Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Elena's Twins

This is why I make dolls
I wanted to share this story which really touched my heart, from a very kind Lady from Russia who ordered a special doll from us.
She had seen photos of a doll that I made a while back and was just in love with it. You may remember the one. She was dressed very simple in white and photographed and posted on our blog in her wooden box I made for her. Everyone who saw this doll has fallen in love with it and without fail, said she had a soul.
Our client ask us to make her one similar to the first doll and paid monthly payments right on time for quite a while. I could tell how much this person wanted this doll and how much it meant to her but I had no idea how much or why.
Then, when I finished the doll on the 24th of March, photographed her and sent the photos to our client in Russia on March 25th, I got the most touching and heartfelt response back and why this doll means so much to her. I am also so pleased that I got it right, as far as the doll is concerned.
I hope this story touches you as well.
Oh, and by the way, when I read her e-mail below, I knew what I wanted to do immediately. I made the twin sister doll for her without her knowing it so when she sent her final payment I sent Elena the doll she ordered and her twin sister as a surprise gift from me. I am sure she would have probably have ordered the sister doll at some point and would have struggled, but faithfully made payments each month like she has with this one, but for me, its not about the money, even though we could sure use it. Its about touching someone's heart with my dolls who really deserves it. Sending this surprise doll to her along with the one she purchased, I hope will make her and her husband smile for many years to come, as a remembrance of their daughters.
The rewards of a doll maker.
"Hi, David!
It's amazing, the doll has turned a little different than the first - the first doll was a little girl, and mine has become mature. I liked the first doll because she looks like me when I was a child. The doll, which you did for me is even more like me - her nose is not round, it is longer - as I have.
24 years ago on this day, the same day you sent me the photos of my doll, died on March 25 our twin girls, they died on their birthday. Other children have not been. It was a great sorrow, but God, and we decided to accept his fate. We have dedicated their lives to work and succeed in our profession. I work as Director of Economics at the well-known Russian company that produces greeting cards
We remember our girls on our wall hangs a postcard, which we regard as a portrait.
And seeing the doll you made for me, I immediately thought it was a portrait of my daughter. Not because of external resemblance, I saw in it her own soul.
Later, in a year, I ask you to make a second doll - twin sister. I would have ordered  two, but can not afford it right now. For two years my husband is very ill, he had two complex operations, and this summer will be another, but here in Russia it is very expensive. But later, I'm sure I will order the second doll.
I am very glad that fate brought me together with such talented people like you and Paul. You make our lives more beautiful, thank you.
Best regards,
Elena finally got her dolls this Saturday in Russia. I could not believe it took 5 weeks to get them to her by airmail!
Needless to say, we got two wonderful heartfelt e-mails thanking us for the wonderful surprise. I kept writing to her saying I am sorry its taking so long for the "doll" to get to you there in Russia but I promise it will be worth the wait. I know that she was checking tracking ever morning and evening as well, I mean she paid a lot of money for the doll and I know she was worried.
Here is a excerpt from her e-mail to us.....Oh and we, and this story are all over blogs and journals from lots of people in Russia now including Elena's Journal.

 "Dear David and Paul!
 My husband and I received the package, opened it, and we are shocked! My God! We could not even wait for a surprise!! I want to laugh and cry at the same time!!
 Dolls are beautiful, they are the best! I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I even now I can not write more! I have to live day and night today and tomorrow I will write to you.
 Best regards,
 Elena and Vladimir"
"Hello my dear David, and Paul!
This morning I woke up and the first thing that fell my opinion - two sisters, who sit side by side on a bench, so calm and beautiful. The first unexpected emotions have calmed down and now I can write you a letter.
Yesterday, at our post office, I opened the cardboard box, I was surprised at such a big wooden box, and I thought, perhaps within one doll so well packaged that it does not hurt in the long journey to Russia. When I untied the ribbon, lifted the wooden lid and removed the foam, I was so surprised and said loudly, "Oh!" That all people who were there, stop packing their parcels and turned in my direction. My husband looked into the box and his joy was very great and sincere. Then we saw the photo and letter.
Post office not far from our house and we walked, I was carrying a wooden box in his hands and clutched the box to his chest, we hardly talked, we experienced a strong shock. My husband knew that I ordered you a doll, I showed him a photo and he immediately understood why I wanted to have this doll. But I did not tell him I dream that there were two dolls. When the parcel so long traveled to Russia, he was worried more than I do, every day, looking in the mailbox, waiting for a letter from the post office.
Vladimir asked me where did David find out about our girls. I said that you once wrote about them in the letter. Now I understand why you in every letter wrote about parcel is taking so long, but it's worth it you will see. I could not even dream of what can happen is a miracle. You did a miracle for us and it's amazing and very touching! It is surprising that on the other side of the Earth are people who think we have done this for me! April 26th, I had a birthday and the doll was a gift to our family to me. Though she did not come on my birthday, but we knew that she was on the way, and agreed that the celebration will be when the doll comes. But such a wonderful gift, I could not wait! And you at this time for me to do such a wonderful gift! It is so amazing and wonderful!
The dolls are beautiful! You are very talented artists and wonderful people! In the picture you are very cute. I realized that the tall and handsome is David, a handsome and with a beard is Paul.
Sometimes I think that God loves something for me when my life took place in the matter, have always been the strength to fight it. And sometimes fate were presented by my astonishing surprises. My Guardian Angel is taking care of me. I am very happy woman!
Today, I show my online friends your beautiful dolls and tell this amazing story.
In Russia, there is one song:
"Over the blue sky Canada, through the birch trees slanting rain.
So similar to Russia, but Russia not "- and that brings us together.

