February Featured Fellow Artist 2015
Before I started making art dolls, traveling was the biggest passion of my life. Of course, in our modern age, most of my trips were done by air, but an old-fashioned train ride always seemed very romantic to me. I liked the rhythmical clatter of wheels, watching the meadows and fields flash by, and the smell of hot, boiled corn sold at the platforms of small southern towns. As I sat by the window staring at villages, old wooden houses and the long oblique shadows of trees, I fancied how I could get off the train at the first random station and wander aimlessly. It seemed to me that at the end of my journey my life would change irrevocably and it would never be the same.
Educated as an economist most of my work has been associated with administrative and accounting skills, but from early childhood you could find me busy drawing, painting, knitting, assembling, building, sculpturing, decorating. The hand-made arts have been my hobby for my whole life. But only as a hobby. Several years ago, however, I quit my dull and boring job and I took a doll-making course.
At that very moment the magic stepped into my life and changed it forever. I opened the door to the fantastic universe of art dolls. Suddenly, I got on my own fairy tale train whisking me towards my dream. The train is full of human-like, mysterious creatures who know all my secret wishes.
Inspiration always comes before the doll-making. It is never a separate process; It is life itself. I simply live my usual life: walk, read, watch movies, go to a museum, swim, cook, visit friends, play with my beloved cat, and, of course, travel.
I watch the world and people with great attention and curiosity, absorbing everything I see. Then my imagination starts doing its job--it transforms my impressions into new images. Some dolls have been born after I saw a beautiful fresco in the Venetian palace, or bought a piece of nice fabric with a violin and cello motif, or watched "The Great Gatsby" movie, or re-read my favorite fairy-tale, "The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz", etc. That is how it works: when the imagination is alive and capable, it can grind everything and convert it into a source of inspiration.
When I started making dolls I sculpted their faces, arms and legs from oven-baked clay. The body is soft with a wire frame inside. The average size of such a doll is about 50 cm/20". It usually takes a month to make one.
Sometimes, when complicated accessories are involved, the process can be even longer. For instance, while working on the "Venetian Doge" doll I also made a Sacred Lion's statue. When I was sculpting the viola player Yury Bashmet portrait doll, I had to make his viola and the chair he was sitting on. All the items surrounding the doll require time and effort as well.
As for the doll clothes they are 90% done by hand. A sewing-machine is not suitable because of the tiny size of clothes parts and the stitch is often not appropriate when it comes to a historical costume.
What are your plans for future projects?
I've been searching for "my own signature type of doll". I want the doll to be smaller and poseable so that people can easily place it in their homes wherever they like. They could put it on a bookshelf or sofa or hold it in their hands or even take it with them wherever they go. And, of course, such a doll should be more affordable for the buyer.
So now I am working on my own design of boudoir dolls with arms and legs jointed by decorative beads. It takes me about a week to make such a doll. The price will be much more attractive and this boudoir doll can be purchased not only by doll collectors but by anyone who wants to adorn their interior with a beautiful art doll or make a unique gift to a special friend.
Good question! Usually I have very little spare time since doll-making takes almost all of my time. I feel tired after long holiday periods when I am torn away from working--it is a great pleasure and relief for me to go back to my dolls. Of course, I don't work 24 hrs a day. I like traveling and reading. My other great passions are the theater and cinema. But even these pleasant things cannot divert me from the doll images which are constantly on my mind.
Become a fan of Olga on her FB page and keep abreast of new dolls and interesting tidbits.
Her main website is a Russian version.
(Though the text is not translated all the dolls pictures are available there.)
And when you're ready to purchase, you can visit Olga at her Etsy Shop!