On view near the library’s entrance is a set of American Girl-style dolls wearing out-of-this-world Star Wars costumes made by Kathy van Beuningen. These 18-inch versions of Kathy’s full-sized costumes show a level of detail suitable for the big screen, but scaled for our display cases.
The garments on these Jawas might be made from ragged material, but they boast the same intricate stitching as the fine fabrics of a Princess Leia dress across the way.
Incredibly, Kathy uses almost exclusively recycled and reused materials for her doll costumes. Other people’s trash is her treasure as she incorporates empty thread spools, candy wrappers, broken jewelry, and other odds and ends into her creations. She finds dolls at secondhand stores, though she must occasionally purchase new doll stands, modeling clay, and shoes.
Kathy takes great care with accessories as well as suits: note the helmet at the feet of this Darth Vader.
The faces of some dolls, including Queen Amidala and this imposing Darth Maul, are painted by Kathy’s husband, Vince Newkirk.
Look for your favorite characters in the display, then watch them come to life on Star Wars Day, Sunday, August 24. Kathy and other members of the 501st Legion Midwest Garrison and Rebel Legion: Nar Shaddaa base will be bringing us some special guests during the big event. Stop by to ask Kathy about her costumes, visit our photo booth, and test your Star Wars knowledge with trivia! May the Force be with you…