The exact definition of a “doll” is a topic of continuing interest to me, and one that will probably crop up in this blog from time to time. Today’s artist can be found both on Flickr and on her own web page, and on the Flickr site her significant other, Chad Isley, responds to a surprised comment about the fact that the dolls can move with this: “That’s why it’s called a DOLL. She doesn’t make figurines.”
But oh, if only all dolls looked like these. Bychkova’s pieces are made of porcelain and remind me of those gorgeous ball-jointed dolls coming out of Asia these days. The difference is that each of Bychkova’s dolls is completely handmade, including the fabulous beadwork on the costumes. I’ve done enough of this kind of work myself to be completely in awe of Bychkova’s skill and artistic vision. Porcelain is not an easy medium to work with.
Part of me agrees with Ilsey; despite the trend in the doll world to describe our art as “figurative sculpture” in order to gain more acceptance in highbrow art circles, there’s something different about dolls. Sculpture is just for looking at, but dolls are for touching. I think that’s the paradox many of us struggle with. I gave up the fight a while ago and started making fixed sculptures, but perhaps Bychkova will inspire more of us to experiment with the tactile, interactive side of doll art.
If you’ve been inspired, too, here’s a tutorial on sculpting ball-jointed dolls.
P.S. Sorry for the lack of pictures, but you’ll just have to follow the links to see more!