Mould making is like building three dimensional puzzle pieces. I hhhhhhate making moulds. I hhhhhate it with all my heart! Oh mould-making, how I hate thee, let me count the ways:
You are dirty. You are messy. You’re repetitive. You’re mind bogglingly tedious. You’re physically strenuous. You’re mentally exhausting. You’re logistically challenging. You’re harmful to the the human respiratory system. You make my studio into a white, sticky, gooey, clingy mess of dry and wet plaster crumbs for days on end. You leave a white trail of yourself where ever I go. You make me clean up after you ever 5 minutes to contain the mess you make, aaaaaand you make me use a bucket of cold, dirty water to do that because you will clog up my plumbing if I flush you.
You hurt my neck and back. You make my hands feel like two dry, scaly reptiles from being coated in plaster and clay from dawn to dusk for two weeks straight, and from washing them hundreds of times each day. You splash on all my clothes and my face and make me involuntarily swallow and inhale you. You feel gross on my skin. You hurt my fingers to the point of bruising and you scratch and cut my dehydrated skin until it bleeds.
I hate you because I really hate messes, and you mould-making, are the biggest mess-making process I can think of! You are so inconvenient! And yet, without you I can’t make dolls. You are a necessary evil. Your complexity annoys me, but it also challenges my technical abilities, stimulates my curiosity and improves my problem-solving skills. You are a problem, and I choose to solve you, over and over and over again, because you are a gateway to my creative freedom and happiness.
You are the opposite of fun and I count down every second to the finish line, but you give me a strange sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. And glee! You make me sweat and cry and bleed right into plaster. You make me laugh maniacally when I succeed and thrust each finished puzzle piece up above me like the Lion King cub. You make me cuddle each completed mold in my arms proudly and coo at it like it’s a precious newborn baby. You make me feel so exhausted at the end of each day, that I can barely stand, but you also make me exhilarated and joyous in anticipation of all the dolls I will make from you.
I really hate you, mould-making, but I also love you. You facilitate beauty. You are the start of many wonderful journeys. You are the beginning of dolls. You are so inconvenient, mold-making, and I can’t live without you!
This lady is from the Byzantine Empire. Her, I’m going to show you the moment she is finished! My completion target date is end of March. Stay tuned.
Some of you guys knew it right away! Boom, spot on – first try! Pretty impressive. I suppose that my work aesthetic and thought processes are familiar enough by now to anticipate the direction I’m going to take. I guess I’ll have to surprise you more in the future.
And speaking of surprises, Phyrne, although competed, will stay hidden for now. She is for my eyes only for the next little while, but you can glimpse her pretty legs. And read my artist statement about this project. Thanks everyone for playing my guessing game!
Phyrne the Courtesan.
A Courtesan is a high-class Prostitute. Courtesans were well-educated, cultured and independent career women of loose morals, who traded sex and companionship to the wealthy and powerful men in exchange for money, luxuries and social status. They were often skilled conversationalists and entertainers, adept at using their wit, femininity and sexuality to achieve wealth, success and sometimes real political power. Some were gifted entrepreneurs and negotiators who became so influential, that history still remembers them.
One such woman was Mnesarete, otherwise known as Phryne. She 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.
She was not only a beautiful woman, but seemingly a clever, persuasive one too, because when she was put on trial for impiety, which in 4th century Athens was a capital offense, she was able to convince the jury of her innocence and avoid the death penalty. Although it is rumored that she bared her lovely breasts in court to elicit sympathy and mercy from the judges, I believe that her wealth, status and a network of powerful lovers probably had more to do with her acquittal.
Ultimately, it was her social prowess and an ability to manipulate people and situations to her advantage that gave her personality a winning edge, while her beauty became immortalized in stone as Aphrodite – the Goddess of love.
Materials: Crown: 18k gold-plating, sterling silver, bronze, 21 Garnets, 18 Fresh water pearls, carved Water Buffalo bone, lost wax casting, construction. Gown: Gold applique embroidery on fine tulle, 24k gold bead embroidery, 300 Swarovski crystals, 63 Fresh water pearls, sterling silver, bronze, 10k gold-plating, Czech glass beads, 1 Garnet, 1 Rhine stone. Doll: Ball-jointed, bisque porcelain, china-paint, steel springs, magnetic mohair wig, leather lining, 24k gold fired-on applique jewelry on arms and legs.
