Friday, June 13, 2008


Robin Armstrong Seeber

Primitive in Art, Innovative in Business

Who says you can’t live small and dream big? That you can’t run an international business from your front porch? Well whoever said that, or believes that, should meet Robin Armstrong Seeber of West Alexander, PA (Population 320). Robin, better known as The Primitive Chandler, is living the small town American dream. A registered nurse of eighteen years, Robin now pursues her true passion by operating Outside the Box Primitives, an innovative primitive folk art business, out of her 138 year old farm house.

What does Outside the Box Primitives do? “I bring dolls to life,” says Robin, “they begin as images in my mind and basically, they don’t leave my mind until I create them.” Using Osnaburg fabric and clay accessories, she personally handcrafts each and every doll from scratch. Design themes ranging from the whimsical, to the fantastical, to the macabre, are for sale daily on her website and through the online auction site EBay. Standing 8 – 11 inches tall and equipped with button-jointed, pose-able limbs, each doll tells a unique and personal story which collectors can read and share. Robin tells of her process, “the doll really begins to communicate its story to me after I’ve finished creating his or her facial expression, so it’s really a fun thing to share that story with interested collectors.” She adds, “But my dolls aren’t just for the avid collector either. While I am at the mercy of inspiration when creating dolls, I’m often influenced by the season, or a particular holiday, so typically you can find a doll on my site that would make a terrific and unique gift for someone.”

Websites like Blogger, EBay, and MySpace have helped to bring more than just raving fans and a strong customer base to the email inbox of The Primitive Chandler. Many of primitive folk arts most respectable industry associations and partners have been in the hunt for her designs. Newly inducted into the prestigious primitive folk artist group PFATT, Robin explains “I’ve worked with FAO Schwarz in the past, and have had ongoing talks with Ashton Drake Galleries, but really my talent and heart is in creating uniqueness for each doll, so licensing my designs for mass production has always been a difficult decision for me.” She stresses, “Outside the Box Primitives will remain a company that strives to put originality first.”

Seemingly disadvantaged by living in a town of just 320 people, Robin attributes the growth and success of her business to the internet. “Without technology, I could only be a store front in the very small downtown of West Alexander, and that would really limit my ability to do this as my career. Thankfully, I’ve been able to develop a large customer base online, so I’m not forced to move to a large metropolitan area. I can live in the country, enjoy time with my husband, my kids, maintain a horse farm, and just really have fun with life.”

If you’re interested in seeing her creations firsthand, The Primitive Chandler recommends you visit her website where you can then follow the links to all of the various sites offering her dolls. Robin can also be reached via email at

written by:
Keith Brawner


Shanna Maria said...

My Husband!

Outside the Box Primitives said...

YES he is my dear...and quite a writer at that. Looking forward to the published version!! mom

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