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Ladies and Gentlemen, the time has come! This year’s winner of the Enchanted Doll annual Birthday Contest is…..Kristen V! Congratulations Kristent, your tattoo design was the best! You concept design is incredibly powerful and thought-provoking. It moves me and stirs me to create. You get a painted resin Enchanted Doll!

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Here again is Kristen’s artist statement:

“The series of tattoos I have designed are inspired by tragedies currently afflicting our world. Women in the Middle East have been permanently scarred by acid being thrown on them for various insults or offenses they have committed. The victim could be attacked for refusing an arranged marriage, not wearing proper religious attire, or dishonoring their family. Worse, the attacks are often committed by close family members or neighbors. Sadly, reports of these terrible assaults are increasingly being found outside of the Middle East, in regions such as Europe and the United States.
Each of my designs was inspired by a real woman who has been marred from these atrocities. My goal was to create tattoos that would bring these horrific crimes to light, and generate awareness for these suffering women. At the same time, instead of focusing on their scars as something realistic and horrifying, I desired to turn them into something beautiful and intricate. This way, the designs reflect the unique beauty that is present inside each of the courageous victims.”

 

And we have another birthday and another contest behind us! And it was awesome. I would like to thank all of the contestant for participating in my Birthday Contest; For taking the time to create art and the courage to share it with the world. You should all be very proud of yourselves for accomplishing something, even if you didn’t win this time. I hope to see your entries again next year, and I shall look forward to it!

 

 

1 week, 3 days ago 24
Posted in: contest

Hello contestants! We’re back for the final round of the 2015 Birthday Contest, designing a tattoo for an Enchanted Doll! Tomorrow one of these 3 finalists will be awarded the price – a resin Enchanted Doll!

The Top 3 finalists are:

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1) Ran J

“This tatoo inspired from Medical Anatomy and Narcissism.I use the skeleton(the spine and the sphenoid bone) to express the aesthetic of medical.In most cases the skeleton symbled horrible,death,aim or painful,but an artist has no necessary to follow the dominant ideology . The skeleton maybe can be symbled regularity and calmless.

Narcissus is a typical flower to symbled the narcissism in Greek mythology,so I use this image on the doll,I’m a girl and I appreciate female’s body.(…wrrrry God…terrible…hope my english can be better T_T)

The color:I used the classic cobalt blue of ED tatoo on the doll.I don’t know other screen of percinal computer,but it looks blue color on my computer at less.”

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2) Amal

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“A series of images exploring the idea of tattoos being a visual impression left on the skin by the sensation of being held, either in tenderness, or force. The tattoos could be indicative of the emotional ‘scarring’ of abuse, or a lingering memory of a loved one’s touch.
With our bodies we have the power to restrain, dominate and oppress – but, not exclusively as this can be done mentally also, perhaps going unnoticed by appearance. Both love and abuse leave marks, whether physical or not.There are many limiting factors of touch, such as time and distance. We can’t be touched by those who are absent, but that may not lessen their ‘hold’ upon us. Likewise, the burning desire to feel the touch of a loved one who is not present is like having their absence etched upon the skin.An embrace can be fatal, but can also save and restore life. The same pair of hands; two antithetical outcomes. How is it that an act of intimacy can have the potential to both harm or comfort in equal measures?”

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3) Kiersten V

“The series of tattoos I have designed are inspired by tragedies currently afflicting our world. Women in the Middle East have been permanently scarred by acid being thrown on them for various insults or offenses they have committed. The victim could be attacked for refusing an arranged marriage,  not wearing proper religious attire, or dishonoring their family. Worse, the attacks are often committed by close family members or neighbors. Sadly, reports of these terrible assaults are increasingly being found outside of the Middle East, in regions such as Europe and the United States.

Each of my designs was inspired by a real woman who has been marred from these atrocities. My goal was to create tattoos that would bring these horrific crimes to light, and generate awareness for these suffering women. At the same time, instead of focusing on their scars as something realistic and horrifying, I desired to turn them into something beautiful and intricate. This way, the designs reflect the unique beauty that is present inside each of the courageous victims.”

Wow, that was a difficult decision. I had given myself a headache thinking about it, and I still need to choose just one winner tomorrow! Which design do you think should take the prize?

