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.
The deadline for submitting entries for the 2021 Directory of Traditional American Crafts has past. All entries we have recevied are being processed and will be submitted to the jurors for anonymous judging. The 2021 Directory will appear in the August 2021 edition of Early American Life. Please do not call us. We cannot report on the status of any particular entry until the Directory is published..
1,878 days until America's Sestercentennial
Our June 2021 edition has been printed on schedule and is on its way to all of our subscribers. Because of the Covid-19 situation, postal delivery has been spotty. Email us at email@example.com if you suspect you have had a delivery problem—because our offices remained closed for the protection of our staff, we cannot answer telephone queries at this time.
All new web subscriptions will start with the August 2021 issue. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have other subscription requirements.