The Chosen Ones

4 years, 7 months ago 67

The question I get asked a lot is whether it’s difficult for me to part with my dolls when I sell them. The answer is no. It’s not hard at all, because selling them is necessary for me to be able to continue making more art. It’s a very simple and easy decision driven by economics. Also, I’m not interested in collecting my own work – I play with dolls by designing and making them.


And yet, I do keep a few special dolls, in my personal collection. Mostly it’s for the purpose of short notice traveling exhibitions, but also because I consider them to be important milestones in my creative process and useful tools for development, experimentation and refinement of my techniques.

Usually most of these Travel Exhibition dolls are away in storage, but there are a few Chosen Ones that get the honour of being displayed in various locations in my home. My Chosen Ones usually earn their keep by being my working models. I work with them while designing and costuming. I observe their mechanics overtime and make notes on any needed improvements to my future work. So in essence, the Chosen Ones are my control group for all Enchanted Doll.


I like to slowly rotate my Chosen group by selling off one of my favourites once every couple of years. I choose a doll which I feel has fulfilled me completely and which can’t teach me anything else about my craft. Our game together comes to an end and I let her go to fulfill somebody else with her presence. That is the job of a doll – to bring us existential comfort by acting as a projection and a reflection of ourselves, made in our own image.

Doing this culling’ helps me innovate, practice discipline, and stay hungry for new work. I often play a game with myself, a sort of mental exercise where I try to decide which one of my Chosen dolls I would save from a fire if I could only save one. After years of trying, I haven’t been able to decide yet. Perhaps I’d let them all perish, and then start over.

Which one of these would you save?

67 Responses

  1. Amal says:

    Your best work is always a culmination of everything that has come before, so each doll you make contributes to the next… Even if they perished in the fire, you can’t unlearn or undo what you did and so really it’s not about them, but about you! Save yourself, first! …(And there’s a chance the porcelain could survive the flames!)

  2. Marina says:

    Yes Amal, a porcelain doll would absolutely survive a fire in temperatures below 2500ºf /1400ºc!

    But it would probably be crushed by a collapsing house structure. :(

    There are miraculous escapes though, with unlikely survival against all odds!

  3. Christiane says:

    Without a doubt, my heart would reach for Noir who is Captain Nemo’s daughter. From the get go in discovering ED I was hooked on Noir. She was my first coupe de coeur! I could not part with her.

  4. Tammie says:

    I WOULD SAVE Gloria! She’s beautiful.

  5. Where can I purchase your beautiful works of art?

  6. Maria says:

    Они все прекрасны.
    Каждая кукла неповторима. Я восхищаюсь вашим мастерством. Вам удается передавать эмоции на кукольном лице.
    Каждая ваша кукла рассказывает историю.

    У Выжившей глаза, полные боли и застывшая улыбка, сквозь слезы. Она действительно выжила. Очень сильная работа.

    У Кровавой Леди Элизабет Батори совершенно плотоядная усмешка. Невероятно.

    не знаю ни одного художника-кукольника который бы смог тоже самое.

  7. Merri says:

    Cathedral!!! :)

  8. Nanyalin says:

    Tough choice. If you still have Phryne, I would save that one without hesitation. Her glorious beauty bewitched me since the very beginning, when all I could had were glipses of her details. I feel like Praxíteles myself, haha, there is something in that sensual face and the gesture on her eyes and lips that makes me fall on my knees. I truly believe there is a finger of the Aprhodite she once modelled on her ; ) . By the way, thanks for showing us these little corners of your home with your dolls around. It is so inspiring.

  9. Michele says:

    I agree with Merril. Cathedral would be my choice, although it would be a very difficult decision!

  10. Rebecca Byrd says:

    I would save surviving. It’s inspiring and beautiful. Even to others fighting others types of cancer or disease to keep fighting.

  11. Gaynor says:

    The ‘Surviving’ doll!

  12. gdgsdhfghfgsdg says:

    Wow, tough question!