1 week, 4 days ago 35
Posted in: contest

Greetings Contestants! Welcome to the second round of eliminations. You are the finalists still in the running to win a resin Enchanted Doll! I’m going to give a short critique on the strengths and weaknesses of each work. I hope it helps those who didn’t make the finals, win next year! Here we go.

You will notice that what all of the finalists have in common, is an outstanding aesthetic presentation of their ideas. The importance of an effective and coherent presentation can not be understated, as it creates a powerful first impression in our subconsciousness. Another reason a well-laid out presentation is effective, is because it demonstrates the artist’s commitment to their idea, and shows consideration for the quality of viewer’s experience of their artwork. All the finalists left me with a very positive and engaging viewing experience, while presenting unique ideas. That is part of why they made the cut.

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#86 by Anne

Biggest Strengths: Incorporation of architectural elements into both, tattoo concept and presentation; delightful use of colour; excellent interpretation of source material. Weakness: Both tattoos are a little bit too big in relation to the body, giving a slightly crammed and boxed-in appearance on the torso. Suggestions: Let compositions breathe by shrinking, spacing them out a bit and continuing some elements out to other body parts. Thank you, Anne! Great work!

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#92 by Anna

Biggest Strengths: Great use and incorporation of joints in the design; keen sense of scale and proportion. Weakness: lack of colour detracts a little from the impact. Suggestions: explore colour more. Thank you, Anna! Great work!

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#103 by Ran j

Biggest strengths: Simplicity, elegance and flow of design in relation to doll anatomy; gorgeous rendition. Style of tattoo reminds me a little of Takato Yamamoto’s work. Weakness: While the idea of a skeleton tattoo isn’t entirely new, it is redeemed by its’ delicate beauty and strong composition on the body. This design is very well suited to the medium and scale of my dolls. It looks great as a 2D painting and will tattoo on porcelain very well. Suggestions: Slight lack of continuity in the front composition, between the bones on the chest and flowers on the abdomen; perhaps incorporating bone elements somewhere into the floral design would tie the composition together better. Thank you, Ran! Great work!

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#129 by Kiersten V

Biggest strengths: Provocative, meaningful and emotionally evocative concept; profound socio-cultural comment on violence against women. Weakness: Rendition is sufficient enough to convey the powerful message of the tattoo, but I feel it could be pushed a little bit further aesthetically. Suggestions: Explore the texture and line-work of scarring more. Thank you, Kiersten! Great work!

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#204 by Mai M

Biggest strength: Great use of doll anatomy and scale to convey a sense of armour; successful incorporation of headdress to support the tattoo. Byzantine element is delightful. Weakness: Too much symmetry stifles tension a little. Suggestions: Consider adding an unexpectedly chaotic or asymmetrical element into the armour design. It might add more dynamism. Thanks Mai! Great work!

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#225 “Fire Bird” by Karla R

Biggest strength: Memorable presentation; great adaptation of tattoo design to doll anatomy; successful incorporation of a 3D design element into the tattoo. Weakness: While the tattoo may be a bit too simplistic, it works in the context of the character design. Suggestions: I would like to see a more complex 2D element included somewhere into this tattoo design, one that would be a challenge to engrave. Thank you, Karla! Great work!

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#244 by Anita D J

Biggest strengths: Intriguing minimalist aesthetic. Weakness: Perfect mirror symmetry places the flowers into the same visual space and forces them to compete with each other for attention. Suggestions: A little asymmetrical element, such as experimenting with different heights for flowers, or making one stem more ornate than the other would make the design more dynamic. Thanks Anita, great work!

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#249 “Embrace” by Amal

Biggest strengths: Powerful, explorative and stimulating concept with social commentary on body politics; excellent supporting material and visual thought exploration. Weakness: The aesthetic of overall composition needs to be pushed a little bit farther to support  the enormous conceptual potential of this piece. Suggestions: Be braver with portraying symbolism of physical contact and personal boundaries. Thanks Amal, great work!

