Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Eternal Feminine

Yesterday I was discussing with a friend about BJD's archetypes, idealized beauty and the paradygma they represent.

I try not to define myself by any tag on a daily basis, but there are some open fires I highly identify with, so I am kinda safe saying ''I feel like this''. One is ''Feminist''. In his pure meaning of search for equality, respect and desire to free both men and from the formal tyranny we all suffer and has been standarised. As a feminist, I've felt, and often do feel, conflicted by the fact that I am creating dolls, which are objetuated women to the ultimate expression. Because, well, they are... objects. It is sometimes hard to cope with such a contradiction, and yet, after thought and reflection, I've reached some conclusions I would like to share with you.

The constant representation of the femenine body in art and literature has been, quite often, observed under the prism of a male perspective. Either out of objetuation, adoration or plain lust, male artists have been depicting female bodies dictating therefore the standards and canons of beauty according to their preferences. I would like to believe that there could be something intrinsecally feminist into representing the female body according to feminine ideals or preferences. Specially since quite often, they differ greatly from the male expectative of what a female body is, or should be. I know how often we, women, don't only try to reach formal perfection, but also imperfection or even exaggeration. The sculpture (doll in this case) then defines itself, and sets it's own standards. But I'm disgressing, and I would like to address exactly what has taken me to write this post.

I was once preparing my business cards. In one of them, I used a photo of Saoirse sitting backwards, showing her back and profile. I go ahead and printed several hundreds of them. Then, I went to proudly show the card to my family. They looked at it, giggled, and my mom frowned.

The photo for the card

I looked around and my cousin then said bluntly ''It looks like a prostitute's call card''. And then everyone started to comment how inappropriated it was for a business card to display a bottom on it, etc etc. Feelings were hurt, I got angry with my family, and decided not to show them my stuff.ever.again. (I did, tho. Family can be ok sometimes :P)

After that day, I reflected long on my dolls and how do I depict and show them in my social media. They are, often, naked. Yet, I failed to see anything openly sexual or ''erotic'' on them. Perhaps because, as an art student that was constantly exposed to nudity during univeristy (We had to copy from natural like, 4 hours per day for 4 years, using live models that were terribly bored and often asleep), nudity never stroke me as something offensive or even sexual. To be honest, it was a time that the human models became just like the other composition subjects in class (the bunch of apples in a basket, the old chair) and all you cared for was how good your drawing was looking and if your teacher would like it enough to rise up your marks for that term.

So I realized I've applied that way of thinking into my dolls as well, and I happily photographed and showed them around naked without any further consideration. It was after those thoughts, when I realized that some people might think otherwise. And yet, I've decided to keep doing it as I did, rejecting those opinions. Let me explain you why:

To my, my fairies are just otherworldly beings, not subject to human laws of what is ''correct'' or ''modest''. I find something empowering and refreshing into depicting fantasy women displaying their beauty without social constraints of any kind. C'mon, they are fairies, inspired by pagan mythology and ancestral traditions. They do not know the difference between panties or a hat -for them both are just beautiful things you wear because they are pretty and you like them- So I decided that even if my dolls were unmistakeably sensual and beautiful, that didn't meant immediately sexual, or objetuated. Don't get me wrong, some of my pictures have an obvious sexy vibe, but yet again, I wanted it to look as a woman conscious of her own beauty and attraction, and unashamed of it.

I'm sexy and I know it XD

Even if I can and I actually do enjoy the fragile, utilitary beauty that some creators display on their dolls, and extremely thin proportions or fashion-subdued approach to bjd making, I've decided that's not my path, which goes more towards different proportions -from the pinupesque, chubby bodies of my Glendalough, to the slender and modelesque Sidhes, and also flat chested Cluny, the all-round Roisin I'm currently working on, etc-. For me, beauty comes in all shapes, and I love making my dolls looking empowered and happy, healthy yet feminine. I would like to believe that the idea of refreshing nudity, freedom and conscience of the body as your own, as much as your privilege to show it without any social, religious or moral concerns of any sign is a display of female freedom, that conciliated me with the idea of my dolls as objects of trade. And even if sometimes I've toyed with the idea of creating with them images of sickness, sadness or restraint, something inside me makes me depict them doing silly nonsense surrounded by flowers and in a happy mood. Makes me happy, I guess ; )

The contradiction that lies within what is feminine -fragile but strong, flirtatious but elusive, motherly and maidenly- is something wonderful and allows so many ways of expression and interpretations as eyes are in the world. My compromise with feminism and the female causa is still on, and I really care of how can I affect or take part on it (even if my acts could be detrimental or contradictory towards it). As usual, I would love to hear and discuss your points of view about it. Thank you so much for hearing me ramble once more!

