Nancy Malay started making soft-sculpture cloth dolls about 30 years ago. Her Father was a skilled cabinetmaker and her mother was a seamstress, who nurtured her love of sewing. Her business started with people bringing bring her their antique dolls to dress in period clothing. Malay would make the appropriate outfit from scratch—she never used patterns when dressing these dolls and enjoyed researching the history of doll making.
Malay launched her first website, The Christmas Lady, in 2003. Its success led to a second, The Cottontail Collection, which features her soft-sculpture rabbits and chicks, which she started the next year. Today, Malay has combined them into one, NancyMalay.com. All of Malay's sculpture is available to individual purchasers, shops, and galleries from all over the World.
Malay uses a variety of materials to make her creations including papier mache, paperclay, vintage batting, clay, and cloth. She loves little children dressed in bunny costumes, whimsy and the look of old tinsel. Vintage fabric and trims are her first choices, but they are sometimes hard to come by. She has a large collection of antique lace, silks and trims. Adding mica and German glass glitter really gives her pieces an old-fashioned look. Although she loves both the elaborate, Victorian look, and the whimsical style of Folk Art, one of her favorite styles is the simple, time-worn appearance of primitive. Nancy enjoys scouring antique shops, garage sales and flea markets to find fabric and treasures to use for her work.
Malay finds her inspiration in many places, including books and old postcard collection she inherited from her Grandmother. This collection is filled with wonderful old images, many with Easter and Christmas themes.
"Being a self-taught artist has its advantages," noted Malay, "because it helps you develop your own style, learning many things by trial-and-error." Malay has never had any formal art training, except for a few general art classes in College. She graduated with a double major in Public Relations and Marketing.
Malay lives in Faribault, Minnesota, with, Rick, her husband of almost thirty years. They have three grown sons, and a daughter-in-law. "What started out as a hobby many years ago has turned into a real labor of love," said Malay.
Nancy Lee Malay has been selected for the following Directories:
Biography updated October 3, 2016 Photograph updated October 3, 2016Contact information updated July 7, 2011
Or call 440-543-8566 to subscribe or buy back issues.
Early American Life Collection
If you're looking for products advertised in the magazine exclusive to our readers, click on the Shopping tab at the top right of your screen. Because of demand, our Wodland Gifts Santa by Stacee Droit is available only on a first come, first serve basis by telephone order starting on September 23 at the start of our business day, 8AM Eastern Daylight Time.
2,356 days until America's Sestercentennial
2020 Directory Applications
If you are an artist interested in applying for the 2020 Directory of Traditional American Crafts, you can obtain an application by clicking here.
Our regular December 2019 edition is on its way to all of our subscribers. The postal service advises you should allow up to three weeks for delivery, so we expect all of our subscribers will have their copies by November.
All new web subscriptions will start with the April 2020 issue. Call us at 440-543-8566 if you have other subscription requirements.