~Fairy Garden~ Dolls by DD-Anne
After studying for two years in college, Chinese student Xu Yu Ying did some soul-searching about what she really wanted to do with her life. Unhappy with her major in school, She decided she should focus on something that really interested her. ” Then, when I asked myself what were my interests, dolls burst into my mind…” So she decided to make dolls. Yu Ying’s decision was not popular with her family. Nevertheless, she was determined to pursue something she felt passionate about.
Yu Ying, known in doll circles by the name DD-Anne, started her project with absolutely no idea how she would make her dolls. She states: “Although I made a decision, I had no idea of how to make a doll. I have no experience in sculpting. I didn’t even know what materials I needed. The only advantage I have is that I love painting…but I am not special-trained…( Is it reckless to make such a big decision?)… After trying some wrong materials, two months later I found a tutorial online. Then the door opened. The start is the hardest. After I have a direction, I can manage to solve most of the problems. I told myself if others can do it, then so can I.”
DD-Anne experimented with a 1/4 scale doll before designing the tiny dolls for which she is best known. “My first clay doll is about 45 cm tall, but my resin dolls are not taller than 25 cm. I have 10 cm tiny dolls, 24 cm girls, and 24.5 cm Lotus Near. I sold my first doll in the summer of 2006, but after September 2006 with the release of tiny Mero my first 10 cm tiny doll, more people got to know me.”
DD-Anne’s Fairy Garden is a one-woman doll company. DD-Anne designs and casts the dolls, designs costumes for limited or one-of-a-kind full-sets, and promotes her dolls to collectors online. ” I like to do all the creative work by myself from sculpting, face painting, and outfits design.” she says. “The shoes, wigs, and glass eyes are factory-made.” If DD-Anne needs more than one outfit for a limited doll, she often makes the first one then “an auntie will help me sew the basic part of the outfits and I will add accessories.”
The best known doll from Fairy Garden is Lotus Near. “I made the head with bat ears in the summer of 2006 for a small doll competition, and later finished the 8-arm body at the end of 2007. I was inspired by a statue of a Tibet Buddha. His thousand hands are so beautiful. I planned to release 20 tan Lotus Nears when I finished him, but later, I changed my plan. I design a different theme for every batch released. Although it costs much time and low pay off…I still enjoy it. It’s interesting to challenge myself.” Another occasional release is DD-Anne’s series of one-off Zombie dolls. She has released several intermittently over the last year. Each has been unique. The tiny OOAK dolls, most in gray resin, are a favorite for their creator as well as her fans. ” I love these zombies, I love this theme! The living dead is attractive to me, maybe because I fear death. However, different from those scary zombies, I prefer a beautiful and peaceful look or a feeling of innocent and cruel, just like Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I will make more in the future.”
No Zombies will be released in the near future however, as DD-Anne is working currently on a special release, a limited edition of her Mero doll. The new LE, Green Dam, is named after the infamous Chinese internet filtering system. “It started in June this year, many Chinese are not pleased with the directive, so they created a satirical Internet cartoon character, Green Dam girl. I think it’s interesting, then I thought, why I don’t try to make a real one?” DD-Anne is designing her personal take on the character. ” Certainly, my GD girl will be definitely different from the cartoon one. I love my dolls. I hope people like my GD girl no matter if they know Green Dam. The other reason I chose this theme is that I want to challenge myself with some colors that I never used before, such as green. It cost me more time to work on her, even than to design an edition of Lotus! I want to open an ordering period, about 20-30 days, but only up to 4 or 5 because I will just have 4 or 5 in stock. There will be a secret full-set released together with Green Dam”.
The last set of Lotus Near will be released after Green Dam. ” I want to start a new art doll next year and continue designing full-set girls. There have been several in my mind. I need to sell dolls for living, ( Life is not easy, especially in China. ) I want to prove to my family that I am not a mere dreamer, I can do it.” DD-Anne is considering spending more time on concept and less time on process. ” I have to cast and sand all my dolls by myself. It really takes too much time. I am considering to co-operate with a factory next year, so I can concentrate on sculpting new dolls and designing new full-sets.” She hopes to produce her first anthro doll head before the year is out if she has time, “I will try to finish a tiny mouse head, named ‘Cheese’ before Christmas.” She added, “The long plan, my goal is changing during the past 4 years. Now, I hope, one day, I can make art clay dolls, which can express more of my feelings, thoughts, emotions. Actually, I already have some clay dolls in my mind, but I think the time is not ripe yet. I need to improve my skills and have a more steady income which can support me to finish such a big project.” She concludes, “I hope my dolls have a strong personality of mine, which is different from those made by different people. What I want to make is a ‘work’, not a ‘product’.”
Photos from top:Panda Girl, Cheese prototype head, Tiny Lii ‘100 dolls sold’ full-set.
FairyGarden DD-Anne’s Website
Currently the website used for the company is experiencing problems, so a special page has been created for the newly released Green Dam and her Rabbit girl companion HERE.