New Artist Profile
(From Dollmaking Magazine December 2000 Issue)
Santa Claus has always been synonymous with the spirit of giving and love. However Juelie McLean, affectionately known as the "Santalady " gives her porcelain creations a whole new twist. Using customers' own heirloom fabrics andjewelry, Juelie makes one-of-a-kind Santas that are truly works of art.
Juelie's background in dolls easily evolved into Santas. About 10 years ago, she and her mother saw some Santas at a craft fair so they both decided to make one. Juelie quickly finished her doll and her mom's as well. She enjoyed it so much that she made many more and soon people began requesting them.
Juelie styles her Santas in "olde world " Europe or Russian tradition. Much of her inspiration comes from a collection of almost 1,000 vintage Santa post cards from the turn of the century. Her "Mountain Man " Santa is particularly unique in that it incorporates her two major doll making interests - Native American and Santa.
Juelie also specializes in custom work, which is the source of the majority of her income. Customers often bring old family furs, fabrics or wedding gowns and have her design a very special and meaningful Santa for them. She and the customer work together in the designing so the customer plays an active role in the outcome.
"Olde World " and New World
When Juelie learned how expensive it would be to make changes to the site, she decided to learn to do it herself. She started with a free home site on Geocities when there was about 80,000 home sites (today there are literally millions) and learned html (the internet language) and website design. When she felt competent, she took over her own site that has now grown into a huge Victorian Christmas site. During Christmas thne she average over 2,000 people a day visiting.
Juelie no longer does shows because she keeps very busy with orders coming in from the internet. She has also gotten into web design for other artists and doll-related businesses. She often gets calls from doll artists asking for internet advice because they see her link everywhere. She's happy to comply because she remembers when it was all new to her too.
She also states that "search engines " are not a cure-all when you consider the multitude of sites out there. Domain names are an important tool to make the internet work more successfully for you.
Finally, she adds: "Finding the right ISP to host your site and the right website designer for you are key elements. Maybe you will want to learn to do some of it yourself. "
One of Juelie's favorite ways of sharing ideas on the internet is her e-mail group of Santa makers. The members ask and give each other advice. Juelie and another Santa artist, Patty McCarty of West Virginia, own the "Santa Ring. " The ring connects about 60 santa makers together via a "ring " so a visitor can go directly from one Santa artist to another in a complete circle.
Juelie likens the internet "family " with Santa's spirit of giving. She adds: "The most refreshing thing about the internet is that people are willing to share and work together, even if they are competitors. "
All images and content © 2000 Dollmaking Magzine
Return to Santalady's Main Page
MT Man Santa/Kiyuwaste Dolls
Santas From Your "Wedding" Gown
Meet the Artist
Brief History of Santa
Gift Givers of the World
Santalady's Antique Santa Postcards
Santalady's Victorian Christmas GIFS
Webdesign by Juelie
Vintage Santa Musical DVD
Santa Bulletin Board
Santa Collector's Bulletin Board
Santalady's Book Shoppe
Santalady's Favorite Links
Doll House Accessories
Juelie's State Flower Garden of GIFS