Nini Doll - the fully sculpted doll by Jonathan Hayes

Dear Nini Friends,

It has always been my ambition to create a fully sculpted doll alongside my fabric and plaster resin-headed dolls and in the last few months I have been moving that dream to a reality.

Beginning with a 15” tall sculpt in clay I worked for many hours to develop a new head and body for a full body sculpt. Once I’d reached a point where I was happy with the proportions and overall look of the sculpt I moved on to more technological methods to develop the doll further. The technology side is very new to much and with some training I learned quickly how to take scans of my clay sculpture, blend the scans together using up-to-the-minute 3d computer software and then convert this information into a set of matrices that can be read by a 3D printer.

I’m now in the throes of 3D printing prototypes in a miniature form of 20 cm tall and checking on how the separate components join together, articulate, pose and stand. I was thrilled to find that the first 3D printed prototype is able to stand by itself and also hold a handstand unaided! There’s still a little way to go by things are looking promising and I’ve been adding photos to the Nini website page and also on social media pages. Thank you to everyone who is coming along for the ride!

The little 20cm tall Nini seems to be quite a popular little doll so far and I am looking at developing this size further. I will most likely create a set of moulds with the view to cast dolls in the same plaster resin as I use for my fabric-bodied doll heads. I will also be investigating some other materials. This little doll will be known as the Nini Doll Mini.

A fully sculpted Nini in 30cm and 38cm heights is also being considered. Once I have established a successful miniature prototype I will develop the larger dolls also. I’m also looking at a few different head sculpt options to explore different face shapes.

Please do keep checking in to follow the progress of my fully sculpted dolls as well as my fabric-bodied Nini dolls. I’m working on both in conjunction in my quest to one day become a full-time doll maker.

With very best wishes,

Jonny X


Nini Doll xxxi 'Dutiful Dreamer' coming very soon! by Jonathan Hayes

Dear Nini Friends,

I hope you are all well and I thank you for dropping by to my Nini gallery website.

I’m delighted to say that my latest Nini boy, ‘Dutiful Dreamer’, is going to be launched imminently. He is largely based upon images of children from Tibet, particularly those wearing traditional festival dress. He is a wise and happy little chap who loves his life, but also dreams of true peace. The mountain air has given him a beautiful rosy glow to his cheeks and a brightness to his dark, thoughtful eyes.

I will be sending out an email in the next few days to all those who have kindly requested to be on the Nini Doll mailing list. Please contact me at if you would like to join the list. I’d be delighted to hear from you.

With my best wishes and looking forward to debuting my Nini boy very soon!


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Ballet Girls - available to buy by Jonathan Hayes

Dear Nini Friends,

I’m delighted to say that after another busy week that the second of my two girls in the ‘After the Ballet’ series is now available to find a new home. I wonder if they will go to separate homes or stay together? Whichever the case may be I’m sure that they will be very happy and loved wherever they may go into the world. I find the thought of where they might end up so exciting and hope that they bring joy.

I wish you all a wonderful Easter weekend and thank you for all of your kind interest in my Nini doll-making.

Jonny X

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A busy week! by Jonathan Hayes

Dear Nini Friends,

It’s been another busy week, but I’ve had much of the weekend to myself and time to create Nini. I’ve added various photos of ‘After the Ballet’ Doll I to her gallery page on this website and also on my Nini Doll Facebook and Instagram pages. By simply clicking on the social media symbols at the top right of the web page you can follow my Nini doll-making as it happens.

I can’t wait for my Ballet Girl doll be be complete and side-by-side with her sister in all their finery. I very much had two of my cousins in mind when I drew the girls and my memories of them as children have been very much at the fore as I have ‘brought the sketches to life’. It’s always intriguing to see how a 2 dimensional drawing becomes a 3 dimensional doll. I try to be as faithful as I can within the boundaries of the materials I have.