  13. Nicole Swinney says:

    I would the breast cancer survivor. I think she is exquisite
    I also loved the reason behind her. I too have the same fear. I know survivors
    And i think it is a way to honor them. I love the double mastectomy bra.
    The detail is beautiful. I think her saddnees and scars tells a story.
    She should not perish. But if you could grab two the tattooed pregnant one is my next favorite

  14. Ruth says:

    I’ve stumbled upon your blog and I love all your dolls! I would let the mall perish and start again. New house, new life new doll and new ideas. Where did you get that black dress on your doll? Its beautiful. That dress and that doll together is perfection!

  15. Els says:

    I would save Captain Nemo’s Daughter. I’ve loved her eversince you created her in 2010.

  16. Cjoy says:

    I would save Cinderella of the North! The detail of her costuming is restrained but breathtaking. She appears to have stepped out of a painting searching for a new beginning. I think I would see something new each time I looked at her.

  17. Crystal says:

    I love the one with the cone shaped head piece, she is one of the heavier girls and I don’t know her name. Also Cathedral is so beautiful and serene! The one I’d really love to see there is the original swan princess, I just loved her!

  18. Anthony says:

    Hands down Cinderella, though I’d probably perish myself trying to save them all^^ What a gorgeous display Marina!!!! I truly love this quote of yours “That is the job of a doll – to bring us existential comfort by acting as a projection and a reflection of ourselves, made in our own image.” This is how I’ve always felt about dolls, they some how mirror a part of me.

  19. Jacci says:

    Kia, the Water Nymph. she was the first one i saw when i stumbled upon your site and i fell in love with her red hair, beautiful grey eyes, and, of course, her henna tattoos. i love Mehndi and all my tattoos are based on my own henna designs. so she would be my choice. though being a water nymph, she would probably put the fire out herself for you ;)

  20. Geovanni says:

    When I think about your dolls, automatically I think about Cinderella. She is who, imagetically, represents your job to me. And I guess that for many people around the globe as well. Since she has this kind of representation, I think it would be important to keep it.
    Enchanted Doll is Cinderella, Cinderella is Enchanted Doll.

  21. Jayne Wourms says:

    I don’t know why but I always had it in my head that Marina would make two of every doll, one to sell and one to keep. I somehow assumed there is a Cixi, Agnetha and Alice sitting somewhere is a cabinet at Marina’s home ready for an exhibit. I would have chosen The Step-mother but that isn’t an option anymore. Sigh…guess there is no point hoping the Easter bunny will bring me one.

  22. Vara Pappas says:

    I really want to buy the mastectomy doll, so I hope you don’t keep her!! I type this as I sit in my doctors office awaiting another drain to be removed from my recently amputated breasts…

    • Jayne Wourms says:

      I don’t know how I missed this comment, Vara, I am so sorry. I can’t imagine what you are going through. God bless you!

  23. sarah says:

    Assuming my cat was already safe, I would save State Property. But I might kill myself trying to save more… or at least get burned fingers.

  24. sarah says:

    Marina- do you collect art dolls from other artists?

  25. cristina nozzi says:

    these dolls are something more than mere objects in porcelain. They are small beings frozen in a kind of time bubble, but who have a breath of life in them, a kind of goblins who live a life locked in delicate and beautiful ceramic bodies. They are alive and vibrant, beautiful in their clothes and in their decorations, sometimes sad, sometimes happy. and desirable. or how desirable. vorri love to have one of these small creatures to myself, to be able to create an entire wardrobe that adorned the beauty, and the little gems to enhance the splendor. and the creator of such splendor is absolutely ringaziata for having given birth to such jewels. mile thanks for these wonderful little women you create.
    I can not wait that starts the next contest to try to win one of them. I know it will be very difficult but we hope a lot.

  26. Sonia Anne says:

    I too, always wondered, how Marina could ever part with her Enchanted Dolls? Now , I understand her explanation, but I still think that it would be very difficult, for me to part with them. I can not really say which doll I would try and save, as they are all, so beautiful. But if I must, I would try and save, Little Red Riding Hood! But let’s hope that none of them, will ever have to be saved from some catastrophic event!

