Participant of the 6th exhibition of the author's dolls MuñecArt

Irina Smolnikova

Illustration of Russia flag

How it all began?..

I was born in the Urals, in the city of Sverdlovsk, now it is Yekaterinburg.

A harsh land with its own charisma, with a formidable history, a city of steel works and heavy engineering.

Maybe this paradoxically influenced the choice of profession? .. there was a lack of magic and fairy tales. As far as I can remember, I have always loved dolls ... Even as a very little girl, I froze in admiration in front of them. An object to admire, not a child's play. Although that was the time then - dolls from the Detsky Mir store, rough, faceless, primitive. But for me they were beautiful and attractive.

So she carried this love through her whole life, and the road to dolls was not easy.

For me it began with chamber plastics, with ceramics. For the first time, taking a piece of wet cold slimy clay in my hands, and kneading it to the state of butter dough, warming it with my hands, I realized that now I will finally take the first step towards realizing my dream - creating a doll.

How much you need to know and be able to breathe life into a doll! .. how many professions to have! .. Firstly - an artist - to make a sketch. Further - the sculptor - to embody the drawn into the volume, to mold the sculpture. Modeling maker - make molding of molds. Porcelain ceramist - cast, burn, grind. Painter - paint. Fashion designer - come up with a style. Tailor, seamstress - to bring the style to life. Embroiderer and decorator - decorate the costume. A shoemaker - to sew shoes, a make-up artist - to make up a doll. Postiger - make a wig. Stylist, hairdresser - cut and style your hair. Jeweler - to create an ornament for a doll, accessories, all sorts of different ones, a handbag, a fan, a mask, a weapon (I had such a thing!), And sometimes I still have to be a furniture maker, a breadboard model, and a cabinetmaker! .. dolls not only stand, but sometimes they also sit and lie, we need chairs and couches ... Well, they stand on beautiful stands made of precious wood. You also have to be a bit of a chemist, a bit of a blacksmith, a bit of a wizard ... and in any case - a person who is not lazy and in love with his work. And possessing TIME. 

A porcelain doll is a very, very complex technological process that requires tremendous patience, attention, strength, in the most primitive and crude sense, and, of course, skills, knowledge and skills. And - prose - a lot, a lot of money. Materials and equipment are not cheap.

It all starts with a sketch, just a pencil drawing, a thought and an idea, an image caught on the tip of the lead. It may be just a figment of my imagination, and sometimes the impetus is either a frame from a film, or a reproduction of a painting, or a living person whose appearance is able to excite, or a book character who I wanted to "revive" in a doll. 

And gradually the doll acquires its own image, then the master model of the doll is molded, such as it is in the head, "dreamed", desired. From this master model, plaster molds are made, into which liquid porcelain and slip will be poured. This is where brute physical strength, dexterity and volumetric thinking are needed. Gypsum molds are terribly heavy, and if you take into account that you have to work very quickly (the time for setting and hardening of gypsum is very short!), Then it becomes clear what a painful stage this is.

Well, then there are also complex and responsible processes that do not forgive the slightest mistake - casting, demoulding, reworking, grinding, drying, low-temperature firing, grinding, high firing at a temperature of 1,200 degrees, again grinding, then painting with overglaze paints, firing, - there can be infinitely many of these burnings! - then finally the assembly on the frame, and then pure creativity - to dress, shoe, comb, give the doll accessories ... the last stage is to make a box just for this doll, according to its size and shape ... everything can take a lot of time, very much!

For example, if you make a doll using ready-made molds that were made earlier, then two months, if you do not raise your head from the desktop, and seven days a week. Well, if from the very beginning, with a sketch and with the manufacture of new molds (with "molding", as it is called) - then much longer.

 And then Casanova was born, but another, another! .. not the one we are used to seeing - gallant, dressed up and powdered, at the parade, so to speak, ready to conquer and seduce, a predator in his hunting passion, not taking his eyes off his prey ...

My Casanova is reinterpreted, which has been asking to be embodied in porcelain for a very long time ... and there are already girls-women for it. This project is "Carnival Aftertaste".

 Briefly about the project.

