Gary Sowatzka is a nationally known Master Doll Doctor, instead of a tour of the Doll Hospital, work with Gary for a whole week, and actually restore your own dolls.
He has extensive knowledge of antique dolls, which enables him to give accurate appraisals on many different types of dolls. He has researched the art of doll restoration to become one of the nation's best Master Doll Doctors. Now, after much deliberation, he has decided to share his knowledge of doll restoration with a limited number of students. Learn from the master. He will fill you in on the secrets of restoring dolls to their original condition. He will give advice on which dolls to restore and which ones are more valuable "as is." For a limited time, Gary will reveal his secrets and product knowledge. See his amazing before and after pictures, and read letters from some of his many satisfied customers. Not only is the art of doll restoration a wonderful hobby, but it is a lucrative business as well. Act fast, classes are filling up. Learn the art and business aspect of doll restoration.

Doll Restoration Seminars

The seminars are a week long intensive study in the Art of Doll Restoration. You will complete the restoration on a composition doll from beginning to end, and learn other techniques which will include restoration techniques for hard plastics, paper mache, and bisque repair. No questions will be unanswered on restoration or product use. Air brush techniques will also be covered, and the product knowledge working with color and sealers to produce the period look desired.

Seminar fee - $1750

For more information about our seminars, or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us

Restoration Class Options

In the past I have many prospective students tell me that they could not attend one of the week long seminars for various reasons, and asked me to consider different class options. Because of this I offer classes set up for the student's convenience, teaching more one-on-one. The class fee is also much less cost prohibitive. The curriculum is the same and the student can cover areas of their interest.

  1. Qualifying your customer needs and expectations
  2. Pricing restoration correctly
  3. Restoration work order procedures
  4. Pictorial information and storage
  5. Doll restoration handling and storage
  6. Actual composition evaluation / what to do, what not to do
  7. Composition restoration process and product knowledge
    1. Preparing composition for repair
    2. Filling and sanding procedures
    3. Second filling and sanding procedures
    4. Sealing process
  8. Airbrushing/working with products. How to use related to process
  9. Finishing artwork and assembly procedures
  10. Insuring your customer's dolls
  11. Customer relation/after restoration follow up

Class fee - $350 per day

*minimum 3 days of instruction, with no minimum number of students

If this appeals to your situation feel free to contact Gary for more information. We will try and select class dates to accommodate your schedule.

Old World Sleep Eye Class

This class is set up to teach this unusual aspect of doll restoration. A must if you are restoring antique German, and French dolls, whether they are made of porcelain, celluloid, or paper mache. You will be taught how to use the correct type of eye, and size eye's for the head having the eye system custom made to fit. The eye system will be made up to fit the doll as they were originally using the same old world technique. We will cover adding eyelashes to the eye system as was done with certain antique dolls. You will also learn the different tricks in successfully accomplishing this task, so you will have success any time you need set this type of eye systems. This is only a one-day class. You can bring two of your own antique heads or reproduction heads to complete. The cost you save on having someone else do this type of repair will actually pay for your class. You will really get a sense of achievement in being able to do this type of repair yourself.

Class fee - $350 per day

*plus the cost of the eyes. Cost varies with the size of doll's head having this restoration. Average cost for German blown glass eyes runs $18 - $25.

If you have any questions concerning availability of class dates, would like more information on the services, or need assistance with lodging please feel free to contact Gary or Louise.

Directions to Sowatzka's Dolls

By Vehicle:

We are approximately 350 miles from Chicago.

From Madison:

Take Highway 51 North to Woodruff. Turn right on Highway 47 and continue 6 miles to Lake Tomahawk. In the middle of town (first cross street) turn left. Continue driving one block and turn left. After turning, continue for one block. Our location is then on the left at 7273 Kelly Drive.

From Duluth:

Take Highway 2 East to 51 South. Turn left on Highway 47 and continue 6 miles to Lake Tomahawk. In the middle of town (first cross street) turn left. Continue driving one block and turn left. After turning, continue for one block. Our location is then on the left at 7273 Kelly Drive.

For more specific directions, refer to the map below

View Larger Map

By Plane:

Arriving at the Rhinelander Airport:

Oneida County via Northwest Air Link. Estimated drive time to Sowatzka's is approximately 20 minutes

Arriving at the North Central Airport:

Mosinee, Marathon County via Northwest Air, United Air, and Skyway Air links. Estimated drive time to Sowatzka's is approximately 90 minutes. Guests will be met by arrangement or car may be rented at terminal.

For more information about our seminars, or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us

A message from Gary to prospective students:

All the people I have taught the Art of Doll Restoration over the years have gone on to either do their own restorations or have started their own doll hospitals. It also gives them a sense of accomplishment to know that they can help people through this art form of Doll Restoration, which is very rewarding for the restorer as well as the recipient of their work. Keep in mind, this work will also move on to the next generation, to love, and Cherish. If you do your restoration with this in mind, it will take you where you should be in the Art of Doll Restoration.

The one thing I have learned in 30 years in this business is that you will find your own market, so don't be afraid to help other people, and share your knowledge, it will come back to you in un expected ways. People will search you out because of the quality restoration you do, your professional attitude, and they will be able to tell that you love what you do.

I can usually tell when meeting a person if they really have the fire and love of dolls to give them the drive to succeed in this endeavor. There is no secret to this, you have the desire to learn restoration or not. I give people the raw knowledge to succeed, its up to them to take that information to a new level, and make the world a better place for other people, as well as themselves.

Gary G. Sowatzka