I think I have a new hero.
Sometimes, I get a little depressed thinking about how jaded Americans are these days. When little kids listen to hip-hop and wear t-shirts that say “pre-sexy,” I wonder what kind of future they’ll have when there’s no innocence in their pasts. Maddy Nupp McDonald attracted my attention because she appeared to be someone who was bucking this trend. Then I read her website, and realized she isn’t just bucking a trend, she’s trying to create a new one. Here’s what she says on her eBay profile:
“When I started my Chibis From Kiki Valley theme, I thought to myself, that I realized that I wasn’t the only person who had a childhood that was cut short. I decided that chibis would be made for adults, not children. They would exude love and innocence. None of my stories would have a dark side. No worries, no unhappiness, all with safety and love. ”
I had assumed that since “Chibi” is a term used by Japanese Anime fans to refer to something little and cute, McDonald was selling her adorable work to teens and young adults in the anime/manga/bjd crowd. That doesn’t seem to be the case. On her website she unabashedly declares her intentions to sell toys to grown women. “I really love the idea of a woman, who’s just had a tiring day at work with a gronky boss, and maybe a husband who’s too tired to talk, coming home and finding one of my packages waiting for them, with all the childish goofy stickers, and silly stories, and finally a sweet little lovable goober to look at them, say I love you, and not break their purse,” she says in her blog profile.
Now, of course, it was her work that interested me in the first place. Her chibis (which are slightly reminiscent of Amber Matthies and Christie Friesen‘s work) are heart-meltingly adorable without being saccharine. It would probably be enough that they are perfectly proportioned to trigger that “must-love-baby” instinct, but these figures also possess complicated anatomies and coloring that make them real hand-made works of art. McDonald seems to go heavy on the metallic Pearl-ex powders, which is okay with me (shiiiiny!). Most of the chibis also come with accessories, like straw hats or drinks with straws in them, and detailed environments, to encourage the buyer to play with her new little friends.
I’m a terrible photographer, so I’m really impressed by people who take good pictures of their work, but McDonald takes it a step further than that by creating animated videos of her figures telling their personal stories.
The pictures I’m using here aren’t going to do her work any justice at all, so head on over to her website, espiritglen, and be sure to visit her video page (with the sound on!) the next time you’re feeling a little frazzled.
I’m converted, Maddy. Keep spreading the word!
Today I’d like to share some pictures from the Ahoy International Doll Show in Rotterdam. These pictures were taken by doll artist Marika Spijkers, who has kindly supplied the names and web addresses of the artists. I’ve selected my favorite pictures from this show, but please check out the longer list at PhotoBucket for even more. The show was full of fairies, mermaids, trolls, dragons, castles and Arabian princesses, but the first prize went to Claudine Roelens‘ Ballet Dancers, pictured above.
Above are two fairy palaces: Dreamworld by Marij Van Der Ham, and Arabian Dreamworld by Annelize Bos, which appears to have working lights. Below are a pair of adorably life-like babies, a fantasy mermaid and her baby by Joyce Kelder, and a charming fairy child by Edith Taylor:
There were lots of nonhumanoid critters at the show, too, including this fiery orange dragon by Joan Coster, a Blue Dragon with lovely fantasy film wings made by Paula Daling, and this hilarious turtle reminiscent of Christie Friesen‘s work by Netty Stege. I love how the shell looks like it’s made of plaid fabric!
Then there were gorgeously-sculpted and delicately posed fairies. From left to right, the first two are by Astrid Mulder; the third one, whose wings I adore, is by Hannie Sarris; and the fourth is by Saskia Hoeboer.
And, last but not least, there seems to have been a challenge relating to Arabian Nights, because there were quite a few belly dancers, Arabian princes and genies, including this fabulously posed sword dancer by Iris Linstra, a well-costumed pair of Arabian ladies, and a charming prince with his princess. Both of the last tableaus were made by Margriet Nijs and are actually sculpted from hard media but painted like cloth dolls.