French doll artist Nefer Kane combines a quirky sensibility and subtle touch to create unusual and interesting dolls and figures. Previously her dolls have been made in other materials, but now, at the urging of her friends, she has created her first resin BJD, Aleah.
Nefer Kane is a single mother of two boys, Louis and Arnaud. When her younger son Arnaud was diagnosed with autism, she and her children were forced to move in with her parents. Devastated, Nefer became distant from her friends, and spent most of her time taking care of her sons. As a child, Nefer had originally wanted to become a writer. She attempted to write in her spare time, but none of her projects panned out. She suffered from guilt over burdening her parents with her problems, and felt that Arnaud’s autism was somehow her fault. She also felt that a part of herself had been lost. “There’s a scientific fact which demonstrates that every human being, whatever his age, gender, weight, height, religion, origin, looses 21 grams at the very moment of his death. Some say that it is the weight of the soul. I do believe so. There is a great movie about this called ” 21 Grams. 21 grams is the weight of a chocolate bar, of 5 coins, of a hummingbird. The weight of my Hummingbird; the weight of my soul I lost. because this is what happened to me, my profound guilt made me lose my soul.”
Depressed over her situation, Nefer sought out a hobby to lift her mood. she said, “I needed a cheap hobby and funny one, but also to be made at home as Arnaud was needing me permanently.” Researching on the internet, Nefer discovered non-firing clay. “I found polymer clay on the computer of my parents. I discovered the work of Christi Friesen. She wrote books on how to sculpt funny creatures in polymer clay. A book was $25, and I saved money two whole months to afford the one on how to make dragons. I extremely enjoyed making some!”
The book’s author also had a website, and her fans could write to her, so Nefer sent Ms Friesen a letter. “Sculpting those dragons meant so much in my life that I wrote to her, not expecting an answer from this world-renown artist; but just to thank her because her book changed someone’s life, and I added a photo.” Much to Nefer’s surprise, the artist wrote back; “She replied, with the kindness everyone knows she has, and she said, ” you are very talented and original. You must go on sculpting and sell them! you need a blog! Some are free!” I was awestruck, very grateful that she replied… and finally, she convinced me. I opened a blog, and my dragons and other critters sold right away. Now Christi is one of my dearest and closest friends.”
One day Nefer clicked a link on Cristi’s site for That Creative Place where Christi and other artists offer lessons. There she discovered the work of Marylin Radzat an art-doll maker. From there, Nefer researched art dolls and found a quote: ” An art doll is a figure which has a soul, a past, a present and a future. In the world, the dolls of the greatest doll-makers are so perfect that they breathe and are alive.” Nefer stated, “I knew then. I knew what I needed to do, become a great doll-maker of the world, to create someone perfect, breathing and alive. That is my redemption for not having been capable to build correctly my son. And the day I can make this living doll, I will get my 21 grams back.” She added, “I started my first doll the next day and never stopped.” Dolls have become Nefer’s profession, and she says with pride, “I am ENTIRELY dedicated to my work, I am now a professional doll-maker, I have sold my work in 12 countries, I am a sculpting teacher too and even taught on That Creative Place where I discovered art dolls. I have thousands of friends and fans all around the world, and I can feed my children all alone now.”
Many of Nefer Kane’s dolls have been cast in porcelain, but production runs in porcelain proved to be very expensive. At some point, Nefer began to investigate the possibility of making her dolls in resin. “Resin… I knew that some artists were producing their dolls in resin and always admired that, the material, the aspect of it, the possibilities with different face ups, the stories the collectors write about their resin friends; but I never dared myself because I didn’t think that collectors could be interested in buying my BJDs in resin. ” American doll artist Paulette Goodreau (a close friend, whom Nefer calls “my other self”), persuaded Nefer to give resin a try. According to Nefer, “(She) simply forced me to do it. She connected me with the factory, with friends of hers including Grace at Jpop Dolls, and left me NO choice!”
Now Nefer has introduced her very first resin BJD creation, Aleah. “Aleah is a YOSD size. She is quite unusual. I wanted her face realistic when at the same time, she is an elf with long ears and four-fingered hands. Her feet also are unusual as she has Japanese tabi feet. I know she is a bit peculiar, but I like her. I think it is my ‘style’ to make unusual dolls (even the non jointed ones.) I ‘opened’ the pre-order when I started her, and have been pretty awestruck to see such positive responses from the public!” Nefer shared her doll-making on her blog. “I sculpted her almost live, posting updates and photos of her progress. It was a great experience to sculpt with my friends and collectors sort of ‘next to me’. This is how I made Aleah, and started that new venture which is so far a great success as Aleah sells beyond my expectations!!” The doll is being cast in cream color resin.
Currently Nefer is working on several dolls. ” I always have at least 5 projects I work on at the same time. For now I have those two prototypes for resin, another head for the MSD body, two heads that need a body, a polymer clay bust which is not jointed to finish, and also three earthen clay sculptures in progress as I also sculpt unique pieces in porcelain and earthen clay.” According to the artist, more resin dolls will be released soon. “I am actually finishing two new prototypes for resin. One is Aruel which is published on my blog with the new hip joint I invented. The public truly enjoyed her, and some are already reserved by collectors! The second one which is almost done, an MSD size, is for resin too. She is a weird Japanese princess. I think she is unusual, but that’s what makes her charming.” And after that? Nefer said, “I plan to start my first SD prototype this week!”
Aleah is still available for pre-order at this time. The doll will be presented by Paulette Goodreau at the IDEX, Orlando Florida. Costumes for the doll are being created by Connie Lowe of Marbled Halls.
CircusKane ~ Nefer’s Blog