  27. Syaron says:

    Though far different than your art, I craft dolls using Sculpey. They represent the people of my ancestry, Native Americans, The first one I did was a portrait my beloved grandfather in hand beaded leather regalia. Of all my collections that spans over 50 years, his portrait doll is the first I would grab after making sure my cats and dogs were safe. Then on the way out, even as my hair caught fire I would reach for my precious RED; she who is the culmination of years of yearning, to sustain my soul during such a horrific event. As for your amazing creations the one that reached to me is your very large porcelain doll, the one who looks to be maybe 24 inches or more tall. I do not know her name but there is a photo of you cradling her like a child in your arms. That photo has stayed with me.

  28. Crystal says:

    Where is Agnetha??? Please tell me she was not sold!!!!!! Wow the work put into that doll, I thought for sure she would be kept! She was so majestic. I’d rather think Marina still has her then someone else. Funny, even though I can’t have her, I don’t want anyone else to either!
    Anyway I realize you don’t have all the dolls out, so she must be stored away right now, right?

  29. Rachel Bjork says:

    I would save the Cinderella!

  30. Iki says:

    I would save Surviving/ survivor <3

  31. MollyTheWanderer says:

    Cinderella. When I think of you Marina, I think of two dolls. Imperial Concubine, the first doll of yours I ever saw, and Cinderella. She is my favorite doll. She’d be the one I save.

  32. Alice says:

    I would always say Cinderella :3 :3 :)
    ..but Captain Nemo´s Daughter is also one of ma favourite ones :)

  33. Marie W says:

    I’m so fond of the breast cancer doll; she is who I would keep. She is stunningly beautiful, and with such a lovely expression. You captured a somber peace in her face. That is probably why she is my favorite. Her body shows the marks of what she’s suffered, but her overall composition is no less than lovely. Cinderella is my second favorite; the costumes you have made for your little cinder girls are breathtaking.

  34. Care says:

    An article just popped up on my fb feed and I was overjoyed to see one of your dolls – my favorite one – The Princess and the Pea (the one I would save in the fire…) and then I had the misfortune of reading this insulting piece:

    – describing your dolls as “…kinda” art and “creepy.” What a shallow, ignorant and sexist piece. What do you do when someone denigrates your art in an article so public and not sure they even had permission to use your photos for a piece so lacking in respect. Sorry, Marina. :(

  35. Sonia Anne says:

    When people will go on this site, they will see how absolutely beautiful Marina’s dolls are, from the pictures, this person shows. They can see for themselves, that Enchanted dolls are OOAK, and their detail, expressions, costumes, etc are stunning. There are no other dolls out there, like her’s. So the person that says these kinds of things about Marina’s dolls, is showing a side of him/her, that knows nothing about Art, in it’s finest. I went on this site and I really enjoyed seeing the most beautiful dolls in the World! I just ignored, what this person has said, about these fine pieces of Art, being creepy and whatever else.

    I am sure that this person did not ask for permission to use these elaborate photos, which is very disrespectful and also, illegal. I don’t think that Marina has to worry here, as most everyone knows, who she is and what she is all about, when she portrays her elegant, intricate and most unique, pieces of Art!

  36. Jacci says:

    i cannot believe all the brown nosing that happens on this site and that everyone on this blog feels they have to defend Marina and her art. she’s a grown woman, she probably deals with this all the time.probably has many times before. i’ve had my say in here and gotten crucified for it plenty of times. nothing new. art is subjective and not everyone is gonna love a certain artist or their work.
    ‘sides, i’m sure any bad press has its purpose as well as good. and don’t they say all publicity is good publicity? whoever “they” are.
    i’m probably gonna get gang beaten for this one too, aren’t i, you guys? ;)

  37. Merri says:

    Luv ya Jacci….but you need to take a chill pill.

  38. Sonia Anne says:

    Oops, I guess I hit a nerve with you, Jacci. Sorry.

