.

      2. During quarantine, dolls have been like my friends. I prefer MSD sized dolls but currently don't own any. I like dolls that are easy to carry, as I like to go out with them and photograph them in public. This is definitely something I consider when purchasing. The reason I prefer dolls MSD and not smaller is because I have to make compromises with sewing in smaller scales (fabric doesn't drape right, fabrics too thick for small scales, not being able to put as much detail in pieces etc.)

      3. My favorite thing about BJDs is the way the joints feel when posed. I no longer have her, but I was obsessed with the way the Momonita body handled. As for the non-jointed parts, I'm a huge sucker for detail. I love seeing things like dimpling and bones/muscles. it all adds to the realism for me.

      4. I spend way more time on the clothes because I make them myself, but I fumble around with the wigs a lot more than the clothes once the dolls are dressed. Mostly because all wigs I own are synthetic, and I get OCD about the strands staying together. I usually carry a toothbrush with me. There are fabrics I refuse to sew with, such as velvet and satin, because I don't like their properties (velvet is a lint magnet, and the rough skin of my hands snags satin so it doesn't stay looking nice). I also don't like synthetic yarn wigs because of the plastic-y feeling. Geez, I'm realizing I'm quite tactile lol.

      5. I don't have any delicate dolls, and I'm too careful with them to cuddle them. The closest I'll get is having them sit on my lap. I actually bought some soft-bodied vinyl dolls for cuddling lol.
       
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    13. Yay, I enjoy thinking about the tactile aspect a lot, especially since COVID-19

      1. Do you tend to favor the feel of one company's resin over others? Are there any companies you would never buy from again simply because you didn't like the feel of their resin?
      I really loved my Little Monica Jeremy's resin when I first got him. He had some tooth and texture that was different from my Luts, Dollzone and Resinsoul boys. It reminded me of porcelain, very fine colour and weight along with the nice texture. I've yet to touch a resin that was offputting but I do fine I'm thrown by the slight translucence of enviro resins and my unpainted enviro dolls are all very uncanny to look at.


      2. Does handling a doll have benefits for your mental health (similar to a weighted blanket or a fidget/stim toy)? Which doll(s) do you primarily reach for (and for what reasons)? Does the intended comfort purpose influence the size of doll you tend to buy?

      Absolutely I consider handling dolls therapeutic and even meditative. When I'm feeling stressed I take down all my dolls and spend time changing their outfits, restyling them and whatever. It takes about two hours and is something I can get lost in for that time. I knew that even before COVID and quarantining alone, but being self-isolated reinforced the meditative aspect. I tend to rotate which doll I'm playing with based on whims but I try to play with all my dolls at least a little bit, to make sure I still like them and want them. Size doesn't really influence my purchasing, but I did try to get one in every size and when I'm going out or travelling I have tinies and mature minis specifically to interact with on the road.

      3. When you handle your doll, do you focus more on smooth areas of resin or on joints? Ignoring posing capability and aesthetics, are you attracted to or put off by certain kinds of joints in terms of how they make a doll "feel"? (For example, do you like the smooth sculpting of a doll's hand, or would you rather buy jointed hands and play around with them?)

      I've never noticed particularly, but I do like to hold my dolls hands when I'm sitting with them or they're nearby. It feels very friendly to have something that seems to respond to touch, like holding hands (or very occasionally holding a foot). I imagine getting jointed hands for my crew will add to this friendly feeling.

      4. Does the tactile sensation of various fabrics and wigs influence your doll's style? Any favorite materials, or any you avoid? Do you find yourself playing more with your doll's wigs or clothes than your doll's body?

      The only textures that really get to me are artificial fur wigs. They usually look and feel cheap and not pleasing and it takes a lot of work and style to get them improved. I have exactly one fur wig that looks right and feels right and falls approximately like styled human hair. The rest of my wigs are getting upgraded as I can afford it to either mohair or some other better texture.

      5. Are there any dolls you avoid painting and/or dressing for tactile reasons (such as you handle them so frequently or they have so many joints that chipping would be unavoidable)? Are there any you purposefully leave loose/floppy because even though they're not great at posing, it makes them easier to cuddle?

      I dislike dolls that are floppy, even if I'm just holding them or placing them near me. I like that even my worst posers can still sit naturally and look companionable and friendly. I've tried cuddling dolls that are floppy and they just feel more vulnerable, like broken puppets.
       
