We had an incredible trip to China this August! Having been invited by friends from Beijing to show us around the country, the four of us traveled from North to South to see some of the most beautiful places in China. It was so exotic, vibrant and different from all the other places we’ve been to before, that I can’t wait to go there again!Â I drew this map of our journey to remind me of it. Click to enlarge it.
I loved it there so much, that I couldn’t even choose a favorite experience, but one of the highlights of the trip was in Huangshan, where we were guests of a film producer Zhang ZhenYan, who has worked on such films as the House of Flying Daggers and Hero, at his boutique Xiuli Village resort, which originally started out as a movie set for either the Curse of the Golden Flower or Hero, I can’t recall exactly, but has since evolved into his private conservatory project of cultural heritage.
Set in a lush valley at the foot of green mountains in the southern Anhui provice, the village was assembled from parts of authentic 400 year old Chinese buildings that were rescued from disrepair and brought there to be preserved and reassembled into new structures, creating interiors in a unique fusion of ancient Chinese and contemporary architecture, all set inside seemingly ancient buildings.
As parts of the village are still under construction, with the exception of some staff, the place was empty. Alone, we wondered through a disorienting maze of narrow streets, bridges, ponds, great halls and tiny rooms, as if walking through a dream filled with humid summer heat and an incessant singing of a million Cicadas all around us. Insulated from the world in the quiet country side, staying there felt surreal and kind of magical, like being inside of a painting or a movie.
It struck me as very sentimental that Mr. Zhang was using his knowledge of film set production to bring his fantasy to life and build his imaginary place in a real world for people to visit. It’ll be a lovely place to stay at once it’s finished. I’m grateful for Mr.Zhang’s hospitality and for allowing us to see his work in progress.
Although our first tour of China wasn’t really that grand in terms of the distance we covered relative to the size of the country, it was truly grand in terms of the experience it gave us. Gongli and Lily, thank you for being our guides on this unforgettable journey!
I’ve been back from Moscow for a couple of weeks now, resting up after a pretty intense trip. The Salon show was fantastic and the Moscow weather was lovely. Very summer like. I’ve had a very long summer this year, because I caught bits of hot weather here and there in my travels. I’m really looking forward to staying put for a few months and working on a brand new collection.
I wanted to thank all those who came to visit me at the exhibition. Special thanks goes to Dima and Katya-thanks for the wine and a pleasant river cruise, Sasha and Lena-thanks for the roses, Katya- thank you for bringing us Chad’s favorite chocolate truffles from St. Petersburg! Svetlana, thank you for organizing the show, there is just never enough beauty in the world. I hope to be able to attend again.
Hey, what is that? A doll hand zipper pull? :)
While packing for this trip, I noticed that the zipper pull was broken on my favorite sweater, so I attached a bronze hand to it and now I feel like I’m shaking hands with my doll every time I zip. I think I might make some more.
Up Next: The map of my travels in China!
Well, here you go then!
I made the bed from Maple and Pine and stained it with a cherry wood stain and varnish. I wasn’t sure I could do it when I started, but I had a feeling it would turn out somehow. It was a very fun project to do.
I just finished another costumed doll. Ya, I know – another one! This one is a very special composition based on a popular fairy tale. Care to guess which one?
As I’m getting ready to leave for Moscow on Monday, I thought I’d share more photos of my lovely little Echo#1 with you. She will be available for sale at the 7th International Doll Salon, Oct-6th-9th. Russians, come and get her!
International collectors, please see previous post for purchasing information.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have some exciting news!
Inspired by my recent travels in China, Iâ€™m beginning work on the long-awaited, limited edition costumed Echo line! While the entire edition of 30 is in production for the next year, the very first completed Echo of the edition will be available for sale at the 7th International Doll Salon in Moscow, October 6-9th, 2011.
Echo #1 is a part of the advanced mini-edition of five costumed, porcelain Echos called the â€˜Special Fiveâ€™, which is set to be released by the end of 2011, featuring one-of-a-kind crowns and accessories that will set them apart from the rest of the edition. The unique features of the Special Five were inspired by the great vibrancy and diversity of traditional ethic ornament I encountered while touring the beautiful China.
Echo 1/30 Construction: Ball-jointed, porcelain doll; Full body ceramic-china painting; Industrial steel spring articulation; Custom made costume, featuring a UV resistant and permanent dye-sublimation print of original bead embroidery; Cast sterling silver crown with synthetic-enameling and beaded pendants; Carved and cast, sterling silver Pedestal shoes accented with blue Opals. Nude doll is 13.5â€ (34cm) tall.
Price: $16,000 CND
Buying priority will be given to local public on October 6th, but International sale of Echo #1 opens on October 7th. (Edit, the show has ended, if you are interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org). Two month layaway is available.
Echo #1 is one of three Enchanted Dolls to be displayed at this event, but only she is available for sale. Each morning I will be present there in person to meet doll fans, so stop by if you’re in Moscow.
Please email me if you have any questions regarding this.
..For the 2011 Birthday Contest Winner!Â The grand prize doll Lily has been completed and will be shipped to its new owner this week. Amal, please let me know you’re in town and confirm you shipping address.
This still frame animation depicts some steps in the painting process of Lily, showing how it starts out and it’s final look, but there are other steps between the layers that aren’t shown, such as firings, of course. This head was painted in 3 china layers and 3 kiln firings. You can see how each layer fades after each firing, and has to be built back up to gradually intensify. It’s a one step forward, two steps back kind of process.
Due to the unique transparency and non-drying characteristics of china paint, which require multiple firings to set, the painting process is driven and defined by the two conflicting targets: To paint the doll in as fewer layers as possible to minimize the number of firings, while simultaneously achieving the ultimate feature shapes, vibrancy and depth of colors.
After years of practicing china painting, I’ve finally come up with a suitable analogy to describe its multiple characteristics: China paint is like watercolors because itâ€™s translucent; like oil paint, because it doesnâ€™t dry; like digital graphics, because all layers must be kept separated and like ceramic glaze, because it bonds only through kiln firing.
A completed doll face. This one is for you, Amal. Claim your prize!
I’ve been getting so many requests for the Sterling silver Hand pendants, that I’ve decided to make them available to order. You can chose either a left or a right, or get both. They are $130 CND each, or $250 for both.
While I designed the crown bail for these pendants, the silver hands themselves were molded from an actual pair of Enchanted Doll porcelain hands, and are therefore a part of my dolls.
Please email me at email@example.com if you’re interested in ordering one.
The auction for Midnight has been posted, and will run for the next 7 days on eBay ( Until Sep 13, 2011 02:22:53 EDT).