Thursday, July 11, 2013
When Dolldom heard about artist Joey Versaw's plans to create the first digitally-printed doll, we were intrigued but also somewhat wary. How could a doll come out of a computer printer? With our emphasis on vintage design sensibilities, the last thing we desired was a techno-micro-chipped-babe. So much to our delight, the newest iteration of Mr. Versaw's Mary Magpie is a harmonious mélange of tech and craft. She may come hot off a printer but her visage and body are one hundred percent hand painted giving her a beautiful mid-20th century feel and style.
The 3-D printed Mary Magpie is an all original sculpt that pays tribute to the grand Barbie doll of 1959 and to über sexy goddesses like Bettie Page and Dita Von Teese. And with her evocative molded wigs, Mary is a chameleon supreme who never has a stray hair. Being in the same scale as other dolls in the eleven to twelve-inch scale, Mary will provide to be the ultimate transformer. One doll, one hundred different looks. Not bad for the pocketbook.
The debut collection of Mary Magpie dolls. To fee like a kid in a candy store!
Dolldom celebrates Mary Magpie with an exclusive fashion showand an interview with her creator, Mr. Versaw. And who best to dress retro-vibed Mary Magpie but Liz Cole of Retros? Add a couple of vintage Barbie fashions to Mary's exclusive and ultra limited debut fashions (editions of five) and Miss Magpie is ready for a fantastic fashion show. We hope that you enjoy it and also welcome Mary Magpie to your homes too.
Mary Magpie's box illustration designed by artist Brani Mladenov.
Dolldom: Who is Joey Versaw? Explain your journey as a doll maker and illustrator?
JV: From the age of three I started drawing the female figure, Among to scraps of papers my grandmother saved from my childhood I found drawings of Alice in Wonderland and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Both of these characters had something in common besides just a magical adventure. They were different and misunderstood just like me. I found myself at a young age living in my own fantasy land of imagination through art and design. At seven, my grandmother taught me to sew and to pattern using a Pink and Pretty Barbie doll. This world of fashion creation only existed at Grandma's, when I went home it was back to He-Man and GI Joe. I started sculpting and making my own dolls at the age of ten. I was obsessed with Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal and wanted to make dolls inspired by these characters. When I turned sixteen, I rebelled and started collecting dolls. By this time I think everybody was aware there was no changing to things. Since then I have been designing and sculpting as if I were being led to the other side of the rainbow by a force.
Mary's bar is well stocked. And Mary is all decked out in vintage Barbie doll's satin separates. Belt from Dusk to Dawn set from Barbie Fashion Model Collection. Rolling bar and furniture by Morrison's Furniture Studios.
Dolldom: Where does the name Mary Magpie come from? What is her storyline?
JV: I will just tell you the whole truth. I started sketching Mary when I was about thirteen. She was originally a beautifully sad and sullen girl but as I evolved into adulthood she took to more of a pin-up look inspired by Dita Von Teese, Bettie Page, and even a little Olivia from her Xanadu days. The name Mary actually comes from many places of inspiration: the character Mary from The Women and even my favorite character from my childhood cartoon favorite Jem who was called Stormer but her real name was Mary. Magpie came from my obsession with crows and black birds. My original sketches of Mary had almost bird like eyes, so Mary Magpie was born.
Dolldom: Take us through a brief tour of Mary's evolution.
JV: From sketches, Mary was first sculpted and cast as a boudoir type doll with a cloth body, using techniques of the old world taught to me by my mentor and friend Andy Meyers. I first sculpted all my original parts for casting out of wax. Once cast, I used Fortin (a ceramic like material) to make Mary. After about a year making her this way I decided to step up my game and take Mary to where I originally wanted to go - a fashion doll. Still made from Fortin, Mary now was a 11 1/2 inch fashion doll. After about a year in the Fortin material, I started pouring her in resin at home and she also became fully jointed. Sadly doing this at home had many issues like tiny air bubbles in the plastic and also causing me health problems. So I went on a search for a new way to make my dolls. One day I was talking to a good friend who had mentioned making a toy figure through 3-D printing. At the time I thought "What is 3D printing?" My friend described it to me and now we have Mary!
Leopard and magenta? Absolutely. Mary revels in such lively combinations by Retros. Emerald necklace by Joy Jarred.
Dolldom: Mary is the first ever digitally-printed fashion doll. Would you explain the process for creating a digitally printed doll?
JV: The first step is to either invest in an extremely expensive program to sculpt the 3-D doll yourself or to find a artist to take your sculpt and create a 3-D file of it for you. After this is done there are many trial and errors to perfect your jointing and other details because as precise as this computer art is, we as humans can easily make flaws in the design. Once you have your 3-D sculpt file, it is as easy as pie! Just send your file to the company and order away!
Dolldom: What is the material used for Mary? Paper? Wood? She feels like a Lenci felt fashion doll!
JV: Mary is made of laser sintered nylon plastic.
Bare essentials. Mary models vintage Barbie doll's delicate petticoat and pearls, two essentials that will give any outfit stature and class.
Dolldom: Explain Mary's articulation. We noticed that she can sway from side to side due to the way her hips are sculpted.
JV: Mary had evolved to a fully articulated doll but I felt it took the beauty away from the sculpt and I wanted to take her to a more classic and beautiful time. So I decided simplicity was best. But I made the shoulders and hips ball jointed to give her much more movement than a regular vintage fashion doll.
Dolldom: What does Mary bring to the fashion doll arena?
JV: I feel Mary is a mixture of many beautiful things brought to the table. She is advanced in technology yet carries the vibe of a more simple time. There are countless beauties on the market today but most feel soulless to me. I wanted to give Mary soul. I want Mary to be the doll that gets to travel and sit by the side of your bed so you can whisper secrets in her ear. She is not just a fashion doll, she is a friend.
Once upon a time there was a beautiful gal in a beautiful tulle and satin gown at a senior prom...Barbie's vintage wonder gives Mary an excuse to dance the night away. Semiprecious stone necklace by Mode de M.
Nurse Mary will take care of your blood test. Uniform in white linen by Liz Cole for Retros. Jewelry from the Barbie Fashion Model Collection.
In Betty Draper's bubble dress from the Barbie Fashion Model Collection, Mary exudes 60s charm.
Kindred Spirit is a limited edition fashion of only five. It's a must for those nights at the disco dancing to Donna Summer's Last Dance.
At the Retros Lounge (with furniture designed by Darren Cole) Mary hosts a cocktail party in a Retros strapless sheath with scarf. Mary sports a raven "waves" wig.
Who's the boss? Mary is! In her career girl fashion by Liz Cole for Retros, Mary rules the boardroom thanks to a green silk shantung jacket and a precious vintage flower print sheath. Jewelry by Joy Jarred.
Grande dame. Liz Cole created a beaded turban to go with a classic white faux fur stole and diamond and freshwater pearl necklace by Joy Jarred.
Debutantes the world over will want to follow Mary's lead wearing tulle and silk party dresses by Liz Cole for Retros. Necklace by Joy Jarred.
In Retros' interpretation of the famous Bild Lilli dirndl, Mary's ready for a Sunday excursion to the Catskills. Necklace by Joy Jarred.
Poodles on parade. Mary celebrates her pooch's win in Retro's big checked knit dress, coat, and cap. Enid Collins reproduction purse also by Retros. Necklace by Joy Jarred.
For more on Mary Magpie, visit her website or pick up a copy of the fall issue of FDQ or the August issue of Dolls magazines.