Friday, November 9, 2007

About me...

The designer and owner of Teka and Zoe is Michelle Mahler.  Michelle is a busy mom and 3 (all under 3 years).  Her creative background started when she was very young designing clothes for herself and her dolls.  She got her BS in Textiles and Clothing is 1983.  One month later she move to LA looking for that pot of gold...To become the latest Calvin Kline.  She designed Jewelry, Sweatshirts and T's selling them throughout the Los Angeles area, all the while working a "corporate job" as a buyer.   

Years later she became the Product Develop Manager for Franklin Heirloom Dolls, traveling throughout the Far East.  All the while designing and selling her own miniature dolls and fashions all over the US and England.  She was renowned for the incredible china painted eyes  The dolls eyes to the right are only 4mm wide.  The Franklin Mint decided to close down the Los Angeles design studio, Michelle stayed with the Franklin Mint for another year designing dolls from home and working with the design studio in Taiwan as the liaison.   Along with this she also started to design dolls for the Reeves International (Breyer Horses- yes little cowboys and girls). 

For her own dolls her "Buyer" instincts were to always find the best price on the fine fabrics and trims she uses.  This led to finding wholesale suppliers and buying in larger quantities.  With all the loads of wonderful trims and fine fabrics it only made sense to start to sell little bits at shows along with her dolls.  Share the wealth with other miniaturists and doll artist's.   (to the left a pair of Regency period dolls- under 6" tall)

At the same time Michelle and Jeff decided to make the long needed change to get out of LA.  They decided to move to Gardnerville, NV.  Gardnerville is at the foot of the Sierra's in Northern Nevada, 20 minutes from Lake Tahoe.   This big moved coincided with the exciting change to step out of the "Corporate" life and for Michelle to go out on her own.  Thus Doll Artist's Workshop ( was expanded to a full time career, a complete on-line store selling all things fine to doll artist, miniaturists, quilters and the like.   

In 2004 the BIG CHANGE!  After 17 years of marriage Michelle and Jeff took the plunge and had kids.  Zachary, Nicolas and Natalie are  here enriching their lives.    This coincided with doll making burnout.  Working with porcelain was just not fun anymore.   One day a customer sent Michelle a link....she was looking for a certain ribbon for a necklace she was making.  The link was to jewelry artist Heidi Hale.   Michelle had dabbled in jewelry making, taking a class in Lampworking...of course she loves wearing jewelry!    But she thought "All that bead stringing, not to sure I am into that".   But something about Heidi's website just blew her away, it clicked - Ok, I get it it not just bead stringing!  She just felt compelled, starting by researching stones, buying a few books, taking a few classes, BUYING TO MANY BEADS!!   "Some days I just have to cut and pound on some sterling or twist some wire"  It is over...she is obsessed. 

We hope you enjoy her obsession.

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