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      1. Do you tend to favor the feel of one company's resin over others? Are there any companies you would never buy from again simply because you didn't like the feel of their resin? I don't really have very strict 'favorite' feelings among mine... I love the cool, mostly-smooth feel of resin in general.
      2. Does handling a doll have benefits for your mental health (similar to a weighted blanket or a fidget/stim toy)? Which doll(s) do you primarily reach for (and for what reasons)? Does the intended comfort purpose influence the size of doll you tend to buy? I LOVE the weight of an MSD. While Vince is my primary cuddler (his hand is perfect for holding and one of his feet has always been smoother than the other, so I sometimes rub over that one like a worry stone), when I got Jack I think I spent a good couple hours with him just laying against my chest, and I just chilled out with him like that. I love playing with my tiny dolls, but I don't tend to cuddle with them, they don't have the weight.
      3. When you handle your doll, do you focus more on smooth areas of resin or on joints? Ignoring posing capability and aesthetics, are you attracted to or put off by certain kinds of joints in terms of how they make a doll "feel"? (For example, do you like the smooth sculpting of a doll's hand, or would you rather buy jointed hands and play around with them?) Oh, I'm FIRMLY about smooth hands-- jointed ones are neat, but they're not for me. I like to hold a tiny smooth hand sometimes! And I like to try and blush for realism. I do like a clean line, aesthetically. Stim-wise, joints that click into place are satisfying. I like playing around with joints... but I definitely find I do more of that with the tinies! I pose and re-pose them rather than being primarily cuddle-mode when I have them sitting out with me.
      4. Does the tactile sensation of various fabrics and wigs influence your doll's style? Any favorite materials, or any you avoid? Do you find yourself playing more with your doll's wigs or clothes than your doll's body? I have some serious sensory issues, actually! So I like things to be smooth or soft-- and I won't buy canvas sneakers for my dolls because I hate the sound canvas makes if basically anything touches it (though for meet ups and photo shoots, Vince has borrowed some from my sister's dolls, I just have to be really careful when he's in them, so it's for when he's going to be sitting around getting photographed, not cuddling). Pete's wardrobe has wound up being very athleisure-ly because of my preferences-- I thought he might have more structured/suit-like wardrobe pieces, but I always just put him in leggings/sweats/tees because I find those things touchable.
      5. Are there any dolls you avoid painting and/or dressing for tactile reasons (such as you handle them so frequently or they have so many joints that chipping would be unavoidable)? Are there any you purposefully leave loose/floppy because even though they're not great at posing, it makes them easier to cuddle? I went ahead and gave Pete a full body blush even though I knew dressing and handling would chip it in the end... I don't shy away from touching him, I just figure when it gets really bad I'll redo it, because painting dolls is also a tactile experience for me, and I enjoy the careful handling that I do when I'm sprucing them up. With Vince... I blushed his knees even though I knew they'd chip, because he wears shorts so often and they needed it. My primary reason for not re-stringing him is honestly that I fucked up the first time I tried to restring him, and it's difficult for me and I suck at it-- but, I do think it's a bonus that he's my cuddly doll. He's not too bad, as long as he's sitting, his arms are all right, he just won't stand.
       
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    14. 1. Do you tend to favor the feel of one company's resin over others? Are there any companies you would never buy from again simply because you didn't like the feel of their resin?
      I didn't know I had a subconscious preference until I read this question. I actually do prefer the smooth, dense feel of Volks dolls and the velvet(?)-y feel of older Cerberus Project dolls. As much as I love my Dolkot Kiss, he has the most worrisome tooth to his texture that not only is unlike any other doll I've touched, but also seems more likely to absorb stains.
      2. Does handling a doll have benefits for your mental health (similar to a weighted blanket or a fidget/stim toy)? Which doll(s) do you primarily reach for (and for what reasons)? Does the intended comfort purpose influence the size of doll you tend to buy?
      While I don't have sensory sensitivity, a longstanding coping method for my depression is handling my dolls. The weight of them in my hands feels immediately like a companionship presence. I suppose in this manner it's part of the reason why I'm so attached to the 60cm-sized dolls.
      3. When you handle your doll, do you focus more on smooth areas of resin or on joints? Ignoring posing capability and aesthetics, are you attracted to or put off by certain kinds of joints in terms of how they make a doll "feel"? (For example, do you like the smooth sculpting of a doll's hand, or would you rather buy jointed hands and play around with them?)
      I don't prefer jointed hands for separate reasons unrelated to the tactile experience. If I really think about it, I haven't minded joints in this way at all. I tend to touch their forearms or hands like a worry stone.
      4. Does the tactile sensation of various fabrics and wigs influence your doll's style? Any favorite materials, or any you avoid? Do you find yourself playing more with your doll's wigs or clothes than your doll's body?
      When it comes to wigs, regular good old fiber is fine with me. Some of my dolls have synthetic, angora, and fur but only because it suits the character, otherwise I prefer a wig that is already somewhat styled that I don't have to worry very much about AND I just like the feeling of brushing my fingers through a wig and it doesn't tangle, just falls right back into place. I appreciate that smoothness.
      5. Are there any dolls you avoid painting and/or dressing for tactile reasons (such as you handle them so frequently or they have so many joints that chipping would be unavoidable)? Are there any you purposefully leave loose/floppy because even though they're not great at posing, it makes them easier to cuddle?
      I don't avoid playing with any of them in particular, and any loosely strung dolls simply stay that way for an entirely separate reason.

      This was refreshing to think about! Turns out I'm not particularly heavy on the tactile aspect, but had more of an opinion than I thought I would.
       
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