After a long wait here she is in all her glory, and for the first time ever, this one-of-a-kind tattooed and costumed doll will be available to purchase from an ebay auction which begins on Monday, Dec 9th and ends Saturday, Dec 14th. And now read her story!
In the history of the Venetian carnival, there are three origin stories:
The most romantic version is that it’s a festive celebration in honor of liberating the women from the captivity of pirates. The most banal one, is a victory of the people over a greedy patriarch of Venice, while the most common origin story, is that of a harvest festival; a good rest after hard work.
That’s all well and good, but where then did the masks come from? Who is hiding from whom and why: slaves from owners, owners from slaves, pirates from the people or people from the patriarch? Maybe they were all hiding from the God Saturn, the patron of the people. Perhaps, but I think there is something more to it. Just beware that it’s a really sad story. No, not like Romeo and Juliet, but a much sadder one, because it’s a story about a stalker and his victim, the unknown tale of Apollo and Daphne.
Let me tell you how it really went down.
Once upon a time, there lived a mighty God Saturn and his wife Cybele. In that age, there also lived a beautiful nymph Daphne and a young shepherd Attis. Of course God Apollo also lived in those distant times. There can’t well be a story without Apollo, that golden-haired playboy of the antiquity, can there?
So it happened that the beautiful Daphne fell in love with the mortal Attis, while the no less lovely Cybele, though a goddess, also fell in love with him. God Apollo, who could not miss a single skirt had began scheming as soon he laid his eyes on the exquisite Daphne. Attis in the meantime decided to kill two birds with one stone and had affairs with both Daphne and Cybele simultaneously. Only Saturn was wise enough to stay out of this love polygon.
“Do what you like” he said, while presumably shaking his head and rolling his eyes, and then went drinking with his buddy Zeus. The mighty Zeus had long wanted to hang out on Mount Olympus with a bottle of brandy.
Predictably, things got messy, as many love stories do. Apollo chased after Daphne, Daphne chased after Attis, who in turn chased Cybele. Cybele choked with jealousy; Apollo burned with desire; Daphne was dying of love, while Attis was high-fiving everyone and congratulating himself on seducing two beautiful women. All suffered here except Saturn, who was on Olympus enjoying another glass of whiskey. I mean brandy.
But who could resist Apollo? Perhaps only Zeus himself. So Daphne had to flee from him across different lands, until she got to the glorious city of Venice. Alas, it was all in vain: lovesick Apollo followed her everywhere like a bloodhound with a scent, pursuing her anywhere she ran. Doomed, Daphne appealed to all the residents of Venice, asking for their help. The good people felt sorry for her, but no one dared to openly defy the will of Apollo. That is, until someone suggested a clever solution of disguising the entire city in masks to hide them from Apollo. The people liked the idea of outwitting a God, and the next morning everyone was wearing disguises, rejoicing, dancing and celebrating from morning till night for two whole weeks, while a flabbergasted yet determined Apollo stalked the narrow streets of Venice in a relentless search for his prey. He felt entitled to possess Daphne. She belonged to him even if she didn’t accept it.
But then came Lent, and people had to stop the festivities and remove their masks. That’s when Apollo had finally discovered Daphne. Furious that she not only rejected him – a God, but actually preferred some simple mortal shepherd instead, he turned her into a Laurel tree. He broke off a branch, made it into a wreath and placed it on his golden curls as a trophy. He also gave the tree immortality, so that he could possess Daphne in any form he could, for all eternity. What a sociopath.
Cybele, in turn, drove Attis crazy, unfortunately in a very literal sense, because he opened up his veins and died. As for Saturn, he got a huge hangover. And he also fought with Zeus. Turns out that Zeus was an angry drunk. As for people of Venice, they took to the idea of hiding their faces under different masks and celebrating life and love in all their transient glory.
And that’s how began the tradition of the Venetian masquerade: with the myth of Apollo and Daphne – a stalker and his victim. And whether I’m wrong or right, is for you to decide.
PS – It’s not the end of Daphne’s pictures though.
Whew, I’m pretty exhausted. This doll was exhausting. I need to catch my breath now. Enjoy her and goodnight.
Hey all, I’ve been getting lots of inquiries whether Daphne is still going up for ebay auction or if I’d changed my mind. I assure you that I haven’t. The auction is still on. It simply took me much longer to complete her cape than I thought. Every time I stopped, I’d find that it needed something more. You know how it goes.
She is finally finished and in the middle of a photo session. I’ll have pictures for you tomorrow and the auction will start a few days from today! Get Ready!
Friends, I am thrilled to announce that in 2014 a limited edition Enchanted Doll book is coming to China!
I’ve partnered up with a Canadian-Chinese company TX River, to translate, publish and distribute my book, and to promote the Enchanted Doll brand in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The release is slated for spring/summer 2014. The manuscript is already being translated into Chinese and expanded with my most recent dolls! A book signing tour in China is being planned for the summer, and once the dates are set, you’ll be the first to know. Pre-order dates will also be announced. It is my understanding that pre-orders will open sometime in winter/spring 2014.