I hope you enjoy the latest photographs. I have especially enjoyed creating the faux lambswool cape. The lining is a printed silk fabric designed by my hero Oliver Messel. The fabric was originally a scarf sold to commemorate the Queen’s Jubilee in 1977. It had some wear and I always had in mind that it would one day be used for a ‘ballet-themed girl’. Messel, a ‘bright young thing’ in the 1920’s and highly skilled artist and designer created costumes and sets for several ballets, particularly for the then ‘Sadlers Wells’ ballet company (now the Royal Ballet). His costumes for the ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ were originally adorned by such greats as Margot Fonteyn and Robert Helpmann.

With best wishes and looking forward to my new girl joining her sister in her debut within the next week or two.

Jonny X

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Nini Doll - After the Ballet by Jonathan Hayes

Dear Nini Friends,

I hope that you are all well.

I’m pleased to say that I’ve managed to focus on my Nini Doll making and that both of the ‘After the Ballet’ doll sisters will soon be complete. Doll II is looking for a home and will soon be joined by her sister.

I have added various photographs of ‘After the Ballet’ doll I to her page on this website and hope that you enjoy them. Similar to her sister, she features some bold colours, and soon she shall have a white faux fur / faux lambswool hooded coat to complete her outfit. The two dolls will be both complimentary to each other, but also reflect their two different personalities. I really hope that you like them as much as I am enjoying making them.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries at I am, as always, very happy to consider lay-away options.

Very best wishes,

Jonny X

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Introducing 'After the Ballet' (Doll 2) by Jonathan Hayes

Dear Nini Friends,

I hope you are all well and enjoying the joys of spring - if you’re in the northern hemisphere that is!

I’ve been working away in much of my spare time on my latest two girls, sisters, named “After the Ballet” - Dolls I and II. I’m delighted to announce that I have completed one of them, the slightly older of the two girls, with her sister being not too far off completion. They are being offered for ‘adoption’ separately.

After the Ballet - Doll II is a confident girl who knows her own mind and looks after her younger sister. She is bold and vibrant and this is reflected in her clothing. Her blazing orange faux fur coat and her spotted shirt are both created from fabrics that I have had for some time, fabrics that I’ve been itching to use. I am pleased to have found just the right doll and personality for them. Teamed with strong blacks and other orange tones, they have been able to create a bold and luxurious outfit.

The two girls are inspired by some very well dressed children I saw leaving a matinee ballet performance at the Royal Opera House last year. They also recall my cousins as children and the relationships between siblings, their differing personalities. They call to mind the stories of Snow White and Rose Red, sisters with contrasting personalities, but also very much girls cast from the same mould.

Please feel free to contact me with any enquiries at I am very happy to offer lay-away and always interested to hear of any possible commissions, I am as always looking at the evolution and development of my doll making and my future plans. I strive to make doll making the heart of my working life and thank you all who show so much interest in my creativity,

With next wishes,

Jonny X


The happiest of New Years to you all! by Jonathan Hayes

Dear Nini Friends,

I hope that you have all enjoyed a festive time of late and are easing yourselves into the start of a new year. Something tells me that 2019 is going to be an exciting one for me and filled with change…

I’ve added a few new photographs to the website today, including a few more of my ‘Girl of Spring’ and her lamb. She’s looking for a new home and I just know that she’ll find the perfect fit. I’ve considered offering the pretty country lass and the lamb separately for sale, but really, how could I even think of ever parting them from one another?! They are both currently watching me make a start on my next two dolls, two sisters inspired by a recent trip to the ballet. I’ll be adding some new photographs of their progress very soon.

Over Christmas I’ve created a couple of new sketches - ‘Boy and Lion’ and ‘Follow the Leader’. I’ve featured them in my Nini Doll Sketches gallery page and also added one of the sketches below. I’ll be offering high quality printed versions of some of my sketches in the very near future and will be offering them for sale both via the website, on Facebook and also in my new Etsy shop. I’ll provide more details very soon, including a link to the Etsy ‘NiniDollShop’.

