|Maaike featured in Art Doll Quarterly|
|Jovany and Cat Dolls|
Dear friends we are so excited to be in the May issue of Art Doll Quarterly ! We are more than happy to be among all those beautiful doll artists shown in the magazine. In case you haven't purchased it here is our article :
The truth is we hadn’t been interested in doll making until four years ago. We were creating mixed media photographs at the time, one of us would make the drawings and the other one would take photographs which were collaged with the drawings into one surreal image. We felt we needed a change. We didn’t know what we wanted exactly we only felt we were open to new experiences, the kind we’ve never tried before. We love looking at other people’s work and discovering new artists and that is when we discovered the work of Christina Bothwell and Christine Alvarado, among many other contemporary sculptors. They inspired us and this inspiration was the beginning of a new world for us. We realized we would like to try and create dolls and animal like shapes.When we were children we didn’t have so many toys as children do nowadays and we’ve always been fascinated by old toys and dolls, we find great inspiration in them.” I was lucky to have my grandmother who was a very talented dressmaker and she made sewn fabric animals for me to play with. She also used to repair dolls when she was very young: sew back their hair which fell off, mend their arms, legs and bodies, as in the1930s dolls cost a lot and people couldn’t afford buying many so they would have them repaired. This was the way the older sisters, around 13 years old, supported the large family of eight brothers. I think about her with great joy and comfort in my soul, she is the person who always encouraged me to draw and create.” ( Ildiko )This new journey was really hard at the beginning as we never learned anything about the technique of creating a doll, neither in the art school nor from any other artist as there is no art doll community in Romania. We had to learn everything by ourselves and the first lesson was to be patient no matter how hard it would be. We must say that the first creations were really ugly and we were not at all satisfied with the result. This was rather an experiment, we wanted to see what working with clay and fabric are like. Our first dolls were made of polymer clay, their faces were painted in acrylic colors and had fabric dresses hand sewn by ourselves. Creating their faces wasn’t so exciting as we’ve never been very fond of painting and the outcome was not the one we expected, we wanted a human expression which would somehow tell a story of her own. We soon realized we want the sort of material we can draw on and Flavia created a clay formula which made the drawing on it possible. That is when the true adventure began. We worked many hours every day as we were so excited and loved the process of creation. We never make sketches. The image of the work we want to make is rather unclear at the beginning and it recreates itself while working. We love the feeling of joy and surprise of a story which has never been told before. The process evolved in time and we love to try new shapes. Contemplation is the key for understanding the beauty and nobility of life. Through it we will see how beautiful or disordered the world has become. Interaction is the main concept in our work. This interaction takes place between the eyes and the contemplated and it is then born in the object. We’ve always held an intense interest for nature and animals. Our work is inspired by real life but eventually results into surreal. Even the human faced dolls are as if they come from an unreal universe, a stage in a theater where everything is possible. We feel at ease in this surreal world, we find joy in the untold and the infinite possibilities of the imagination. What we love the most is the making process which could last for a few weeks. It begins many times in a flea market where we look for fabric and small vintage objects to embellish the dolls. We recently found great inspiration in Romanian and Balkan folklore patterns and we used vintage hand embroidered fabric for the skirts of the deer dolls. Our love for animals found its expression in the animal headed dolls and other animal shaped objects we make. “In the beginning Flavia was shaping the art objects and making the skirts and I was the one who drew the faces and bodies, in time we both learned from each other and we both draw, paint and shape them. “All our works reflect our personalities, they are fragments of our souls. We sometimes imagine them on a beautifully decorated stage where anything is possible and this is such a beautiful image, full of possibilities and the pleasure of not knowing what’s next and e great expectation of the new work to come is amazing. There is such joy and an impossible feeling to describe before a new idea starts its way. You have to know the art of waiting, that sleepy momentum, which isn’t a waste of time or dead. We’d call it the glorious silence, one of the most important parts of the work.
Technique: All the dolls have their torso and head in one piece which is made of aluminum. The arms and legs are all separate pieces and they are shaped on wood sticks.Antlers are made of wire and aluminum. After the skeletons are ready we shape the air dry clay onto these structures. Once the clay is dry we can put on the dress or skirt. We sew the skirt of the doll, which is made of a vintage piece of fabric, by hand or machine,this depends on each piece. After the skirt is ready we tie it to the torso and sink it into a fabric stiffener and shape it and leave it to dry. The legs and arms are tied to the body with a thread. We sometimes embellish the sculptures with small vintage objects or for some creations we make wire wheels which we paint with acrylic colors. After the doll is dry we draw the body and face with graphite and colored pencils. The drawings are then varnished in order to protect them.