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All dolled up

November 28, 2004|by ANDREA ROWLAND

SHARPSBURG - Stepping into doll maker Terry Stone's Sharpsburg home is like walking into Santa's workshop.

A life-size replica of St. Nick stands in one corner of the dining room; Nunzio and other elves grace tabletops and antique sleds; a fairy rides the pig pulling Santa's toy-filled cart for an "enchanted delivery"; Nunzio grasps a long list of naughty children's names; antique toys brim from clay bags; an elf hands Santa a child's gift wish list - actually a copy of the holiday letter that Stone wrote to St. Nick when she was 6 years old.

The full-time accountant has been crafting one-of-a-kind dolls and whimsical scenes using sculpting clay, wire, wood, acrylic paint, powder pastels, porcelain eyes, mohair and human hair, vintage textiles, high-end silks and antique toys for more than 16 years. Stone taught herself how to work with clay after making salt dough ornaments for holiday gifts, she said.

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"People say my work is so unusual because I created it on my own," said Stone, 45. Her elaborate dolls range in cost from about $500 to $10,000, depending upon the size and complexity of the piece. She said her work - which has sold in New York and other large markets - appeals to people of all ages and both genders.

"I call them 'manly sculptures' because men seem to really enjoy the humor of the work," Stone said. "People seem to enjoy my art even if they can't afford to buy it."

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