The Dirks behind the page is me – Wendy Dirks. I am now semi-retired but spent my professional life as a biological anthropologist and palaeontologist. You can find my scientific work elsewhere, e.g. Google Scholar.
I began collecting dolls when I was a child in the 1950s and 60s. My aunt worked for NATO and lived in Paris and then in Brussels. Whenever she came home, she brought a doll from a different country. I also had the original 1959 Barbie, along with her friend Midge, her sister Skipper, her boyfriend Ken, and Midge’s boyfriend Alan. Sadly, I no longer have the originals. When my granddaughter went through a Barbie phase, I rediscovered my love of dolls. Slowly I began collecting them and had several before I even realised what I was doing. I started with the obvious palaeontologist Barbies, both the original and the more recent version, and then added Fossil Finder Lottie. Somehow, at some point, I began to buy dolls having nothing to do with my professional life. I just bought them because I thought they were beautiful. At first I just took photos of them but then I decided to build a doll house for them. Suddenly they took on lives of their own and I began to have a miniature soap opera. The West Enders was born. I am still learning so many things about posing, photographing and creating their spaces.