By Liz Stine and Cat Cara
Simply Divine debuted with the release of masks. Cathy is a gifted writer and has a very keen ability to create a story-line based on her passion and love of the macabre. We decided that a series of masks would be a wonderful way to introduce ourselves into the BJD world, and really play upon her love of the masquerade and everything mystique. We released a wide variety of styles of masks, from delicate lace,
to steam punk as in our Steam punk Raven and West Nile Charlotte mask.
My knowledge of molding and casting, along with my familiarity of a variety of casting materials, their properties and application abilities, allowed us to create some very unique masks with some interesting design characteristics. We have other accessories like steampunk keyhole back plates and we also have a number of body parts, some of which are the beginning of the development of Divines body, both human and animal form. His hooves are already available and made to fit Super Gem male body at the knee.
We were asked by a friend and BJD enthusiast, if we would be interested in creating our first custom head, and so Harlequin was born. He was our ‘experiment head’ that would allow us to start to develop a unique proprietary formula resin, and some basic resin color choices. I had to develop a technique of molding and casting that would allow us to provide an aesthetically pleasing sculpt of high quality with the finest attention to detail and subtle character nuances. Cathy and I held each other to high standards and agreed on the simplest of criteria for a successful voyage:
-Provide a superior product at a reasonable cost in a timely manor.
-Keep tight control on the creative and production process.
-Have a blast doing it!
Cathy had only one person in mind to paint our Simply Divine heads. She knows I am a perfectionist, and she told me about Cheryl of SDink Dolls, explaining about her brilliant handling of face-ups and exceptional skills when it comes to bringing a face to life with paint. I was sold, and now, I am simply awed by her talent.
Harlequin proved to be hugely popular and has sold around the world, including quite a big following in Russia, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, and the UK.
After completing our West Nile Charlotte mask, we got to talking about how great it would be to have an entire resin sculpt of a bird skull, especially with the popularity of Steampunk and Goth in the BJD world. That was when the first ideas of West Nile Christopher were born. I had a great time doing the sculpt, it allowed for a lot of creative freedom, and gave us a different type of doll sculpt to offer, one a little darker and a lot of fun.
The collectors that have purchased Christopher have done some incredible work with their creations,
and have developed some really unique dolls.
If the truth be told, Christopher is probably my favorite Simply Divine head, (but shh…don’t tell Harlequin, he has a terrific ego and would never forgive me if he knew!)
Thomas was our next male head, lavishly introduced by Cathy on the blog…
The Goddess, fresh from her lavender scented bubble bath, her ivory skin glowing, waved her arm. The red cloven footed imps sprang to open the large mansion’s door.
The mist pooled around his feet. Dust billowed in the moonlight.
Thomas has arrived.
Again, Cheryl was our choice of painter, and again, she did a fantastic job with Thomas. He is also a very popular head, and has traveled far and wide internationally.
Cathy has developed her doll ‘Jack’ using Thomas as the inspiration, based on the character Jack from the art of Brom.
Cathy is a huge fan of Broms work, and, when we attended ComicCon in NYC in Oct 2012, Brom was there, Cathy had brought her Jack with her, and Jack is signed on his thigh by Brom himself!
Our newest head, Richard, has been introduced on the blog as a teaser, but has not yet been seen as a fully painted sculpt until now. He is the brother of Thomas, and in full Catcara imaginings and luxuriant prose, he has been stirring some following…
“I don’t care. He has intrigued my imagination. I have fire in my heart. If he is anything like his brother Thomas, I will be lost. “
Richard has been painted by Cheryl, and hopefully will be as popular as his brother Thomas imagines him to be!
As far as the future of Simply Divine…we have endless ideas we throw at each other on a daily basis, some as crazy as a full set of jointed crab claws, and a full body bird skeleton for Christopher (both of which, I believe, will actually really happen!) and some as simple as new heads, including some more females. We are currently working on a full male body sculpt in Super Gem size for Divine himself, both in his human and his animal form (a large, fully jointed, horse of a different color!) and Divines head sculpt is also, soon to be released. He has been painted by Queen Cheryl, and looks, well…just Simply Divine.We will also be offering new resin color options and we have many new mask ideas, and faerie ideas, and many, many more things we want to explore. The future is full of possibilities and endless creations, all of which, we hope, will be Simply Divine.
The ornate ormolu clock in the foyer struck midnight. Twelve long lolling chimes echoed off the old marble walls. Divine turned to the Queen and said, “How come I have been here for three hours and no one is talking about me?”
The Queen took his velvet clad elbow, stood up on tiptoes, and whispered, “Darling, no one is talking about you because Harlequin has stolen your thunder. You know how everyone talks about him. And now there is Richard. Everyone is waiting for the grand entrance of Richard. If you wanted attention, you should have come as Richard.”
Divine harrumphed behind his golden long nose mask and replied, “Well, I would not be here at all if it were not for you. You know I only come for you.”
The Queen grinned from ear to ear and said, “Darling, I know who you only come for. Now I want you to have a good time. Dance for me. I want you to show off your hooves. You know how they have those darling little heels and are nicer than anyone else’s.”
Divine winked and said, “My lady, I would do anything for you.”
The tiny Queen replied, “I am waiting for you to turn into a zebra, my pet. That would stretch the Queen Supreme’s powers and get their attention.”