Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Origin of the name Magic Mirror

Hello everyone!

I still have in my mind the idea of updating my blog more often. With my website incoming, I would love to leave my blog for more personal stuff about my work and ideas, so let's see if this time is the good one, and this can happen properly!

Recently, I had to do a presentation of Magic Mirror  as final project for an entrepreneurs course that I've been attending during the past month. I have to say that it helped me a lot to clarify my ideas and put some order in my thoughts and work priorities, plus it gave me a new insight and momentum to re-take Magic Mirror with new ideas and energy. I had to talk in front of the other students about what is this doll thing I do, about the origin of the whole project and it's further development.

And I thought, it could be a great idea for a blog post, to talk you about the thoughts and facts behind Magic Mirror, and the why's and the who's of it all. Just in case someone is terribly bored and wants to read a bit of dolly disgression XD.
So let's start on the beginning: why Magic Mirror?

If you ever have wondered about my logo, and the name of the project; well, of course, it has a story behind it:

The two M's stand not only for Magic Mirror, but also for Marta Mora, which are my name and surname. I always liked the graphism and the symmetry of the M letter. Also, mirrors are really special for me since I'm a child. I find them alluring and terrifying. I could stare at my reflection and the world behind it for hours, trying to catch glipmses of anything strange. I was convinced that one day, I would see the girl in the mirror moving on her own, or something out of place crossing behind her. I had amazing dreams and terrible nightmares about it, believe me!
 In many cultures and mythologies, mirrors are windows to another world, the parallel one where everything is the same but reversed; a darker reflection of ourselves, where nothing is as we remember.  As Alice herself crossed the Mirror in the second part of her tale, or the Evil Queen in Snowhite lived enslaved to the perfection of her own image, mirrors are objects of wonder and magic, and a perpetual source of stories and legends. The mirror of the Preste Juan, Vasilisa's Silver Plate, The Reflecting Pond... there is something inherently magical about seeing yourself. I could talk about for hours, but I want to keep this moderately short, so let's keep going  ; )

So, Magic Mirror entered my mind naturally as a good name for a project where I project and reflect myself, as I do with my dolls. Because BJD's have always been for me a surface where I also, somehow, see myself projected. My inner ideals of beauty, my aesthetic preferences, and the ideas that I could had in my mind in every stage of these eleven years of passion, first as a collector and owner, and later on, as a maker. And as much as they reflect me, they also reflect their owners. I absolutely adore to see my dolls being played with, being customized and becoming little mirrors displaying the inner self of those who purchased them. It is such a hard to explain feeling, to see my creations supporting the ideas of others, transmutating into small homunculi carrying someone's dreams. Is pure magic. And sometimes, moves me to tears, I fool you not.

Fairytales and Celtic mythology will be another blog entry soon; but if you have been following me for a while, I guess that by now you'll have noticed the strong influcence that lies beneath my whole work related to that. I decided to inspire and decorate in ancient north-european imaginery and designs, fascinated since a child with the intrincate viking and celtic patterns and knot-designs. Then, when I had to decide about the colors, my choices were obvious. I wanted something pale, shiny, positive, summery, and something colder, darker and wintery, to express both sides of the mirror. We will talk further about the meaning of opposite colors and how it's related to me, but I will drop you a little spoiler: In european mythologies, Fairies, specially celtic-inspired ones have two courts: The Summer Court, whom would reign from Beltane (2nd of May) to Samhain (1st of November), and the Winter Court. Those are also called Seelie and Unseelie fairies, corresponding to all that is opposite and complementary in nature. Light and Shadow, Thunder and Earth, Male and Female, Winter and Summer, Good and Evil. Both sides of ourselves, two sides of a coin, and perpetually cycling, as nature does.

Morrigan and Brigid, Goddesses of Light and Shadow

So that's why my two M's reflect each other, are a positive and a negative, and represent the dual nature of fairies, the two sides of the mirror.  I tend to work with pale purple, since it's my favourite color and reminds me about my childhood with my grand father, walking the large fields of spanish lavanders at the mountains near Madrid; or the fragant bunches of lilacs that my granny would bring home when they were in season. White and Lilac are for me the colors of spring and light. For the same reason, I choosed dark green and black for the winter's colors, reminding me of the dark pine trees, the holly leaves of the vernal season, and the nightsky. So you will notice, if you inspect my work closely, that these motifs appear a lot in everything I do, and belong to my imaginery and iconography (which I think that gives me enough for another blog entry, talking about the designs I choose and why!)