I’d like to wish you all the very best of health and happiness for 2019. This is going to be a busy year!

With my thanks as always for all your interest and support,

Jonny and Nini Dolls xx

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any enquiries regarding my dolls - past, present and future. I always offer a lay-away option, am interested to hear any offers, ideas or special commission enquiries via email to


A new Nini for Christmas! by Jonathan Hayes

Dear Nini Friends,

Apologies for my lack of news updates recently, it has been a busy time, but thankfully a productive one.

I am delighted to have completed my latest Nini doll ‘Girl of Spring’ who is now available to buy along with the little spring lamb that I have created especially for her. She is a very kind-hearted girl who loves to take in the smaller spring lambs to ensure that they are very well cared for. She’s very much a country girl inspired by my maternal grandmother and her stories of growing up in the countryside. She has the softness of natures and I am hoping that she will find the perfect home. Please do not hesitate to contact me by email at to discuss her price and lay-away options. I would be delighted if she were to find that ideal place to come and stay and am open to your kind offers.

I have made a start on my next two dolls, sisters, who were inspired by a recent trip to the Royal Opera House. They are being created under the name ‘After the Ballet’ and will be available separately. One is a little more shy than the other and can’t wait to see their personalities develop as I make them.

I’d like to thank each and every one who has taken the time and trouble to visit my website and the various other sites where my Nini Dolls feature. Your comments and interest are a constant source of encouragement and inspiration to the creative process and inspire me to continue developing my work and doll making skills.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years.

Jonny X

A busy time! by Jonathan Hayes

Dear Nini Friends,

I hope you are all well!

Many thanks as always for checking in on the latest Nini Doll news. It has been a very busy time for me over the last few months which has involved making some significant decisions that will hopefully mean more dedicated time for my Nini Doll making in the future. This post may read as a little more personal than some so forgive me for indulging myself!

Behind the scenes I have been preparing for a move away from London, at first without fully realising it. I have lived in London for 25 years now and it has been a incredible place to live with so many opportunities and wonderful friends. I think the combination of my age and a series of events in the last few years have slowly but surely brought me to a point where I am ready to set up house elsewhere, but hopefully still within easy distance. In recent months I’ve invested many days and hours working on my flat and the communal areas and gardens because I enjoy it, but also as I have fully come to realise, because I am preparing to leave it behind. I’ve juggled this with a job that has become full-time again and also with my Nini Doll making wherever I can fit it in. My Nini making has had to take a step back in the last few months, but with the hope that I will eventually have a lot more time to invest in it. Doll making has fully presented itself as something that makes me tick and draws upon all of my creative interests. I have to listen to that tick and act upon it.

My flat is now ready and about to go on the market and I’m looking to have more time in the evenings and at weekend to invest in my passion. My ‘Little Sunshine’ doll is almost ready and I hope to reveal her soon.

Thank you for all of your continued interest and support. I appreciate every little bit.

With very best wishes,


Little Sunshine! by Jonathan Hayes

Dear Nini Friends,

What a hot summer we are having and what an eventful year it has been. I am currently in the process of down-scaling certain areas of my life in order to up-scale my Nini production. The time I have available to explore my own creativity has been restricted of late and I plan to turn that around again as soon as possible!

Im pleased that my latest doll, 'Little Sunshine', is taking shape. I have uploaded a few photos of the work in progress, showing her summer dress almost complete and the golden yellow socks in production. I'm making her a little shorter than some of my previous dolls as I very much wanted her to have a younger girl's proportions. She's a sweet natured girl, perhaps a little nervous in unfamiliar company and situations, but will grow to be bold and confident I'm sure! I am using fabrics kindly donated by a dear friend that belonged to her parents in the late 1960s / early 1970s. They are such sunny colours and I just had to draw and create a doll around the fabrics.

I hope to complete Little Sunshine in the next few weeks so please keep checking in for updates on her and other future dolls.

Best wishes to you all,