Entry #1: Quietus by Allegra

My doll is a personification of death as described by Garth Nix in his Old Kingdom series. In the Old Kingdom, death is a cold, dark river which carries you finally to a starry field. Once you see the stars above, your worries drift away and you fall upwards into an endless starry sky.

Quietus (whose name comes from the end of Hamlet’s “To-Be-Or-Not-To-Be” speech) wears a heavy black velvet coat, with a deep cowl and bell sleeves, which gathers beneath the breast for a slight empire waist and is closed at the throat by a golden 8-pointed star. She also wears the visage of an old woman. Beneath her coat and mask, she is radient, her skin barely containing dozens of stars, which glow beneath its surface. Her hair and eyes are dark, but spark with other colors like black opals. Her brows are straight and firm, her expression calm and gentle, but utterly self-possessed. She is our Quietus, waiting with the stars.

I made Quietus’s mask to go with my description using the dimensions from the site. I molded it from clay, cast it in plaster, then formed it with layers of liquid latex and fiber-glass mat and painted it. (I didn’t cut it out, but only for display purposes here)

Entry #2: Petra by Allegra

Petra is a notorious Russian ballerina, born in 1882, with dark red hair that coils into long, thick curls. From the day she first appeared with the Imperial Ballet, audiences have lost themselves in her dancing, often sitting perfectly still for an entire performance. Some say she is a veela, and that to gaze into her eyes would be to lose one’s soul, but no one has ever seen her without her veil.

The veil, made of sheer, black silk and picked out with tiny crystals, hangs just above scarlet lips, eclipsing a gauzy skirt and golden point shoes.

Beneath the veil, her eyes have been sown shut with thick, black twine.

Once Petra was a country girl with a childhood love. But as her talent grew, so did her admirers, and too his jealousy. More and more he complained of her roving eyes until finally he said he could take no more. Devastated, and unable to convince him that she had eyes for him alone, she picked up his knife, and, in one desperate act, put out the eyes he hated that he might stay.

Every night countless admirers watch her.

Still, she sees only him.

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Copyright © 2011 Marina Bychkova.