                                              ...“But that is another story and shall be told another time.”

                                                                                                                                            Michael Ende

Thank you very much for your time, and I hope you enjoyed reading! Now you know me and my dolls a bit more.

Until we meet again!


Thursday, July 16, 2015

About Cluny, doll inspiration, style trends and plagiarism.

Hello everyone!

Upon the release of the pictures of my last doll, ''Cluny'', it has been some comments about her looks, in a different stylistic look than my previous dolls. Someone commented the ressemblance to certain french dolls, specially those of the artist Enaibi. I would like to talk about this issue and present my point of view, since I clearly disagree with the veredict of ''Plagiarism'' that seems to be hanging over my work.
But first of all, the main question you may ask me:

- Is Cluny influenced by Enaibi's works?

OF COURSE she is. And I will add: not only by Enaibi's works; I also like a lot of other artists and doll making brands that have influenced me: Depths Dolls, Tarte Au Citron, Lillycat's, the work of my friend Sther Vivi on her first doll, ''Dreamy'', Irrealdoll, Twigling... I can say this loud and clear; I am not ashamed and have nothing to hide. I've been following and admiring the artists on France and all over the world since years ago, I've attended all the Ldoll conventions since they started, and they played a crucial role on me deciding to start my own doll adventure.

I consider myself well in the european trends. I can also assure that nobody starts sculping out of the blue, inspired by thin air. Not only Cluny has strong inspiration, but ALL MY DOLLS HAVE. From my very first one, Faun, which strongly ressembles my back then current love, CP Shushu, till Cluny. They all show my progress and change of tastes in the last years.

With Cluny specifically, I always thought on re-creating something with my former master mold of Saoirse, applying what I learnt upon making Maeve's body. And yes, it is obvious, and I won't hide (why should I??) that she has ressemblances and influences to dolls from other artists. But she is also the result of my own experience and hard work. I've been openly showing the pictures of the work in progress since December, and I never had anything hidden or sneaky here.

- What can you tell me about the two colored resins?

You mean this picture, right?

To make this, I simply used a basic casting technique that is is used in other resin items, like brand logotypes and keyholders. I was mainly curious to know if I could do it cleanly, and how would it work on my doll. I of course am aware that other french artists use this technique in a similar way (specially the white belly!), so this was mainly experimental. May main goal is to be able to create patterns and shapes that won't fade with rubbing, and I can tell you now that I will be making more in the future, perhaps even with more colors.

- So, is Cluny a copy?

NO. Categorically no, and I will prove it. I felt inspired by an aesthetic trend that it is spreading; I loved certain details of specific dolls, disliked some others, and as a ressume, I started to sculpt my doll with a bunch of ideas in my head, seeking for my own input at it and trying to use all the knowledges I gathered upon the creation of my former works. Cluny was built from scratch. I will also kindly note that the words Plagiarism and Copy are very, very serious accusations and does not refer to stylistic similitudes or influences. It involves a direct robbery of another artist work; and then selling it, pretending that it is your own.

AKA- recast, complete or partial.  I know each of us can think in something which relates to this. But it is not my case, and you will see it now.

Enaibi contacted me when she was told about the existence of Cluny, and she had some worrysome comparative photos that made her suspect that Cluny was quite a close copy to her doll, Satyne. If you would see this picture alone, the immediate conclusion could be ''wow, that's really VERY alike''. Because, well, it is.

At the left, the work in prowess I showed of Cluny. At the right, Satyne.

But I was so lucky to have a friend that happens to own a Satyne. She was kind enough to take her to the Barcelona Dolls & Party, and we could take some comparative pictures of both dolls toghether. Look to what happens when the dolls hips are actually side to side:

 Not only the shape, but the angles, the positioning of the pieces, plus all the joints are different.

So I think these pictures show clearly that Cluny is not a copy of Satyne. They share certain features, and that's obvious: a flat chest, boney hips and furry shoulders. But the whole body shape and structure is different.