Goddess bless you ; )


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Aesthetic experience of owning a BJD

Hello everyone!

Back into the idea of using my blog for personal reflection and communication, I've been thinking these days about some random thoughts that came to my mind when a friend of mine discovered bjd's (in this case, through my work, but could have been any other source). She was mindblown by the discovery, and she spent the classical three days mesmerized in front of the computer, absorbing what she saw in awe and contemplation, learning new things and feeling excited and electrified. I'm pretty sure you remember this experience by yourselves.

Because it is similar for us all. The discovery of BJD's was one of the most exciting times in my life. They were such an artistic revulsive and inspiration that lasted for more than a decade, and has not faded yet. It has been very few other things in my life with this power of attraction and the capability of keeping me interested for long. So interested, and so long, that I ended making a lifestyle out of it. One decade later, the flame is still in there, and I can say it burns brighter than ever : )

Yet not all the time it has been the same. All the BJD discovery and my most intense collection times happened through a very very troubled time of my life. Many house removals, moving over countries, personal strife and a lot of inner and outer struggle kept me apart from the hobby sometimes. Yet it never faded, and I knew it would be just a matter of time to get back into it. And each time was as intense and interesting as I remembered.

You all remember that moment, right? The first unboxing time, and the feeling of that heavy doll in your hands, that faint (or perhaps strong XD) scent of resin, and how they looked in person. So much better than pictures, and also, so much worse at the same time... because all the work had to be done!

It is the time of discovery and exploration, and to realize how far is your nude and bald doll from the pictures that you see all around, but still prettiest thing ever. Speaking of which, is also a time to discover how clueless you are about photography. And also, how expensive BJD clothes are! So sewing seems like an option then, and... so many ideas, so many tasks. So little time!
I do not know for you, but for me, to own my first bjd meant a whole rush of creativity, frantic forum browsing, learning new skills and meeting a lot of people. In the social media, chats, forums... this whole new world unfolded upon me and I think I've never felt so high on glamour and creativity for years.  Like the enchanted human that I was then, that feeling of discovery and awe marked me deeply, probably for the rest of my life.

The fact of becoming an owner was, in short, a moving experience that lead me to evolve and develop a whole new world of art, crafts and relationships. Back then, I was an illustrator and worked as color teacher. Upon finding BJD's, my interests quickly moved to sculpting, sanding, modding and photographing, and I recall those not being specially appealing to me when I was at the University. The Sculpture term was just something that had to be done. I could have never guessed how valuable would be later on those endless classes carrying kilos and kilos of clay around the School. I loved the fact of dolls being subject to modification and alterations; my first BJD ever came broken, so I had to start the rough way, with resins, putty and sandpaper on hand. I regret nothing.

Some people believe that bjd are just some kind of mindless expenditure of money. I couldn't disagree more, since the things they have given back to me are unvaluable. Faced upon a work of art of such a beautiful craftmanship, imagination and creativity run wild. It is a moment of reflection, and then, the most important part, the projection of your inner self and your aesthetic preferences shine through. Slowly, the doll becomes a mirror of yourself, your ideals of beauty, your inner thoughts or even troubles. Every time I see a doll customized, I also see a fragment of their owner's soul. Even in the fullset dolls, I know a lot about the person just by seeing what they choosed. Male or Female. Tall or Short. Urban or Fantasy. Once again, the doll becomes the mirror in which you look at yourself and gives you back a reflection of your aspirations, preferences and inner conflicts and wishes.

And that, I firmly believe, is magic. The real one.

Light upon you all,