Saturday, March 2, 2024

Dolls Alive: The Art of Ayakadoll

In a culture inspired by the belief that both the animate as well as the inanimate possess power, dolls in Japan are more than mere toys or objects of beauty. Consequently, it's not strange at all that, in Japan, dolls are believed to have a soul, even more so when we consider that the word "ningyō" translates to "having human form".

This idea could not be more evident than in the amazing work of Ayakadoll by Tanaka Hisae. A veteran of the doll making profession, Tanaka learned her art after working with an expert who created doll heads for Hina, geisha, and Kabuki dolls employing the more than 200-year old method of using gofun (seashell powder) and nikawa (a type of glue made from animal skin).

A time-consuming process, this form of doll sculpting yields - in the gifted hands of Tanaka- countenances of recognizable familiarity and undeniable depth of spirit. In other words, these dolls are alive with their sensitively sculpted eyes with inset glass orbs, nose, and expressive mouths. It's amazing to see how well Tanaka conveys emotion and mood. As it is to be expected, each doll head is an original one-of-a-kind work of art.

Tanaka's idea for creating dolls is also influenced by the desire to allow them to come out of the rarefied realm of the decorative object and become a 21st century fashion doll, one that will convey movement via the use of the highly poseable Obitsu 1:6th scale body. The result if pure genius. Dressed in one of Tanaka's handmade and richly accessorized fashions, an Ayakadoll is both a fashion doll gem and an engrossing lesson in Japanese culture. But the enjoyment of the Ayakadoll does not stop there, for these fashionable dolls are happy to redress in current styles too! From Momoko to Francie to Petwork's Eight and Nine, the Ayakadoll time travels with amazing ease, as our photo portfolio illustrates.

Tanaka's Etsy store, Ayakadoll, is a treat to any dollector looking to enhance their fashion doll family with a soulful new member. For more information, visit Ayakadoll (there's a great photo slide presentation showing how Tanaka makes the gofun heads). Ayakadoll is also on Instagram.

Dolldom is honored to profile the work of doll artist Tanaka Hisae of Ayakadoll.

Time traveling begins...

Saturday, February 10, 2024

A Wish for Peace

 Dolldom hopes for peace, despite how difficult it may seem for humanity to overcome its limitations, accept its place in the natural world, and cease its pursuit of destruction. 

For this entry, Alexander by Anna Egorova, Molly Hayward by V.Jhon, and a Jupiter by MarmiteSue pose with origami fauna to convey a message of hope. 

Alexander wears a vest and slacks by Chewin Doll. 

Molly Hayward wears a beaded jumpsuit also by V.Jhon. 

Jupiter wears a wig by Chewin Doll. His fashion is by ValeyofDolls

Saturday, January 27, 2024

What We See Is What We Get

And what we see (as much as what we get) is based on our ability to question how we determine what is real. A doll is a real as its porcelain, resin, vinyl and hard plastic form, and as our powers of make-believe allow. But in some instances, the doll (and their creator) aim to take the experience to a different level and insist that we engage more deeply in the dynamic by asking us to question how we recognize (versus know) what is intrinsically human. 

Anna Egorova's Alexander ball-jointed doll is one perfect example. Perhaps we look at him and react adversely (thank you, Sigmund Freud, for the uncanny) to the segmentation of his body, almost as if we were facing an autopsied body à la Frankenstein's monster. Perhaps we connect immediately with his eyes and sense his sadness (or his serenity) in the same way that we've done with a lover. But ultimately we are with him, using our own tool kit for finding the human traits with which we identify. Some may even take it further, and aim to closely read Alexander just to be able to capture that subtle gesture with which he reveals his intimate reality (thank you, Miguel de Unamuno for el querer ser). And then, the sky is the limit. 

In this study of Egorova's Alexander, Dolldom invites its readers to partake of the examination of an illusion to hopefully arrive at a revelation of the self. Who Alexander ends up being will be the product of who we are. And who we are will end up being the product of who Alexander empowers us to be. 

Alexander in a resin ball-jointed doll created, hand painted, and wigged by Ana Egorova of Solar Wind Dolls. 

Sunday, January 21, 2024

A Real Heartthrob

In time, what does a sustained collaboration yield? In the case of today's entry that answer is simple: "Heartthrob” Miss Mary!

This new iteration of the luxury resin 12-inch doll is swathed in a print reproducing the very first illustration made by Bulgarian illustrator Brani Mladenov for Mary Magpie doll. Mladenov, over the years, has created iconic artwork to accompany doll artist Joey Versaw's creations.

The dress spells heartthrob with its precise tailoring showcasing Miss Mary's voluptuousness with a black Latex heart cutout neckline. The accompanying faux fur shrug jacket in matching Mladenov print is lined in fantasy leopard rendered in turquoise with yellow spots.To add more fun, the shrug is reversible! A coquettish yellow neckerchief adds extra pizzaz. Matte black stiletto high heeled pumps complete the celebratory look. 

Miss Mary's face up defines glamorous vamp with an amazing combination of ochre yellow eyeshadow, slick black eyeliner, and - hold on to your seats! - black lipstick! Theda Bara for 2024! Versaw will also offer the option of an equally vampish reddish orange lip color. And as it is customary for Miss Mary, she comes with two faceplates and a gorgeous deep burgundy ponytail wig. The Miss Mary to start 2024 is a "Heartthrob"

Preorders for "Heartthrob" open today, January 22 and close on February 16, 2024. Do not miss this chance to own this ultra limited offering by visiting Miss Mary's Boutique. 

For inquiries about Brani Mladenov's amazingly joyful work, visit his Instagram, Facebook and website.

Preorders for "Heartthrob" open today, January 22 and close on February 16, 2024. Do not miss this chance to own this ultra limited offering by visiting Miss Mary's Boutique. 

For inquiries about Brani Mladenov's amazingly joyful work, visit his InstagramFacebook and website.