There are five new and ongoing metal accessory projects visible in this picture, some completed and some nearly there. You will see them very soon. And I think you will like them. Very much.
You guys are such good guessers and history buffs! You’ve just come up with a fantastic list of great women and potential future dolls for me to make!
Below is a short list of Candidates named in the first round. The new mystery doll is one of them! You just have to guess who. Remember the criteria – this woman lived in 4th century BC Greece and was not a deity, neither a royalty, nor a myth. And these are her feet. Go!
The Candidates named so far are in order of vote majority:
Phryne – hetaira (courtesan), artists’ muse. 4th c. BC Greece. 4 votes
Thais – hetaira, wife of king Ptolemy. 4th c. BC Greece. 3 votes
Hypatia- mathematician, academic, professor. 4th c. AD Greece. 3 votes
Cassandra – Trojan princess, oracle of Apollo. 13th c. BC Troy. 3 votes
Sappo – great lyric poetess, an intellectual. 7th c. BC Greece. 3 votes
Agnodice- 1st female physician, midwife, gynecologist. 4th c. BC 2 votes.
Aspasia – hetaira, an intellectual, socialite. 5th c. BC Greece. 2 votes
Cyniska-1st woman Olympic champion, Spartan princess. 5th, BC 2 votes
Penelope – queen, wife of Odysseus, mythological Greek character.
Oracle of Delphi - an order of Apollo priestesses. 8th c.BC-4th c.AD
Pythias – wife of Aristotle. 4th c. BC Greece
Rhodophis- ex-slave, hetaira, queen, original Cinderella 6th c. BC Greece
Archeanassa – hetaira, companion of Plato. 5th c. BC Greece
Gerpilise - I can not find anything about this name. Who is this?
Lais of Hyccara – hetaira, socialite. 4th c. BC Greece
Lenaia – Maenads, female worshipers of Dionysos. 5th-2nd c. BC Greece
Lysistrata – peace activist, fictional character 4th c. BC Greece
Myrrhine – wife of Kinesias, peace activist, fictional character. 4th c. BC
Ariadne – Cretan princess, mistress of the Labyrinth, mythological figure.
Roxana – Iranian princess, wife of Alexander the great. Persia. 4th c. BC
Artemisia – female navy commander of king Xerxes. Persia. 5th c. BC
Pandora – mythological First human, all-giver, unleasher of all evil.
There, I hope these clues will help narrow it down a bit.
So, who do you think these pretty feet belong to?
Here is a sneak peek of her hand before she was assembled. Her lower arms and legs feature fired-on 24k gold applique jewelry.
This doll is based on a historical woman from 4th century BC Greece. Care to guess who I made?
Let me give you a clue: It’s not a goddess or royalty of any sort. Definitely NOT Helene of Troy, although I’m working on her too ;)
Check out what I’ve been working on lately. These are Gothic Lolitas in sterling silver. This is my first test cast. I think I’ll make a gold&enamel one too. Soon to be available for preorder, but not just yet. Inquire if you wish to be put on the wait list.
I know that my birthday contest has become a beloved Enchanted Doll tradition that many of you look forward to every year. Sadly, I must postpone this year’s contest until next year. I’m afraid that I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed, and can not handle the responsibility of organizing and judging a contest this year.
My birthday contest is a really important event to me, and I don’t want to tarnish it with anything less than a 100% commitment on my part, but I don’t have it in me this year. I think I’ve maxed out my multitasking capacity.
This year I would like to have a quiet birthday, and maybe even take a few days off work as a special treat. I hope you all understand and I look forward to your entries next year!
With Polar Vortex snowstorms raging in North America, I decided that my dolls needed some luxurious warm clothes, so I had some made for them. These are one of a kind, faux fir ensembles of matching hats and coats, made in the Russian tradition of winter wear. They fit both porcelain and resin dolls, although it’s a roomier fit on resin dolls and a tighter fit on porcelain.