By Nefer Kane
Popular French BJD artist Nefer Kane writes about the challenge of making 82cm tall Stadnik, including completing a special project with the doll. She also talks about the people that have supported and encouraged her, including some that are now working with her as her company Circus Kane expands.
I decided to make Stadnik the very day I finished my first art doll. That very day, I decided that one day I would make a giant doll.
Of course I didn’t have the technique, and as a form of respect for that person, for a giant doll is more a person than a doll, I made the decision to wait until I had the skill to sculpt her.
The urge to sculpt Stadnik became more persistent recently, and I just couldn’t wait any longer. My technique is not perfect yet, and the sculpting path is still very long for me, but
“she needed to be done.” It was to me a necessity.
When making Stadnik, the first problem I had was my schedule. I constantly have about 40 dolls to paint for my collectors. This takes a lot of time out of my sculpting schedule, but I love to please my collectors and offer them a unique art doll by painting theirs if they require me to.
The second issue has been handling the huge phenomenon that Stadnik instantly became. Early on when I posted her picture as a work-in-progress on my Facebook, a great human wave rose up to welcome her. Thus I had to paint my orders, keep on sculpting Stadnik and answer everyone’s questions the best I could, all at the same time.
In the making of Stadnik, I didn’t have many issues really, it just took longer for she is a giant. I am used to make busts, so I started her as a bust, then the rest of her body came very naturally and fluidly once the head was done.
When I started her, I absolutely did NOT imagine that she was going to be produced and available for pre-orders. I even told my closest friends “I needed to make her, but she won’t be produced. No one will ever want such a giant and expensive doll.”
I was so very wrong!
I can say today that 35 Stadniks found a home which is completely astounding! It’s not easy to find a home for such a titan. I still haven’t recovered to be honest, that I had 35 Stadniks adopted!
As I sculpted Stadnik, I thought of her as SOMEONE, not just a doll. The idea was here inside me, but I must say that I didn’t control her making. Sometimes it happens that some dolls just “want” to be, thus they almost get sculpted all by themselves. You then just become a tool and the “will” of the doll takes control.
I named her Stadnik as a tribute to Leonid Stadnyck. He was the tallest man in the world many years ago. I watched a TV report about him; I must say I rarely have been touched that way by someone’s story. My younger son is a giant too. He is very different as he is also autistic, and Stadnik became to me a sort of questioning: is there any place for Giants in our world?
Giants are not like one would think at first: they are extremely frail and need someone to hold their hands. They limp and can’t walk all alone, they are lost in this wrong scale world and without a hand in theirs, they simply cannot walk on their own path. Of course it’s difficult to hold the hand of a limping giant, it is tiresome, it is a huge task, but for their out-of-this -world sensitivity, it’s worth every pace and every endeavor.
I was there, starting the sculpt, when my friend Jill on Facebook told me straight away : Finish her! I want her! Then several persons said ” me too! I want one! please produce her!” Which I finally did… and when I posted her story (http://circuskane.com/2013/09/07/stadnik-the-giant/ ) on my blog, it became a complete tsunami! Within two weeks my Twitter exploded, my Facebook inbox exploded too, and my email box went just crazy!
I received about a thousand emails from people telling me that I touched them as no one did before. Some people I don’t even know cried and sent me photos of themselves in tears. They said that they printed her picture ( she was only a prototype!!) to frame it or that she became their cellphone/Laptop/computer’s wallpaper. But most of all, they ALL said the very same thing : “this is not a doll! it’s a real person!”
This moved me beyond words.
My answer, now I have it : yes, there is a place for different and giant people in this world. I needed to know that.
Friends & Future Releases
I have been greatly encouraged by my dear Friend Angie from oobie doll. Angie and I have been friends a long time now. One day she proposed to me that she carry my dolls in her online shop, and we decided that every one of my pre-orders will be open on my website and on hers. It’s a real pleasure to work with Angie, everyone loves how openhearted she is. We both consider collectors our friends.
I am also very proud to announce that I now also work with Sally Chandler of Lilygami Design on every one of my pre-orders on my website. Collectors can now purchase a doll with Sally’s face up, but they must be quick, as the slots are limited! It’s a great pleasure indeed to work with Sally whom I profoundly admire as a face-up artist, and I must say that her face-ups on my sculpts are sublime.
At the very moment, I am just about to open the Manga Lemur’s preorder. I made Monkey not so long ago, and everyone knows my love for apes, thus my son Louis advised me to make a Lemur and to make it in a manga style so it can be human as well. He always has great ideas, and has become a very good assistant. He is very enthusiastic about my work, and has his own collection of all of my dolls that even I cannot touch! A few days ago, he was very proud because many of my collectors thanked him for persuading me to make a series of Mini Humpty Dumptys. They will be about the size of a Fairyland Pukifee. There will be 5 or 6 face-plates which will be based on Louis’ ideas. I am extremely proud and grateful to him. But before mini Humpties, there will be Lou the Elf which is technically my best achievement so far; and Judas, my first male BJD, THEN will come the baby eggs.
But but but…. there will also be some surprises at the Ball Jointed Doll Convention, Austin this summer! I will have a booth held by my very beloved friend Cheryl and by Sally Chandler. My adored friend Gail will also be there to give a helping hand. Please come look. There will be a lot of surprises at that booth!
A Special Stadnik~Awakening
(First, I must thank some friends. First of all my Mother, then Paulette Goodreau, Sophie my Bambilove, Donna my Fruit Cake, Jill my Baby and Connie Lowe my DD . They supported me all along the path and pushed me when I was tired, encouraged me when I was about to give in, but most of all: they kept me awake last night.I had a huge project with Stadnik. I hope you won’t be mad at me if I kept a secret, but I submitted Stadnik to a competition and the deadline was January 25th Noon. I realized yesterday that she wasn’t done at all and that I simply had to work till it was done or I couldn’t submit her. THANK YOU. ALSO…Thank you also to all my friends, collectors, followers and fans on Facebook and Twitter! I love you guys!)
This Special Stadnik is a Frozen Medieval Lady who lost her 21 grams ( the weight of her soul), thus she fell into a deep night winter sleep. Many centuries later, God decided to forgive her and to give her back her 21 grams. She is now awakening, in complete awe, discovering the light in spite of the coldness of the dawn.
I made her because I think that light is beautiful, especially when you have been in gloom for years and years. I recently met someone, and the delight to speak to him, very simply, just to talk; reminded me of Light. It’s good to remember that night doesn’t last forever. I think and believe that the return of Light can be as poignant as any cry of torment into the darkness. This is what I am trying to show with this Stadnik.
I don’t know if I will ever make another giant doll again. It will of course depend upon the demand, but also upon what I need to say… I don’t yet know!
Photos above from top: Stadnik early prototype, resin prototype side, resin prototype back, Manga Lemur, Detail of face Stadnik Awakening.
Where Nefer Kane/Circus Kane can be found online:
Circus Kane dolls my be purchased from the artist or through authorized US retailer oobie doll.
Stadnik Prototype head