  39. Alice in Wonderland says:

    Jacci you are off course…back to Marina’s question…Let’s see…I would be crying so hard…my blurred vision would try to save as many as I could… I would already be mourning my loss(es) and would delight in the saved one(s)..? That IS the favorite one(s)…

    Also, the survivor/creator will continue to create more dolls for HATERS and LOVERS to enjoy :)

    • Jacci says:

      if i’m off course, so is the chick who put the link to the article on this blog and the first mega meltdown response that came before mine. you guys just like to pick on me cause i won’t kiss ass. i’m not a hater as far as Marina’s art, i just enjoy watching the rest of you lovers hate on anyone who isn’t in the group. and i have never been one to bow down to the queen bitch.

      go back to Underland. tell the Cheshire Cat i said hey.

      oh, yeah, this is a hypothetical question that all of you are freaking out over. none of us could get over there fast enough to save those dolls and they would probably survive seeing they’re porcelain. CHILL OUT

  40. Sonia Anne says:

    What is your problem, Jacci?? You are using profanity , now?? What for?? No one is freaking out, over anything!

    • Jayne Wourms says:

      Ugh, again, really?
      Here is the thing, as I see it. Everyone who comes here, comes here to look at and enjoy some very pretty dolls. Why? because life is hard sometimes and pretty dolls give us pleasure. We enjoy looking at them, talking about them and giving praise to their creator. It is a harmless indulgence that hurts no one, well with one exception…..

      Calling people kiss asses, brown nosers and subjects of “the Queen Bitch” is not pithy or witty or even necessary Jacci. I suspect very strongly that no one wants to “pick on you” for your beliefs. I can only speak for myself, but I wish you would just stop insulting people and then playing the victim when they simply defend themselves. I do know that the best course of action is to ignore such nonsense but I have such a hard time with such passive aggressive bullshit and people who just suck the air out of everything. Sorry guys, I just had to do it…

  41. Sharon Wensley says:

    I had to check a ways back and see who the bully was that made the rude comments about Marina and it was just who I thought. Why is that person even coming here if she hates us all so much. How horrible it must be to be so unhappy. This chat about saving a doll is just in fun. Lets face it, if there is a fire we save ourselves and loved ones. The dolls are secondary. This is just a little fun discussion, nothing serious.

    I do somewhat agree that some people are over the top with gushing to Marina, I am not sure if they think it will get them somewhere but for the most part people here either have an Enchanted Doll or would love to have one or just like them for the “ART” that they are. Most everyone is very friendly. I felt taken aback with the comments she made so if they were said directly at me I would feel sucker punched. Very disturbing someone is so upset with a few admirers of Marina and her dolls. I wonder if this person would say this to us all in person or just hides in her lonely house creeping on the computer saying nasty things. I doubt she is too popular with anyone she meets.

  42. Crystal says:

    I want to see the new doll’s eyes!

  43. Linda says:

    “Survivor” is my choice. Because we all are in one way or another. However letting “things” go can be a very good thing. It opens the door for new experiences in body, mind and soul. Sometimes objects are so weighted down with our emotions, time and memories (good & bad) that it bogs us down and holds us back. Preventing us from moving forward to discover other wonderful possibilities in our lives. We take away what we have learned and we move forward in the knowledge that we don’t know it all. What can I discover today and the next day after that and the next day after that! Surrounding myself with new ideas, materials and possibilities. That’s what!

  44. Jacci says:

    Dear Everyone,

    i hate to break it to you, but this “bullying” of mine was part of a final paper for my psych class. i know, i know. its evil and deceiving and all but my psych professor is weird. he literally told us to pick an online forum and “stir things up and note the reactions”.
    i’ve been on this site before so i knew i could do it here. again, my apologies. this wasn’t meant in any harm, it was just for the class. usually i don’t bother with final papers or projects cause i’m just screwing around in community college for something to do. but this was intriguing, because i’ve seen how others are treated when they aren’t in agreement with the majority.
    but i was serious, i do love that Water Nymph doll Kia.
    sorry, sorry, sorry to all of you and Marina and Chad. i really do like this site, so i hope you can all have a sense of humor, or at least roll your eyes at me and forgive my trespasses.
    if it makes any difference i got a B on the paper cause i suck at final papers and we were supposed to choose a site we hadn’t been on before. so i got points off. whatever.
    thanks for dealing with my crap, i promise i’m done.

