Doll Shelf-life

5 years, 2 months ago 23
Posted in: Uncategorized


Hola doll lovers! You may or may not have noticed, but this summer I literally put doll-making on a shelf and left it there for 3 months.

This little favourite of mine has been sitting on this shelf in her fancy Chinoiserie house robe for 2 months, with no one but a tin fish-pet for company. My lovely Pilea plant demonstrates the time’s passage quite well, as it gradually swallows her up with its growing juicy foliage. Another month in this spot, and she’ll disappear from view!


There have been some rumblings of discontent and a growing restlessness at my prolonged absence and ‘abandonment’, but I really needed this time off due to a quite severe burn out. I love making dolls, but that is not the only thing I love doing. There are numerous non-doll art projects that have been simmering on my back burner for several years because dolls always took priority. It got to the point where I could no longer paint another doll eyelash or sew another bead on yet another doll dress without feeling sad and resentful and pressured by expectations.

So, this summer of 2015 was my creative break from dolls and my indulgence in other art forms. I built furniture! I designed interiors! I reorganized and cataloged all my beads and began renovating my art studio. I delved into horticulture! I went on wilderness adventures! I hung out with friends, sometimes in the wilderness. I took (and passed) a swift river rescue certification course in Montana! I even ordered a colouring book on Amazon (Secret Garden by Johanna Basford) and spent days laying in the grass, sipping cold beer and blissfully colouring in somebody else’s drawings without any concern for my doll output – something I would normally consider to be utterly pointless and detrimental to my productivity! But it wasn’t – it was a pressure release valve.

And today I walked into my studio and noticed this doll on the shelf half-swallowed by a plant, and I thought:” Hey you. Long time – no see”…and I began to dream of dolls again.

23 Responses

  1. Sounds like a much needed rest and recharge was in order :) Glad you got what you needed! All those things sounds like wonderful activities. I bet most of your fans would even love to see the other types of art and creative projects you enjoy working on!
    Love this doll also. She has something very captivating about her.

  2. berthawong says:

    So glad that you found another you in the wilderness. Good to see you are back! She looks though she is pondering about something!

  3. Sylvia Leticia says:

    Welcome Back Marina… Nice to hear You enjoyed your Summer break ;-}
    So that You know… I really didn’t notice, cause your Beauties live inside my Heart!!

  4. Daria says:

    Конечно Вы устали…. Ваше ремесло и так непростое, а учитывая какое количество заказов вы делаете…… куклы отнимают столько энергии! Это ведь почти магические существа, какждый раз завершая работу над ней чувствуешь себя обессиленным и опустошенным…. А делая такую красоту и в таком масштабе столь долгое время – отдых просто необходим! Смена деятельности и обстановки – это как лечение, как исцеление! Даже если это “разукрашки” или холодное пиво с друзьями….
    Берегите себя, Мариночка! И Ваш прекрасный, тонкий кукольный мир!

  5. Els says:

    I’m glad that you enjoyed your well-deserved break. It sounds like you had a lot of fun. I saw some of the wilderness adventure photos on Chad’s Flickr and it looked like an amazing trip.

    So what kind of furniture did you build?

  6. Merri says:

    Would love to see your favourite finished colouring in too! :)

  7. Myst says:

    is it the collar of the dress or do i see a tattoo peeking out from there?

    anyway, welcome back from your many varied excursions and creative outlets, Marina. sounds like they were much needed, burnout is no fun. even artists need to take a break from making beauty and just find other ways to enjoy it, right?

    • Phoenix says:

      Oh, it looks definately like a tattoo! I would say it is an organic heart from what I can see when I make the picture bigger ;-)

      • Myst says:

        oh, you’re right, it does look like that, Phoenix. i can see the similarities to those anatomical drawings
        in the textbooks.
        Marina, when do we get to see this new beauty with her tattoos? I’m guessing there’s more to it than
        meets the eye. that small glimpse has me curious about the rest of the design.
        thanks for the interpretation Phoenix :)

        • Merri says:

          Myst, I don’t like to answer for Marina, but nor do I like people to be left wondering. :)
          A nude photo of this doll is featured in the Chinese version of the ED book and she does indeed have a heart tattoo. The accompanying story relates to Marina’s father having a heart attack.

          • Myst says:

            oh, wow. thanks for the info on the doll, Merri. i don’t have the book, so i appreciate you
            letting those of us who were wondering in the know.

            Marina, i hope your dad’s ok and recovered from that heart attack. my grandfather who i am named for had a lot, he was a heavy smoker, and i wish i could’ve known him. i hope you’re father is in great health now, that’s a scary thing to have to go through, and for all the people involved who worry and love the person going through it. that’s a beautiful and powerful tribute to the strength of the heart and how we rely on it to live. kudos on that beautiful doll and her tattoo. and much empathy and love to you. i hope you have many healthy years with your dad. <3

  8. sarah says:

    I’m glad you got a good break! sometimes you just need to bliss out and do what you want!

  9. lynne says:

    Yeahhhhh your back!!!!!! Glad you had a much needed rest but i’m glad i can feast my eyes on a gorgeous new girl x

  10. Sonia Anne says:

    It is so good to see you and Chad back! But, it is also, so good to see that you had an adventurous
    “time out”! I wouldn’t call it “abandonment at all”. You were just doing what you had to do, to keep your interest in dolls, alive. Not to say, that your interest in dolls has gone, but I am sure that you are
    ready to come back to your Studio and your beautiful dolls. ” Time out ” gives us energy to continue on, with what we do best. I think that your beautiful doll, shown above, missed you too!

  11. Kas says:

    This girl is so gorgeous… what a sight for sore eyes! And even if she sat there with only her fish and the plant for company all this time, she looks so at home with that greenery surrounding her.

    I’m glad you took time to get out there and try new things, recharge, and just relax. Everyone needs that time, even away from their great passions. And new experiences can create new inspirations, too! I can’t wait to see new creations.

  12. Kim says:

    Sounds like you really needed that. Glad you’re back though and with a new enthousiasm.! When something as creative and beautiful as your dollmaking becomes a duty and a burden it is time to take a break.

  13. Anthony says:

    Welcome back Marina!!!!! So good to see you back^^ Sometimes a small breath of fresh air is all you need to truely appreciate all you love. Can’t wait to see what is next^^

  14. Crystal says:

    It’s good to have you back! They say using other mediums other then your main one actually enhances your work. Now it’s time to hunker down for winter and get back to work! (only if you want to). ;)

  15. Crystal says:

    UGH! I forgot to mention how beautiful this girl is! And I love the unusual hair color!

  16. MollyTheWanderer says:

    1. She’s beautiful!
    2. You’re back!
    3. You never need to apologize for taking time off to restore your energies. We can be patient. I love your art, and I love you Marina, you’re so inspiring!
    4. I’m glad you’re back tho ^_^.

  17. Jill Jackson says:

    Beautiful art cannot be forced, but must grow naturally just as the plant on your shelf. It’s good to see that both you and plant are doing so well.

  18. sarah says:

    Good for you- take a break and get your groove back!

  19. You are such a talented artist! The doll has very realistic human features, hair, eyes, mouth look so natural. Congratulations on your beautiful masterpiece and your gift of creating it.

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