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2402 W Rd
Bennington, VT, 05201
United States

802-447-7072

A behind-the-scenes look at the R. John Wright Dolls Design Studio in Bennington, Vermont. Written by R. John Wright, hear in his own words how the creative design process unfolds and how the world-renowned RJW dolls and animal characters are readied for production. 

RJW Collector Spotlight

News & Updates

A behind-the-scenes look at the R. John Wright Dolls Design Studio in Bennington, Vermont. Written by R. John Wright, hear in his own words how the creative design process unfolds and how the world-renowned RJW dolls and animal characters are readied for production. 

RJW Collector Spotlight

John Wright

One of the best things about collecting is making your collection your own. How people like to collect is up to them and taking a peek inside a collection of a passionate person is one of our favorite things. Recently, we had the chance to meet Michael Maskery. He is passionate about the Wizard of Oz and his vast collection and ways of displaying it are just as whimsical and fun as the movie. Meet our RJW Collector of the month, Michael Maskery!

 

RJW Editor: Where did you first learn about R. John Wright and what was your first piece? Do you remember what it was like opening that first box?

MM: If memory serves me correctly I think in first discovered the R.J. Wright Oz dolls in 2014 during the 75th anniversary year! I was familiar with R.J. Wright having been a doll collector for years and previously working for companies like FAO Schwarz and The Franklin Mint. I always dabbled in the "doll world". I became a R.J. Wright collector when I was doing some research on the 75th Anniversary collectibles and saw the amazing Dorothy Doll! She was my first R.J. Wright acquisition and I couldn't wait to get her!!!! When I opened the box it was like Dorothy opening the door from the sepia toned Kansas to the colorful world of Oz! Magical!!!!

                                                                                     Michael Maskery standing in front of his Wizard of Oz Collection.

RJW Editor: What character from the Wizard of Oz do you identify with the most?

MM: That's a really tough question!! I think at certain times I identify with certain characters! I think like the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion we all have a brain, heart and courage, sometimes we just need a little reminder that we possess all of those qualities! And Dorothy too, we all want a home and family that loves us. If your fortunate to have those things then what else do you need?!?!.... I think if I had to pick just one I'd have to say the Tin Man. "Remember my sentimental friend.. That a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others."

I have been a long time Oz collector. My collection began with a coloring book (pictured) which I received as a birthday gift when I was either 4 or 5 yrs old.. As you can see I still have it. I believe it’s from 1939!
I have been very fortune to have built up quite an extensive collection over the years, which includes, autographs of the principle players as well as many of the Munchkins!! I was fortunate enough to speak with Margaret Pellegrini (one of the original Munchkins) on the telephone after sending her a letter!
I feel very fortunate to have been able to see these treasures in person and up close!! I’ve included a few pictures for you to enjoy from these auctions.
Throughout my years of collecting I have also been fortunate to attend a few Hollywood Memorabilia auctions, most notably the recent TCM auctions held at Bonham’s in NYC.
I have met so many wonderful people who share my passion and joy, including John Fricke, who is the leading authority on all things Oz and Judy Garland. He has written several books on each subject. I also had the good fortune to meet Willard Carroll who is the owner of one of if not the largest Oz collection in the world! He owns the original Witch’s Hourglass, one of Judy’s test dresses and Jerry Maren’s original “Lollipop Guild” costume!!
My collection also includes many books, (some first edition “Oz” books, the RJW Scarecrow just happens to be sitting on a few), magazines, photographs and dolls!
Of all the dolls in my collection I must say that the R. John Wright Dolls are the absolute pinnacle and the real standouts of my collection!! They are unbelievably crafted and so highly detailed that Adrian himself would be proud!!
Acquiring the RJW Dolls has definitely renewed my passion for collecting Oz memorabilia, these characters hold a very special place in my heart and each time I acquire a new piece or that signature green RJW Box shows up on my doorstep it’s like being reunited with an old friend!!
These amazing collectibles have also sparked my creative side and inspired me to create an “Emerald City” display case for the mice.
...and my next project will be a shadow box to house and display Dorothy’s Basket and Ruby Slippers!
I can’t wait to add the Tin Man and Lion!! I’m so excited at the potential for more Oz characters and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Glinda as I know if you create her she will be absolutely breathtaking!!!! (If the little mouse is any indication of what a large scale Glinda will be, I’ll be in seventh heaven!!!)
I want to thank you for this wonderful opportunity and for continuing to inspire us to believe in a land “somewhere over the rainbow, where the dreams you dare to dream really do come true!!
I thank you for your passion and wonderful creativity in crafting these amazing dolls and collectibles!
Mr. Wright - as you can see, your creations are the highlights of my collection.
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RJW Editor: If you could ask R. John Wright a question, what would it be?

Michael Maskery: I think I would ask Mr. Wright what inspires him day in and day out to keep creating and how does he go about beginning the creative process?

R. John Wright: "Being naturally creative, what I do has become so much a part of me that it is hard to imagine not doing it! And I know Susan feels the same way. We have projects on the 'back burner' for years - sometimes decades! - before we move them front and center. Among these are such things as the Wind in the Willows, Peter Pan, Hans Christian Andersen, etc. The list is endless as we are always finding new things that inspire us. I suppose the creative process begins when we put a project on our list because it is then that we begin to envision it as made by us. Once we set a project in motion it compels us to reach our goal of having it turn out as close as we can to that vision. A friend told me years ago that I was the most 'goal-oriented' person she had ever known and I think I know what she meant! Susan and I are our own worst critics so it sometimes takes longer than we would like to realize our ambitions."

Michael's wish to R. John Wright:


Are you a passionate collector? If you would like to be interviewed for a collector spotlight, please email us!