    • Merri says:

      “i’ve been on this site before so i knew i could do it here.” Yes, and you have….many times….now that’s what I call dedication to research! ;) :)

  45. Sonia Anne says:

    Sense of humor about all this?? I don’t think so. I’m having a hard time, believing, all this “crap” as you call it. Why did’nt you go on a different site? Actually, going on any site, for something like this , is wrong, in my opinion. There has to be another way to get a person’s reaction to your ( crap ), for an exam. Not on a doll blog , that you have been on before and were asked to go on a site that you have NOT been on, before?? Why am I wasting my time??

    • Jacci says:

      because you had to say something about it, that’s why. its an apology. take it at face value or don’t. i don’t care.

  46. Jayne Wourms says:

    My son has a degree in Psychology and just discussing the phenomenon of people using the excuse of conducting a “social experiment” when they get in too deep, it is a real thing now. Martin Shkreli who increased the aids and cancer drug to ridiculous amounts is trying it now. I don’t know how successful he will be though LOL.

  47. Jacci says:

    so, you’re saying i’m in too deep so i’m lying about the “social experiment”? maybe. maybe i used it to veil an apology. ask me no questions i’ll tell you no tales. but i stand behind the apology, and that’s all.

  48. Jayne Wourms says:

    Yes, you did apologize, my last post was mean spirited and unnecessary so I guess I apologize too.

  49. Sonia Anne says:

    Was this really, just for an exam or was this really, just an apology? Just curious….

  50. Jacci says:

    Jayne, Sonia, i apologize to both of you, since things did get out of hand.

    Sonia, it was just an apology. i was over the top so i just made up an excuse to apologize. Jayne, its cool you called me out correctly. i don’t know why i did it. i was being a bitch. so. yeah. its just an apology cause i do like this site and the Art on it and i have nothing against Marina or anyone on the blog commenting. i was just blowing steam for no good reason and when i saw how it was headed i figured i better stop. hence, the apology and all.

    i’m known for being a loose cannon about stuff sometimes. i will control it on here cause no one needs to hear it. besides, like you said a while ago, Jayne, life is hard and its nice to come on this site to look at and enjoy the pretty dolls. and i enjoy the Art as much as everyone else. so i hope all is cool and i won’t do anymore social experiments with my temper ;)

    • Jayne Wourms says:

      Wow Jacci, that took guts. You and I have no problems. FYI- you have made me take a second look at Water Nymph! She is divine!

      • Jacci says:

        thank you, i’m glad. and yeah, isn’t Kia a gorgeous doll? i love the Mehndi designs and her face is so peaceful. she is my absolute fav.

  51. Sonia Anne says:

    Jacci, apology accepted.

    • Jacci says:

      thank you, i’m glad. i will do my best to watch myself on here. there’s no reason to stir up the masses with my psychobabble.

  52. Sonia Anne says:

    We must now get back to what this blog is all about and that is, about Marina and her beautiful dolls. We are very lucky to be on Marina’s blog.

  53. Chayanika Nigam says:

    Hey! I am a Delhi based journalist. Want to interview you. Can you pls provide me the contact details on my email id

  54. Linda says:

    Cinderella of the North.

  55. Linda says:

    I just came across your work on Facebook today, so I had to come and take a look at your website/blog. Your dolls are amazing. I can only imagine the amount of time and effort you put into your craft. Such beautiful art. Bravo.

  56. Laurel Franklin says:

    Surving. We lost our 46 year old sister to breast cancer in 2015 on my nieces 17th birthday. Gaye (our sister) fought hard & inspired many. This doll tugs at heart strings & resonates deeply. Such an amazing creation.

  57. Jon Songserm says:

    Pink Crown is my chosen one.

    We miss you Marina.

  58. This dolls looks very cute by the looks of it and I am dying to buy one for my self. I also want one of my own collection of various dolls starting from huge ones to the very small ones.

  59. Silvana says:

    I´m missing you Marina, and your amazing dolls. I hope everything is going with you!!!
    Hugs from Miami!

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