Hey folks, I finished a new costumed doll! Presenting – Cinderella Of The North, inspired by Johan Vermeer’s 1665 masterpiece Girl with a Pearl Earring, nicknamed Mona Lisa of the North!
This doll actually started out in 2011 as a Chrisitian Andersen’s Matchstick Girl, but in the 3 years it took to make her, she had subverted my original intent and evolved almost of her own volition, into a Flemish Cinderella with Dutch, Belgian and Norwegian costuming influences. I photographed her in chiaroscuro, or Rembrandt Lighting, to allude to Flemish portraiture of the Golden Age and Baroque periods, which featured dark atmospheric tones, deep shadows and dramatic contrast lighting. My goal was to capture a look of a 16th century Dutch oil painting.
In allusion to the Cinderella’s formerly affluent childhood, her once opulent – now ‘peasant’ dress was stitched up with 170 richly colourful patches and embroidered with hundreds of Swarovski crystals, seed beads and Freshwater Pearls. I imagined that all those patches are fragments of her outgrown childhood gowns – now rags, which she’s been using for years to keep her one remaining tattered dress intact, while her pristine lace bonnet and precious silver slippers are the only legacy and inheritance from her dear late mother. Cindrella Of The North is a an exploration of the darker side of the fairy tale – before the ball and the happy ever after.
The other three key influences that informed this work were a 1919 Cinderella illustration by Arthur Rackham, a novel Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire, and fairy tale illustrations by Sulamith Wulfing.
To see more pictures of this doll, please visit her gallery here.
After a year off, the birthday contest is BACK!
This will be the 5th contest that I’ve held, going all the way back to 2009. Seems just the other day I was getting strange looks from my mailman as he delivered yet another stack of post cards. Before we get into the details of this year’s contest, lets take a quick look at the previous years:
2008-2009 – Random draw. When I held the first contest in 2008 it was simply “sign up to win”. All you had to do was create an account on the Enchanted forum (a great forum created by ED fans for ED fans) and make at least one post to be eligible. This saw a boom in the forum activity for the month of March, and hopefully a few new members stuck around a bit longer. The contest was announced in 2008 and the doll was awarded on March 16th, 2009.
2010 – Birthday Gifts. After the first year I decided to mix it up. Anyone can fill out a form and enter a contest, but for 2010 I wanted to put people to work. The contest that I came up with was a “gift for a gift” (I never really came up with a proper title). Entrants had to create something and send it to me. I wanted it to be open to as many skillsets as possible so I didn’t limit it to drawings or paintings or anything particular, it just had to be something you made that you sent to me. Well, I received a wide range of gift, including embroidery, a sculpture of me and Chad, and even a full Imperial Concubine Costume. You can see all the amazing entries here.
2011 – Design a Doll, Win a Doll. After an overwhelming response in 2010, I wanted to focus the entries into a common theme. The contest was to design a doll. Come up with a concept for a doll, and the one that I found most interesting would win. This way people didn’t need to mail anything, as all the entries were digital. There were so many different doll ideas being submitted: Warriors, Goddesses, Oracles, Violinists, and many many more. It was great to see all the ideas people were coming up with.
2012 – No Contest. I turned 30 that year, but that had nothing to do with the contest being postponed.
2013 – Wanderlust. One of my favourite things after dolls, is traveling. For this contest entries were in the form of a post card. The point of the card was to inspire the craving for travel. An image, handmade or found, that when looked upon made one want to drop everything and travel to that location immediately. There were hundreds of entries from all over the world. You can see the top 50 here. I wish I had the time to go to every place depicted on the cards. Unlike the 2010 contest where people had to find ways to ship objects from all over the world, this year’s contest struck a balance of physical medium that can be easily sent through the mail. And who doesn’t love receiving post cards from exotic locations? Our mailman was impressed with all the international friends that we had as he’d hand over stack after stack of post cards every day.
2014 – Another year without a contest. Sometimes you can get overwhelmed with deadlines and time slips away. I always feel bad about that. I said 2014 was
2015 – ….
For this year, the contest is to design a tattoo for an Enchanted Doll.
I’ve been tattooing dolls for some time now, but now it’s your turn! Is the tattoo a stand alone design? Is it part of a bigger concept/costume? Is it part of a series? These are just some questions to help get the creative juices flowing. Remember, the tattoo is for an Enchanted Doll, it should fit with the aesthetics of the doll. Don’t let the size of the doll limit your designs, remember there is a large Enchanted Doll out there with plenty of porcelain to play with.
Your designs must be original artworks – no plagiarism, please! The tattoos can be sketched, painted, photoshopped onto existing dolls, any way you need to render it, as long as you can send me a digital image of it. If your design requires a short description (less than 200 words), please include it in the email. I am the sole judge, and will pick the winner. All the entries will be posted for public viewing. Any entry found to be plagiarizing another work, will be disqualified from this and all future ED contests, because plagiarism is a hurtful and dishonourable crime and I despise it.
Entries need to be size appropriate for emails and submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have an attachment that is too large, add a link in the email to where it can be viewed/downloaded online.
Entries need to be submitted by March 13th, winner will be announced on March 16th. One entry per person (a tattoo series is considered one entry).
Grand Prize: A Resin Enchanted Doll.
Good luck everyone.
I’m excited to announce that the Enchanted Doll book will be released as a Chinese edition. It was a long back-and-forth process to get it through multiple levels of censorship, but it is finally going to print.