You will be getting regular updates as this project develops. I’m looking forward to working with TX River to bring Enchanted Doll book to China!
I’ve been working on completing my image of Daphne. She is almost ready. Seeing how she was a stalking victim who tried to evade her stalker Apollo, I decided to give her a disguise. A beautiful disguise!
And remember how I told you that Daphne was going to have a new metal accessory? Well, ta-da!
See where I’m going with this?
These are only wax models. Just wait til you see the casts. Not long now, but in the meantime you’ll have to guess which one of these masks the lovely Daphne is going to be waring in her final costume: Nose or no-nose. Who knows, it might even sway my decision.
Let the guessing game commence!
Hey guys, thanks so much for helping me choose a cover the next edition of Enchanted Doll book! I’ll announce The One shortly.
In the meantime, check out a couple of snapshots from my studio during the filming of an episode for a certain TV show. Not sure if it aired yet, but in any case I’ll tell you more about it later. And post ‘my’ episode here once the season is wrapped up.
Guys, guys, guys! The new, extended English language edition of the Enchanted Doll book is going to print next week! It will be available for pre-orders by the end of the month! The last thing I need to do, is choose two front covers: one for a signed edition of 500 and the second cover is for the trade, unsigned edition. I’ve got my own favorites, but I’d like to hear what yours are. I may change my mind. Choose three favorites from these 8 candidates. Tell me!
Oh, Daphne my Daphne! I’m afraid I’m growing more attached to you every day. That’s unusual for me… How will I let you go now?
This braid tiara was inspired by the hair styles of Greek ladies from antiquity. Like Daphne’s hair, it’s made of silk fiber. I think I will include it with the doll. There is still that new metal accessory left to reveal before the auction can begin! Soon my darlings, soon!
These are my porcelain prototypes for the master molds of the resin dolls.
I made these a while back. Every now and then I pull up my spinning chair up to the tallest shelf in my studio and while wobbling precariously, I bring this case down to look at them for a few minutes. It’s become almost like a strange ritual of meditation.
I sit down at my desk, switch on the light and run my hands slowly, deliberately along the perimeter of the box until it feels right to open it. My thumbs find the two clasps on the front, I feel a moment of pressure and then two clicks, and the lid comes up while I behold the contents as they glow softly in the white light of my lamp. I observe that once bright violet, the foam fades and turns more and more yellow each time I open it. At first, I touch the parts lightly with my index finger, but then, having satisfied myself that they are truly there, I run the open palm of my hand over them all, feeling the topography of the body curves brushing against my skin. I slowly pull out a part and caress it lovingly with my fingers, turning it over this way and that, enjoying the pearly sensation of cool smoothness on my finger tips. Sometimes I smile to myself, feeling vaguely satisfied with my work. Other times, I notice mistakes and make mental notes on how to improve my technique.
I don’t worship my dolls. It’s not a ritual of self-congratulation and back-patting. The reason I take them out from time to time and sit over them quietly for a few minutes, is because incredibly, they hold memories of myself and my thoughts at the time of their creation. They are the like tree rings of my life. Tiny fragments of my past self documented in porcelain, captured inside its texture, and touching it allows me to access those long-gone moments. And it feels good to be able to revisit myself as I was then, and say: “Hey you, yeah you. You can do better than this. Now get back to work”.
On that note, I’m finally going to be making a new, Christmas batch of resin dolls next month, and those of you who are coming up next on the wait list will be notified within two weeks!
Stay tuned for more photos of ebay doll Daphne are in the next post.
I’m really excited to show you my new doll, even though I’m still working on her. She is Daphne, inspired by a famous and tragic Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo. It’s an ancient story about Stalking, which sadly, still seems as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago. The old gods are long dead, but violence against women still thrives, as if that is the oldest and only truly immortal god of mankind. The story of Apollo and Daphne – of a stalker and his victim, is a story of many women today.
According to mythology, Daphne was a beautiful forest nymph who was relentlessly pursued by the love-struck God Apollo, who refused to take a no for an answer. The lovely Daphne on the other hand, did not appreciate being treated like anyone’s possession and desperately tried to flee her stalker. Eventually there was nowhere else left for her to run and she made a final, terrible decision to escape the deranged Apollo by becoming a Laurel Tree.
Defending her right to free will and self-agency had cost Daphne everything she had – her mobility, her identity, her appearance, her aspirations, her very humanity, and essentially, her freedom to pursue a life she wanted. It’s a high price to pay for anyone. If this classical myth of Apollo and Daphne is not a classic example of criminal harassment and stalking, then I don’t know what is.
This is how I imagined Daphne. Her chest and thighs are engraved with ornate floral motifs t0 symbolize her inevitable transformation into a tree.
She will be going up for auction in November. Next batch of her pics will go up this week!
Just got this in the mail the other day! The Enchanted Doll/Lux spread is 7 pages long, with each one of my dolls representing a scent of Lux soap: Soft Luxury, White Charm, Floral Touch, Velvet Luxury, Dream Daylight.
Pretty Cool. Oh, and look, who is that hiding behind the page? Is that the new ebay auction doll? I guess we won’t know until I post her pictures next week… ;)