Recently I heard that there seems to be another doll that some people find similar to Cluny, again another one of Enaibi's dolls, Airelle. And in this case, the similarities are more ovious since they share very peculiar feature in the lower train: thick calves and big feet. In this case, I am not lucky enough to have an Airelle nearby to take comparative pictures with my doll; but I have seen her in person and I know positively that she is much larger and heavier. Her proportions are very different, and this is easy to show if you make a picture of them standing side to side, since they both are exactly the same height (31cm).

If you would see both dolls separatedly, you could again think that the bodies look extremely similar (besides heads,  which are clearly different in size and style. But if you could put both dolls toghether, then the differences are way more obvious:

Cluny is obviously lighter and thinner. And I am sure that if I would have the chance to photograph her side to side with Airelle, differences would be even more evident. Cluny is way smaller and slender, her joints are different, and the overall construction of the doll is simply not the same.

So, as a conclussion to all this: You won't hear me negating influences, neither on Cluny or on any other of my dolls. I always loved the flowing curves and the soft movement, and that was my main goal with this doll, not ''to make her as alike as I can!''. All my dolls are built from scratch (If anything, I modify and mix-match my own pieces, like in this case), and therefore, they are the result of my work. Similarities don't make copies. Honestly, I see daily in the ABJD market dolls and doll bodies that look alike among themselves much more than my doll looks to others, and nobody seeks for plagiarism. They are trends and influences, and yet, each sculptor's characteritics show through the whole process.

Many large male bodies share common characteristics

And many MSD kid bodies do, too. These are just some examples.

I must say I am a bit concerned of how happy-trigger people are these days with this issue. I perceive an increasing paranoia looking foor copies, similitudes, and people to accuse. It is like some kind of Witch Hunt, that in my opinion has been triggered by the boom of the ''do it yourself'' in the BJD world, and the afluence of many more artists and new ideas. And new revisions of old ideas. Many of my doll makers friend have privately said to me how scared they are to try this or that body joint, or these other features, because ''they will be accused of copying''. I honestly dislike this mood, and i think that the more artists are evolving and creating new stuff, as long as they do it in a legitimate way, the better for we all. And the more audience that we will drag towards our hobby, now a business for many of us. 

In this post, I've said most I had to say about this subject. Both Enaibi and I have been talking personally about it for the last past weeks in emails, and in my opinion, this issue manily concerns the both of us, specially knowing that Cluny started mainly as an artistic project and she was never designed to be sold in large sales, or in a preorder. And still is not.

If someone wants to talk about it further, feel free to adress me. I'm always open to discuss about any issue politely and as I said, I have nothing to hide here. But with this post, I consider this closed on my side, and I will rather move on to other issues.

Best regards, and thanks for reading,


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Spring preorder cancelled

Hello everyone!

I must apologize for how miscared my blog has been. In my discharge, I will have to say that the last year has been hectic in movement and in things to do, that are still undone. It is time to put some order in my life and setup things properly. Soon, I will have finally my own working and living space, and I hope that it is the beginning of a very good times to come.

I'm writing just a short notice since many of you have been asking about the spring preorder for the fairies of Glendalough and Maeve.

As you know, I use to work in a bi-yearly preorder basis, making one in the 1sth of November and another the 1st of May. This year, tho, I've decided to change my business model.

The waiting times and the problems with my manufacturer have been really big. I do not work well in a preorder basis, and I can't allow waiting times to stretch like this between one order and another. Is not fair for my customers, and it stresses me a lot. After a lot of consideration, I've decided to switch the way I work from preorder to In Stock dolls. Perhaps it won't be as safe as a preorder basis, but that way, I can grant my customers that their dolls will arrive soon after the purchase. To me, keeping the illusion after a doll purchase is important. So fast processing and shipment has to be a must.

So, stay tuned! I will announce the dolls available in my social media and in this blog (which I promise to keep much more updated and full of info, and not to succumb only to the Facebook easy commodities!). To start with, I have some dolls available after the Doll North convention in Canada. They will be ready to be sold tomorrow, some of them belong to the limited edition ''A Bunch of Lilacs''. You'll see, they are super cute! And in stock, and ready to go!

Many hugs to you all, and thanks a million for the worldwide support that I'm receiving. Magic Mirror studio grows a bit larger day by day, and it is all because of you.