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#296 “The Egg Timer” by Merrilyn C

Biggest strengths: While the concept of a biological clock is nothing new, it is rendered here in a very beautiful and whimsical way; great adaptation to doll anatomy; Interesting juxtaposition of highly valued Faberge eggs made by a man, with much less valued woman’s eggs that procreate our species. Weakness: Could be interpreted as a little retrograde in sentiment. Suggestions: Perhaps a little bit more emphasis on the body politics and gender roles would make this whimsical piece more powerful. Thanks Merrilyn, great work!

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#304 “Medusa” by CiCi

Biggest strengths: Unique interactive (eye) elements in the tattoo that allow it to change – very creative; Excellent presentation of ideas; great use of body lines in design composition. Weakness: Design on the abdomen reminds me a bit too much of my tattooed doll Mermaid Song; Design is a bit too busy and too bottom-heavy. Suggestions: Allow design open up and venture some down the hips and legs; Step away from the traditional image of Medusa and explore other options. Thanks Cici, great work!

 

And these are the finalists. Let’s have a round of applause for them.

Tomorrow night I will announce the final Three. Good luck, contestants!

 

Gallery of all the entries

Gallery of the top 10 with full descriptions

 

 

1 week, 6 days ago 31
Posted in: contest

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have the top 20 runners up in the 5th annual Enchanted Doll Birthday Contest!

First I’d like take a minute to thank all the participants for all your hard work regardless of whether you made this list or not. I really appreciate the thought, time, effort and sincerity that went into designing your entries. Choosing was hard. I made my selection based on a combination of your concept originality, aesthetic design, composition, supportive elements, artist statements and overall presentation.

The most important consideration point for me, was how much though went into adapting a tattoo design to the doll’s anatomy and joints. Some entries made the scale and body lines work to their advantage more successfully than others, which is a the very essence of a beautiful tattoo. I enjoyed looking at and reading about all your entries. Good luck next time to those who didn’t make this cut and congratulations to the runners up. I’ll see some of you in the next round tomorrow! Sleep tight ;)

And now, the top 20 entries! Click on a number and scroll to view each entry in full.

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#84 

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#86

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#87

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#92

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EPSON MFP image

 

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This is the line up! Thank you for beautiful entries and good luck in the next round!

 

(If you don’t see your entry in the galleries, please email us at inquiries@enchanteddoll.com. The judging was done with the emails, not by the galleries, so its possible that we saw your entry but it didn’t get put on the gallery yet due to an error – Chad)

2 weeks ago 34
Posted in: contest

Hello all! Today is my birthday and that means it’s time to conclude my 5th annual birthday contest, and announce the winner of a resin Enchanted Doll!

As you recall, this year’s challenge was to design an engraving ‘tattoo’ design for a porcelain Enchanted Doll, and you sent me so many awesome entries, that it crashed our computer! Which is the reason we’re running a few hours behind schedule. Please stand by for the first of three elimination rounds to take place at midnight Pacific time (just over an hour), when the top 20 submissions will be announced! The second elimination round will take place tomorrow morning. Thank you to all the participants and good luck!

 

In the meantime, you can view all 301 entries here: http://www.enchanteddoll.com/galleries1/2015-contest/

2 weeks ago 22
Posted in: contest

Times up!

The contest submission period is now closed! Thanks to everyone who entered, I’m seeing some amazing entries and it’s going to be another tough decision. I will spend the next couple days going through each one in detail. It’s such a treat to be able to see all the different approaches people took. I’m blown away by the creativity.

I will announce the winner on March 16th, but it will likely be later in the day (might even be the 17th in some parts of the world).

 

2 weeks, 2 days ago 49
Posted in: contest

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! 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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To see more pictures of this doll, please visit her gallery here.

 

 

1 month ago 40
Posted in: New Doll

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:

2008-2009Random 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.

2010Birthday 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 embroiderya sculpture of me and Chad, and even a full Imperial Concubine Costume. You can see all the amazing entries here.

2011Design 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.

2013Wanderlust. 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 – ….

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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 contests@enchanteddoll.com. 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.

– Marina

 

1 month, 1 week ago 57
Posted in: contest

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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 yuanmuhe@qq.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

 

Pre-Sale banner

1 month, 2 weeks ago 15
Posted in: Book

 

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.

1 month, 4 weeks ago 42
Posted in: Video