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Childhood love, adult outrage drive Barbie jewelry artist

BEACON, N.Y. (Reuters) – Margaux Lange, 39, proclaimed her lifelong love of Barbie, then yanked off the enduring doll’s head and plunged a scalpel into its eyes, carving them out.

What seemed like a ritualistic mutilation was truly a creative maneuver by Lange, a silversmith who stated her jewelry created from salvaged Barbie doll components encased in sterling silver sells for as much as $three,000.

“Very few people feel indifferent about her,” stated Lange, whose gross sales are pushed partially by criticism that the curvaceous doll has created an unrealistic physique picture for women and objectified girls because it was first launched in 1959.

“Lots of people love that they can wear a piece of their childhood,” Lange stated in an interview at her dwelling studio in Beacon, New York, about 60 miles (96 km) north of New York City. “Others look at Barbie a little more critically and they like seeing her reimagined in this form.”

One of Lange’s reimaginings is a $220 necklace that includes a Barbie arm with little pink coral blood droplets connected by silver chains.

Since Barbie’s creation by Mattel Inc toy firm co-founder Ruth Handler, the doll’s recognition has waxed and waned with a sequence of transformations meant to broaden her ethnic enchantment and easy out her voluptuous physique to look extra like most girls.

Art jeweler, Margaux Lange, makes jewelry out of Barbie components, in Beacon, New York, U.S., May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Roselle Chen

Barbie’s 180 careers have included such ground-breaking roles as astronaut (1965), firefighter (1995) and pilot (1999), based on Mattel’s web site. She even cracked what some see because the hardest U.S. glass ceiling, when the corporate made a President Barbie doll in 2016.

Her longtime boyfriend Ken, whose buff chest and chiseled face are also encased in silver in Lange’s rings, brooches and necklaces, underwent a makeover of his personal to bolster sagging gross sales. Mattel in 2017 supplied Ken in a variety of physique sorts and pores and skin tones for each ethnicity, with man buns and cornrows.

Lange is all the time looking out for the basic old-time Barbie, with pink lips, at storage gross sales, thrift retailer and flea markets.

After Mattel contacted her for a Barbie collector’s catalog, she made rings displaying Barbie footwear heels after which expanded her creations within the “Plastic Body Series,” which she has been crafting for 20 years.

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“I fell in love with Barbie as a child,” stated Lange, a graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art. “I was obsessed with Barbie dolls and playing in and creating her miniature world.”

Writing by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Susan Thomas

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