The book is being published by TX River, and will be available for purchase directly through them. The book contains the same content as the previous edition, along with new pages featuring some of my most recent dolls.
Pre-sales have started, you can order the book here: http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=43715713846&
If you need any help navigating that site and ordering, please contact email@example.com, they will be able to help you with ordering even if you don’t know Chinese.
The book is expected to be ready to ship by May 2015
The Cinderella auction is about to end, but you’ll still be able to see here in the third and final part of the “Cinderella Comes Together” video series. The video is now up on vimeo (be sure to watch it in HD)
Thank you for all the feedback on the first two videos. We had a great time making these, even if the dog couldn’t remember all her lines. Typical big shot actors.
Part One: vimeo.com/116792189
Part Two: vimeo.com/117751346
Part Three: vimeo.com/118372472
Along with the video, here is my artist statement for Cinderella:
The Cinderella Construct
The story of Cinderella is so ubiquitous, that all across human history, geography, and different cultures, it continues to exist and remains virtually unchanged.
There are close to a thousand different incarnations of the Cinderella fable around the world dating back to ancient antiquity. The earliest known version was recorded in the 1st century BC by a Greek historian Strabo, and inspired by an enslaved Greek girl-turned courtesan named Rhodopis, who according to his account, was freed from sexual servitude and went on to marry an Egyptian King.
While it appears that Rhodopis was the original allegorical Cinderella, she certainly wasn’t the first orphaned, abused, and exploited female in the world, nor the last. Over thousands of years of human history there have been, there are, and there will be many more Cinderellas – with and without a happily ever after. Every culture and generation imprints its own ideals and values on the Cinderella construct, altering it somewhat, but keeping the basic Rags-to-Riches narrative intact.
The moving mechanism at the heart of Cinderella story appears to be a conflict of interests that arises between individuals in an evolutionary struggle for limited economic resources. This very survival instinct is probably what sometimes turns perfectly decent women into abusive Stepmothers. It is puzzling though why the fathers in this situation allow this pattern of abuse to perpetuate, as though having gained a new wife capable of bearing new offspring, they are no longer emotionally or even genetically invested in the survival of their own biological children from previous partners.
The reason this fairy tale is still so compelling and powerful, is because its underlying themes are still as relevant today as they were two thousand years ago, when Strabo first penned that tragic story of a slave girl with a Happily Ever After.
The Cinderella construct appears to be a collective existential portrait of the human condition – As long as there are people, there will be Cinderellas.
Here is part two of “Cinderella Comes Together“, a behind the scenes look at the Cinderella doll being put together. Part one started with the doll being strung, and part two moves on to the other elements of the doll (Stand, dress, wig). Part three will be posted later this week.
What’s your favourite shot so far (from either part)?
Be sure to watch it in HD on the Vimeo page.
The annual Enchanted Doll auction is now live, as the all new Cinderella #2 is currently up for auction. The link to the auction: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cinderella-Porcelain-Enchanted-Doll-BJD-/331459729976?
There are all new photos that can be found on the auction page. More will be coming during the week, so stay tuned.
Part 2 of the “Cinderella Comes Together” video will be posted shortly!
You guys! Yesterday I had a very long and productive photoshoot with my newest doll Cinderella, who as you already know, is going up for an annual Enchanted Doll ebay auction in just a few hours! In the afternoon I’ll be posting her final studio pictures and releasing the second part of the three-part Cinderella creation film. So stay tuned for all these exciting things happening today, and in the meantime enjoy some of last night’s snapshots from the set!
I’ve got a little surprise for your folks. While I’ve been busy making Cinderella, Chad has been busy making a film of me making Cinderella! This special little doll, as you might have heard, is going up for an annual ebay auction on January 24th-31st! Please enjoy this part one of the three part series of short films about the creation of this doll, and stay tuned for the second!
You can view the video in HD on Vimeo
Happy New Year, folks! Thank you for all of your notes with good wishes! I promise to use them well throughout 2015 to create exciting new work, starting with Cinderella. Her ebay auction dates have been set for January 24th-31st, which is only 3 weeks away!
For New Year’s I’ve been away on my annual holidays with friends in the beautiful Okanagan Valley for a bit of winter and a little ice hokey. We’re heading back home tomorrow, where the almost-finished Cinderella is eagerly waiting to become a doll.
The last thing I did before leaving, was finish this wig. I made it from my special stash of the silkiest mohiar I’ve ever laid my fingers on, which I’ve been saving just for her for over a year. It surpassed my expectations.
The first thing I’m going to do is when I return on Tuesday, is finish beading her skirt and assemble it all with the corset, then cast her masquerade mask and then have a very long photo session with her. Shouldn’t take longer than 2 weeks altogether. But first, we have to navigate a treacherous high altitude highway back to the coast, before the forecasted snowstorm moves in later in the afternoon and traps us on the wrong side of the mountains.
I’ll be counting every mile down to Cinderella.
For Christmas this year, allow me to present my secret doll Phryne, who is one of the costumed projects I completed in 2014!
Phryne as you may remember from my sneak peeks of her, and that awesome guessing game we played together, was a famous Greek courtesan in 4th century BC, who became a model for Praxiteles’s statue of Cnidian Aphrodite, one of the most extraordinary sculptures of antiquity. To read her full story and description see my original blog post.
For certain reasons I’ve been holding her back, fully completed for the last 10 months, which took herculean effort at times. There hasn’t been a day when I didn’t want to tell you about her, but now the time has come. Please enjoy.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, my friends! And a happy New Year!