 The image of the morning (!!!) Casanova, who is reclining in a soft deep armchair, relaxed, in negligee, with shadows under his eyes from a sleepless night, disheveled and oversaturated ... a powdered wig, a man's carnival mask is lying nearby, there is a candlestick with candles that have flowed overnight, there were only cinders left ... in Casanova's hand a glass, already empty, and a thin grin plays on his lips, the aftertaste of wine, the aftertaste of the night, the aftertaste of carnival ... in the other hand, in relaxed fingers - a garter, a tiny trophy .... And around Casanova, girls and women, like images, like phantoms, like a memory of what happened. And each with its own life ... Looking at each, it is easy to speculate, come up with who she is, and how she ended up next to the heartthrob ...

Dolls! .. yes, they are able to tell their own story. Pensive and crafty, sad and funny, sleepy, graceful, mysterious, gentle, capricious, coldish, elegant ... a teenage girl, a flirtatious young lady, a fatal seductress, a lady at her peak, a woman of mystery, and even a decrepit old woman - all of them are equally dear to me, because a piece of my soul is invested in each, and each lives its own life. Each carries the features of once lived, or fictional, "book" images, or beauties of cinema, looking at which, the quote pops up in my memory: "All world literature is a short guide to how a woman is treated."

Sometimes they ask - are the dolls only female-girls?


 There were also male images - for example, another Casanova - a fatal seducer, a handsome man, a mocker, a sybarite and a dandy. He made a splash in his time at the Moscow International Salon of Dolls, crowds of women stood near him for a long time, sighing, because even in a puppet's incarnation this "bastard" turned out to be out of reach for them - they bought him even before the opening of the exhibition.

These moments are so important and touching for me - when visitors come up and say that they remember my creations - someone was impressed by Nabokov's Lolita, someone by the Dodgers, someone who fell in love with Casanova ... you can't list everyone, and each one "touches" selectively ... My heart stops when I see how they stand for a long time near my dolls, looking at every detail, how their faces are smoothed, their eyes begin to glow ... how they talk to them, and quite often I hear: "... she broke my heart! .."

And my dolls, my children, who are already in the second hundred, live in someone's houses and apartments. I hope they are loved, cherished, shown to guests ...

 They say that they have some kind of special charisma, aura, strong energy ... I am sure that this energy is kind - after all, I make dolls with great love, and I pass this love through the doll. Sometimes it is very difficult to part, they grow to the heart. I also have those with whom I could not ... live at my house, and, I hope, will remain in the family as a memory, as an inheritance.

And so, step by step, learning and improving, mastering new technologies and materials, I go to my old dream - to create a doll, when looking at which hearts beat a little stronger ... And this path is not finished, it will last as long as I can do what you love ...

Sometimes they ask - what is the most-favorite? .. Laughing, I answer: “The most-most is, of course, the one that is still only in the project! ..” - and this is true.

Morning Casanova

Description Ideas

I did this ladies' man with great love and patience, for a very, very long time, because of course there is a lot of work there. To be honest, it's a pity that I broke up with him, but the realities of life dictate their conditions.

I will never repeat it, that's for sure, he requires too much effort, time, creative energy, this womanizer. Now he lives in London with my favorite collector.


The carnival is over, the music has died down, the masks have been removed, the wine has been drunk, the candles are blown out ...
Behind the night with her passions, dances, intrigue and love.
Morning has come, extinguishing the night stars, erasing the memory of what happened at the holiday, of the whirlwind of feelings and events.
Was it or was it not? .. the rustle of silk, the scent of flowers, the taste of wine, the flame of candles, a sensual melody, a quick glance from under the mask, a hot whisper, a touch, hugs and kisses? ..
Morning of Casanova. It's all over. The night has lost its grip.
The passions have already subsided. The impregnable fortresses fell. Relaxed, tired and oversaturated, with disheveled curls and in a rumpled negligee, he recalls with a subtle grin of the events of the previous night, he is pleased with himself. 
In his hand is a tiny trophy - a stocking garter of one of the strangers.
The female images around him are like memories of his victories, like phantoms ...
The glass is empty ... the candles are gone ... the mask is no longer needed.
On his lips there is still an aftertaste of drunk wine, kisses, night ...

Carnival aftertaste ... 


Parian porcelain

The size

Height - 31 cm (sitting)

The width of the composition - 44.5

The cost

Not for sale


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