Here I am – back from a wonderful 3 days doll show in Preili.
Preili is a cosy tiny tidy Latvian town where all cultural life is circling around dolls. Thanks to Vladlena (Vladimir and Lena Michailovs) Preili has a new tradition – a yearly doll show, where doll artists from different countries are bringing their works for the appreciation of local public and a great number of tourists and collectors, who come to Preili specially for the show time. Wonderful and appreciating public, enormous hospitality which has followed us in every step, tasty food from fresh local ingredients and free Wi-Fi all over the town – exceeded all our expectations. The attention to the detail made us feel at home and has set a new standard of show organizing. The charming mayor of the town Maruta Plivda was involved in all our activity, the attentive public relation specialist Maija Paegle made sure so we do not miss any of the activity planned, and the head of the Cultural Center Guntis Skrimblis was teleporting all over the tawn at the speed of light and was always there when needed.
When it comes about the doll collectors – the show has offered them an interesting selection of art dolls, OOAK bears, and exclusive souvenirs for any taste. Each artist, from more than 30 participants has brought works of unique personal style and high level craftsmanship.
I am sure you will find a lot of photos from the show online, and here are a couple of myself – the proud participant of “Doll Summer in Preili – 2016”.
I have started this doll in 2010. I was working on it for several weeks or months, then putting aside, and coming back to it again and again. My vision of her had been changing, I have re-sculpted her for a couple of times, and beading the costume has taken me for ever. During those years I have made many dolls, and my followers will remember the three sirens, which were smaller versions of the women with bird legs, how ever this doll, the first birdie of mine, was standing in my studio half made, and waiting for it’s turn to come once again.
Today, after six years since I have started creating her, the bird-woman is finally finished. I have named her “The Blue Bird”. Blue bird is a magical creature who makes our most beautiful dreams come truth.
The doll stands 65,5 cm tall. She is the tallest doll I ever made. Her body is soft and her head, upper torso and hands are sculpted from air dry clay and painted with oil painter quality paints. The legs are made in my special technique and appear pretty realistic.
The doll’s costume is decorated with thousands of seed beads, and some “cat’s eye” stones. All beads are sewn to the fabric, no glue was used. The doll holds a miniature, but completely functional fan. The hair of the doll is made from hand dyed cotton threads.
I think it is right about time to make a Tiny Tender Demon Boy. Sometimes I get an impression that doll industry is dominated by girls, and boys are taking a very small part of it. Why is it so? I think boy dolls can be same beautiful and charming as girl dolls. Let’s give it a try, and see how it goes. Another month or two and I will have a master model ready to be casted in resin.
This Tiny Demon doll was supposed to be the last doll for 2015th, but the year appeared to be too short for finishing all my projects, so she has become the first doll from 2016th.
I love dolls wearing black, there is something magical about that color, how ever I think this is the last one that I am making in black at this size. My eyes are failing. I can’t work on black clothes for too long. I am embroidering and sewing for few hours a day and then I have to put the dress aside, as my eyes go tired and I simply do not see what I am doing anymore. What a pitty… Well I guess this is a sign for me to move to dolls of bigger size.
Sometimes there comes a moment in my life when I feel an extreme need to challenge myself and my audience with something that I have never done before. I call those moments “what if moments”. So it all has started as a simple master model for porcelain BJD. Then there were long months of sculpting, the breaks and then resculpting, and more resculpting, and then molding and remolding and then finally casting and then, like if I wouldn’t have spent more than a year on this project already, came “what if moment”. “What if I would decorate a porcelain doll with sculpted roses?” – I thought to myself, and started sculpting tiny porcelain roses and adding them to a casted torso. I had no idea if they will come out nicely or if they will fall off after firing, if the doll parts themself will fall apart because of different thickness of the porcelain, if something will explode at the end… you never know when you are doing something for the first time and you have noone to ask about it… but well – it had to be done, because I would not be able to sleep without knowing the answer to “what if …?” Just in a case I have sculpted a couple more doll bodies of this type and placed everything to kiln for the first firing. WIth a trembling heart I had opened it the next day and – voila! – the doll parts didn’t fall apart and all the ornaments and blossoms were still in their places. This was encouraging. After sanding and adjusting I went for the second (the high temperature) firing, and again the tremble of the heart. Eleven hours to fire, ten more to wait for the kiln to cool down and… nothing happened! All doll parts came out nicely! What a relief! And a small moment of pride – I did it
And the a second “What if moment” has hit me. “What if I make the joint lining not the most ugly part of the doll, but the most beautiful?” A fancy lace collar on the leg joint? Some beading maybe? Yes, no matter how crazy it sounds, I have to try it! And so I did. And I absolutely love how it looks, how ever the fans of doll’s mobility and functionality would be disappointed, because the doll has lost a good part of it… well beauty comes at a price
The other “what if moments” that happened during the creative process:
“What if I use a crackle glaze on a porcelain doll” – ordered glaze, experimented a couple of times mixing different colors and firing until I have found the shade and texture that I needed for this doll. It came out beautifully. yay!
