In the second installment of our interview with Tireless Artist, Dorote discusses costumes, wigs, the BJDs and dolls she’s dreaming of, and her collaboration with Lidia Snul.
BJDmagazine: What materials do you use to paint your dolls, and why?
Dorote: I used to paint dolls with oil paints, but now I paint my dolls with acrylic paints most of the time. In the case of Dirvolira, I used pencil and pastel. After painting my dolls, I always seal them with acrylic varnish to protect against aging.
BJDmagazine: Why do you chose to create characters with such long thin limbs?
Dorote: I am fragile on the outside and strong on the inside – like my characters. These proportions help me to convey that feeling.
BJDmagazine: Tell us about your doll’s wigs. How do you create them? How much work is involved in making one?
Dorote: Wigs are an important part of the costume in my dolls. I like them unrealistically high and with lots of curls. They all are made from natural wool or mohair, since no artificial fiber can give such quality. As with everything else about my dolls – wigs take much time and work to create. The process of wig making is long and needs lots of attention. To describe it briefly – I make a base of the shape I want, then I create curls and sew them to the base. After the wig is sewn, I glue it to the doll’s head and decorate it with beads and other items. For the final step – I make additional curls and glue them on. Usually I need around 20 hours for one wig.
Right now I have an idea for making a BJD with a fancy wig that is not permanently glued to her head.
BJDmagazine: You say “a doll is done when it doesn’t need my work anymore and lives on its own.” Can you elaborate?
Dorote: There always comes a moment when I look at a doll and I know that she’s got everything she needs – all the beads are added, all the curls nicely shaped, all the details of the outfit are sewn, each ribbon is beautifully tied, and my signature is in its place. That is the moment when I do not see anything that could be added to the doll. It means she is finished. I never come back to finished dolls and never remake them because I work on them as long as it takes for them to be perfect. When I am satisfied with the doll, she starts living on her own. At that moment she is ready to show herself to the world and leave my house for the new owner’s home.
BJDmagazine: Can you describe your work process for us. What part does drawing and planning play in it?
Dorote: It all starts in my head. The idea appears and I carry it there for a while. Sometimes, it is not strong enough and I let it go away. Other times, it develops into a pretty realistic character, which I sketch.
I prefer to take my time sketching and planning all the details so I know for sure how and what I should do after I start making the doll.
It certainly saves me a lot of time. It is faster and more convenient to design the doll in my head and on paper, than to design it while sculpting the doll or working on a costume. First I draw what the doll is going to look like, then I plan the technical part of making her. Sometimes I do information research for characters such as historical figures or animals.
After I know how I want the doll to turn out and how to make it – I start sculpting. It takes many hours before I am completely satisfied with the sculpting. I keep cutting, sanding, and sculpting until the moment when I see it and I think “yes, this is it!”
I then start painting to give the doll more life and character. Painting a doll is like painting a 3D picture – you need the skill of a portrait painter. It is not just about giving some color to that face, but also about making shadows deeper and lights brighter, giving it a mood, putting some thought into these eyes…
After the painting, I start working on a wig and a costume, which takes hours and hours of sewing and embroidering and beading. Lots and lots of attention and patience are taken until I can finally celebrate the birth of another unique creature.
BJDmagazine: Your dolls are all mythical or historical women. Why? Do you have any plans to create a male doll?
Dorote: I guess they all are women because somehow I reflect myself in my dolls. However, yes, I was thinking about creating a human-like male doll. The only males I’ve created so far are a fox called Dream Seller, and a rabbit/brownie called The Professor ).
BJDmagazine: You only create OOAK dolls. Why do you make the choice not to reproduce?
Dorote: It is all because there are too many character waiting desperately to be created in my head
…reproducing… well maybe someday far in the future…
I just enjoy creating unique dolls so much. I like that they are all different from each other.
If I ever use molds – it will be for a very limited edition.
BJDmagazine: What do you find is the most rewarding moment in the creative process?
Dorote: I can’t point to just one moment… The whole process is rewarding. Being able to do what I love to do is rewarding. Getting feedback from my wonderful audience is rewarding.
BJDmagazine: What do you find is the most challenging moment in the creative process?
Dorote: To find the beads of exact shape and size right when I need them. … Just joking. But yes, sometimes I know what I want and I know how it must look, and then I spend hours walking from store to store looking for that exact detail.
BJDmagazine: You say you are happy and sad when a doll is finished. Can you tell us more about that? What is your relationship to your dolls?
Dorote: The whole creation process gives me a lot of joy and pleasure. I am always full of excitement and curiosity about how the doll will turn out. I see her getting more and more alive in my hands – that feeling is incredible. So yes, it is a bit sad when all this process is finished.
But then I just sit and look at my doll, and I feeling all the energy I put into her coming back to me, and I feel happy.
BJDmagazine: This year, you are stating a collaborative project with Lidia Snul of Bjtales. Can you talk about the project?
Dorote: I have admired Lidia’s dolls for some time and was always wondering how they would look dressed up in fancy hand made costumes. One day Lidia wrote me how she likes the costuming of my dolls, and so I offered to make a collaborative project, just to see how my costume would look on her doll. It appeared that she had exactly the same idea and was about to propose that to me.
We have been thinking about a character and came up with a pirate girl. She has a sad story which we will tell soon. Meanwhile, Lidia is casting her and I am planning the costume.
BJDmagazine: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Dorote: Nothing comes to my mind at the moment – I have to admit, this was the longest and most detailed interview I have ever given. Thank you very much for your questions!
And a big thank you to all of you who have spent their time reading this till the end!
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