Dolls. Animals. Animal dolls.

I’ll come clean on this: my interest in dolls goes back a long way.  But by a long way I actually don’t mean that long.  I wasn’t super keen on them as a child, though of course I had some Barbies and I think they were called Chelsea?? dolls, growing up.  I’d been given a porcelain doll at birth by my great-grandmother, but I rarely saw it, growing up.  At first I thought that perhaps my parents were worried I might be clumsy with it – it’s funny to say that now, given my current context. I work with ceramics on a daily basis. I am meticulous in the care I take of my belongings, not only in the care of my ceramic works; well, turns out it was put away due to my lack  of interest.  

Leaving secondary school, my final project was an ambitiously-scaled paperclay doll, jointed by way of elastic throughout.  I have an album on Flickr with it, along with the other things I made back then.

But the rabbit hole goes deeper.

I got into the world of Ball-jointed dolls in my teens, marvelling at the breadth of talents which people in that community possessed.  Sewing, wig-making, make-up and body-painting, illustration, sculpting, all-round manual or creative work… It was a work scene filled with possibilities and reassured me that it was possible to be a Jack-of-all-trades or a Master-of-one and be happy with oneself either way, or somewhere in the middle.  The DIY threads I followed in (a doll forum) were eye-opening, and I was mesmerised by videos of people’s hands at work on these small-scale wonders, the photographic diaries of those working on large-scale modifications of their dolls.  There were always new companies, and small start-ups would enjoy immense success if the quality of their products matched or exceeded that of larger companies.  Two I remember well are Marti Presents‘s dolls (where the artist made an intensely personal doll; the story was moving) and Marina Bychkova’s Enchanted Doll, a one-person company which has only recently garnered wider media attention.  I made an extended wardrobe for my own dolls, revelling in the creation of extravagant clothes, the type of which I would never wear. It felt like a great way to explore femininity and gender outside of my own body. Later, this kindled an interest in the large-headed Blythe dolls, whose wardrobe I could make on an even smaller scale. 


Looking at projects such as the one described here, of a Japanese company replacing toys’ limbs with those of ‘donor toys’, sending out a letter to the child ‘donor’ – I was really moved by this story.

I also recently found this FANTASTIC etsy listing (picture below) which fascinated me in the extreme.  I had to find out more about the company, Quon-Quon Inc., but my searches have yielded nothing as of yet.


anyway, there seems to be a lot out there on Etsy, including many animal figurines like this one or those by Ms Lynch, such as this rabbit doll.  I’ve mentioned her work in a previous post as well.  Stunning stuff!!!

I was also thrilled to find the work of another artist hailing from Russia (the first being Oso_Polar <–previous post by me) on animal dolls featured online.  Santani‘s work is equally thrilling. Seems like it’s a popular field, too, with Katyushka selling their dolls from Poland.

Similarly, this duo’s work combining organic animal forms with densely patterned imagery ON CERAMIC!!! was a stupendous find.

I’m also happy to see this kind of small-scale, delicate creature-crafting work as well.


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