We embrace you!
Best regards
Elena and Vladimir"

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hello everyone....I though I would share our French Court Doll on the blog.
I have always wanted a antique French court doll for many years but since it has not happened, I decided to finally go ahead and try to make one for myself.
I am still a bit surprised now good this doll turned out. I have never made a first time doll of anything that I would not change a thing on.
I was in the studio the night I finished dressing the doll, looking at him/her up close and at a distance and it really fools even my eyes into thinking I am looking at a antique.
It took us making quite a few English woodens before I got one that I was 100% pleased with. I never though I could successfully make a court doll, which is why I never tried even though I have though about it for years. I am the type that if I can do it really well, with nearly perfect results and to the highest possible skill level, then I don't want to do it at all.
The doll looks so much like a antique that anyone would be hard pressed to tell it is not....not even owners of the antiques.....Quite a few of the people I have sent photos to including a friend who is an owner of a antique French court doll, a museum curator I know and antique dealer friends have written back saying, how on earth did you manage to get one? Where did you find one to buy?
 Of course when they find out we made the doll, we have had some wonderful compliments and comments....

"I am in awe! She/He truly deserves to be seen!"
"This doll, which I will call your lovely person, is an absolute and total triumph!!"
"Oh my David, I just got chills looking at her magnificence!! She is so amazing and every detail is past wonderful!"
"I can't believe this is not a antique"
"This doll is just incredible! It looked great undressed but it's absolutely amazing dressed, (much nicer than the originals by the way), you should be very pleased."
"Wow, wow, wow!!! I am amazed David, she/he is incredible. The doll is looking so splendid, the underdress is superb. I love it, completely antique in every way! The patina is so wonderful. The open robe is one of the most beautiful I have seen. Thank you again for sharing these incredible images!"
"Oh my gosh, you did and AMAZING job here. Really.....wow....and I have one so I know how they should look. Really nice....the detail and depth of your carving, painting and patina is just right."
"Oh my gosh, you guys, this is beautiful. You have the fabrics and trim just right....and I love the hat"

I am very pleased with the hat and the patina I was able to create on it to match the doll and dress perfectly.
The body type and construction / carving and anatomy on our doll is identical in every way to several of many of the antique French court dolls which were representing cross dressers, having a female bust, very high and looking like two half grapefruits plunked on and male genitalia.
There were also the royal family dolls (Marie Antoinette, Louie XVI and XVII, Princess Lambella) which were more flattering portraits and anatomically male or female. Also court ladies and men, both anatomically male or female, and the odd looking, unattractive little dwarf like court dolls and the more elaborate hermaphrodite court dolls as well. Many of the dwarf looking ones were also hermaphrodites.
It is our opinion, looking at the antique court dolls from a doll makers perspective such as ours, its quite clear that many of them were made by puppet makers and used that way, as they are constructed just like puppets with looped wires connecting the joints. There is even one old black and white photo of one of the court ladies, which is very similar to our doll, with her puppet strings still attached and hanging by them. Makes perfect sense if they were used as entertainment in naughty puppet shows to entertain the royals and members of the court.
Hope everyone enjoys the photos...I have not included the undressed photos or under the dress photos and of course if you are familiar with French court dolls, then you know why ;o)

As always, if you would like to view the photos larger than the annoying slide show, right click on each of them and open in a new window for a large detailed image.