When people come into my booth, the smiles on their faces are most gratifying. "Josephine's Family Dolls" are lovingly handmade with simple embroidered smiles, needle sculpted noses, and beautifully painted and embroidered eyes. Bodies and clothing are made of the highest quality materials with an eye for aesthetics. Various colors and textures of yarn 'hair' imported from all over the world is hand sewn to the head to ensure longevity. No glue or Velcro is used in the construction of dolls or garments.
Lucille Gruppo, creator of "Josephine's Family" cloth dolls has been making original dolls for 28 years. When my mother Josephine passed away in 1993, I decided to name my dolls in memory of her. The tiny seashell sewn onto the left cheek of most of my dolls is taken from one of Josephine's necklaces. The seashell has become my trademark, ties all the beautiful and exceptional hues of children together, and makes them all members of "Josephine's Family".
In 1994 I was juried into the Artisans' Circle Craft Guild, Northampton County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen. After Artisans' Circle dissolved, I was juried into the Reading/Berks Chapter. I continued on to become State Juried as a Master Craftsman by the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen in 1998. Juried status is an Honors award, a form of recognition earned by Guild members whose craftwork show excellence of craftsmanship, resolved design, and a flavor of style unique to the craftsperson. This award carries with it the responsibility of maintaining high quality work and supporting Guild standards.
In 1998, my Victorian Doll, "Sue", was featured in the Inspirations Gallery' of Soft Dolls and Animals, an internationally circulated doll magazine.
In 2000 "Honour" was featured on the prestigious 'Back Page' of the same magazine.
My doll "Anna Maria" won 'Honorable Mention' and was featured in the December, 2002 issue SDA.
I was very flattered to be chosen from all the wonderful dollmakers in the world to create a Signature Doll for SDA magazine. Named for my daughter Danielle, "Danny" appears on the cover of the January, 2005 issue in his 'Winter Jumpsuit' and includes my original patterns. 'Danny' is also featured in the May, 2005 issue in his 'Summer Romper' with 'Toy Blocks', all original designs.
Several of my selected 'Christmas Ornaments' patterns were featured in the December, 2006 issue.
Soft Dolls and Animals magazine has featured my original "Baby Bunting" pattern in the March, 2004 issue. Created first as a 'Teaching Doll', Baby Bunting has appealed to children and adults of all ages, becoming my most popular doll.
Baby Bunting has again been highlighted in the March, 2009 issue featuring "Baby Themes".
In addition, articles about my dolls have been published in many newspapers over the years.
My designs are always changing in order to perfect my craft. While working towards this goal, I am having the most fun creating dolls and meeting all the wonderful people who take a member of Josephine's Family into their homes.