“What if I string the doll with help of a flexible wire” – bought flexible wire of different thickness, tried out several ways of stringing, spent some days on rethinking the scheme – it didn’t work, and I had to come back to a classical way. pfff… not all experiments end up successfully, but it is still a useful experience.
So let me present you my first fully jointed porcelain BJD:
That feeling of harmony with the world and oneself, that feeling of being able to accept and to give, that feeling of fulfilment…simply blooming.
Why is my blooming full of cracles and scratches? Because it didn’t come easy at all…
English bone porcelain
Glaze and overglaze paint
The doll is stringed with metal springs.
And here one more beautiful journey has come to the end. It was absolutely fantastic to meet Brenda – a beautiful lady who loves travels, dolls and cats. I loved creating this personal demon very much, and I must admit that I have surprised myself creating a cat chair for this tiny dollie. I am very happy to know that the owner of the doll liked it a lot, and especially pleased that the doll has come right for her birthday (even when I didn’t know the date).
Meeting new like minded people can be a wonderful experience, and meeting people who inspire to create – is a gift!
This journey has lead me to know the beautiful lady Jane from another side of the world. It appeared that we share our love to nature and to fantasy world and we both enjoy making dolls and love strong female characters. And there are many more similarities between us that made me wishing we would live closer to each other, so we can have a cup of tea from time to time…. but well… we live on different sides of the world, and I had put all my best regards and warmth of my hands into the “Tiny Jane’s Demon”, that will take them across the planet right into her new owners hands.
It is symbolic that I am shooting photos of these two girls today, as today we celebrate a day of love.
And today I want to talk about love more than ever, because I see so much unhidden and pure hatred around. It seems we have forgotten the power that we have when we are united. We forgot how similar we all are, how we all want to live in peace, how we all love our close ones, how we all care of our future and of the future of our children. So so many people have forgot about our similarities and are looking for differences in each other, so they can justify their hatred. We all want to have a freedom of choice – whom to love, where to live, what to believe in, how to built our future. We all want this freedom to be respected by the others, but how often do I see that people criticize other people’s choices, how easily they demonstrate disrespect. How easily they forget how similar they are with each other and what unites them. How easily they hang tags on other people, how easily they delete faces and names and blinded by their own false significance they suddenly… start a war.
Today I want to call for love. I want to call everyone to open their eyes for similarities that unite us.
After I have posted some work in progress photos on my facebook, I received a huge feedback and many requests to show more of what is going on in my studio. What can I say… I can’t say no when my fans are asking me for something
So here we go – a Tiny Silent Movie about a new doll that that I was working on since several weeks ago.
Hugs to all!
Sparrows – the little gray/brown birds – they are everywhere. Picking up seeds, making noise in the twisted branches of my garden hedge, fighting over a tastier crumb or simply sitting on a treetop and enjoying the sun. No one pays attention to them, no one admires them for their voice of beauty, but they seem to not care of it at all. They live their happy sparrow life, and they have no idea that the world is as it is because there are sparrows.
“Little Sparrow” is one more artistic interpretation of Tiny Tender Demon. The doll is around 25 cm tall. Her layered dress was sewn from fine transparent fabrics, embroidered with “muline” threads and aged in my original technique. It was really tricky to make her corset with long sleeves but I liked so much how it has come out, that I am definitely making more.