BiDoll is a company that is well known for exquisite porcelain dolls. Now artist Rafael Nuri is preparing to release her first resin doll to be sold through Jpop Dolls. For her first foray into resin she is bringing all of her skills to make a finely constructed, extremely poseable BJD.
Q: First, can you give me some background on yourself?
When and how did you become interested in making dolls, especially BJDs?
A: My name is Rafael Nuri. I was born in Siberia, Russia but my family moved and I got my education in Minsk, Belarus. Now I live and work on my dolls in Pittsburgh, United States. I started my BiDoll project in 2009 and it took me four years to bring my first doll to life.
At the very beginning my development I started as a BJD collector. Now I am making the dolls myself and I believe that my dolls are one of the best dolls in the world. So what inspires me is the desire to have a doll, the best doll. I have an image in my head, and I really want to have this doll in my hands as well. My desire is so strong that nothing can stop me. My dream always comes true, so I might say that I am inspired by my desires. The doll is what I like the most in the world. There are plenty of ideas and they are everywhere, but, I only make the dolls that I would love to have myself.
Q: What was your first doll?
A: As a collector I was interested in porcelain BJDs. I understood that I needed to make dolls myself because I was not able to find the perfect doll for myself on the market place. That is why I created my first porcelain BJD. I have worked with porcelain for the last few years, and my last doll was sold on eBay auction for $18,000.
Q: Why did you call your doll company BiDoll?
A: The name BiDoll consists of two parts. The first part Bi is a word-forming element meaning”two, twice, double”. Together with the second part “doll” the name means simply two dolls or two characters of one doll. very often I use that “double” meaning in creating my dolls. For instance, my doll Envy has a head with two faces, the first face is a face of a young girl who fell asleep and the “back face” is the face of an old demon. Another example is Aurora who has one head but two characters, and one can easily change her look from noble queen to a gentle long haired angel. In my work I use the “double” play with characters in almost every doll I create. Bidoll Ego has additional mask that increases the doll’s playing capabilities.
Q: How did you meet Grace from Jpop?
A: I really love go to the doll shows. That is always a really nice time where we can meet new friends and interesting people. Two years ago I met Grace from Jpop on a IDTS doll show in Asheville. It was an amazing experience to meet this wonderful woman. We spoke a lot about dolls, especially about resin BJDs. I told her that I really wanted to work with her store, but two years ago I felt that porcelain dolls took all of my time and I would never start making resin dolls. Eight months ago I started working on a prototype for my first resin BJD, and now I am proud to show the master model to all of you and hope you can meet my resin BJD from Jpop very soon.
Q: What is it about your dolls that you especially like? Is it the posing, the size, the silhouette?
A: I love everything in my new BiDoll Ego line. When I begin working on a new doll I think first of all how the doll is going to look as a whole. Of course, I spend lots of time on details, such as face, hands, fingers on the feet but I work on those at the last step of the process when working on prototype.
As I have an academic classic education I spend lots of time on silhouette and lines, then I work on joints so they organically belong to the body and will not destroy the overall impression. Of course, the face is the basis for any doll, and I really love working on the face as well. I love my dolls in every detail and as a whole piece. I cannot identify any particular element, but I know that I use a systematic approach in the process of doll creation.
Q: How was working in resin different from working in porcelain?
A: There is a big difference in the process. From the very beginning this difference can be seen. The prototype for the porcelain doll does not have to be perfect at the start because some of the final changes can be made after casting is done. Lots of details can be added after the cast. As for resin, the prototype must be ideal from the start. All the mistakes will be seen on the final product. It takes less time though to work on the prototype for the resin doll but the entire process is much longer. It takes me about about six months to create the prototype for a porcelain doll, two months for the molds and nine months for casting, costume, accessories, etc. The dolls from polyurethane require lots of time as well, but when the prototype is done it can be produced in a factory.
Q: So your first resin doll will be sold by Jpop?
A: Now the dolls are on casting in Russia. I want to make very small artist’s edition to get people acquainted with the dolls. I am working on a costumed collection with a fashion illustrator, whose name is a secret for the time being. The dolls from this edition are going to be made to promote the doll rather than for sale. The first pre-order will be open at Jpop where anybody can order the doll
Q: Can you tell me more about your resin girl? What is her name? How tall is she? what colors do you hope to release her in?
A: My first resin line as I already mentioned is called BiDoll Ego. I thought a lot and I realized that all dolls are different and have their own characters same as people. The doll that I am releasing first for the pre-order is named Graceful. Her face is the reflection of Grace. With this appearance she could be even a ballerina. In each consecutive pre-order I will be offering one head and one mask, that is going to correlate with different characters. I would like to give names from dolls from the BiDoll Ego line like Graceful, Mad, Sensual and Somber. Of course the line will continue with other names/characters. And of course I did not forget about the “Bi” meaning. Every doll will have an additional mask that increases the doll’s playing capabilities and helps to open different type of characters. As for me, dolls from resin are dolls for playing, so the idea of different characters is interesting for the collectors who play with them and myself as the author.
Q: Would you describe your dolls as “fashion dolls”?
A: Yes, I consider my BiDoll Ego line to be fashion dolls. I thought a lot what a fashion doll should look like. Even when I worked on my porcelain dolls, I had an idea to work with real fashion designers who could work on the clothes collections. I started working with a Belarusian fashion designer Veronika Kukolka. It was a great experience to work with a designer who makes collections for people. I wanted to create a doll not only for regular collectors but also for the designers who work in the fashion industry. I talked a lot with Veronika about lines and style. I understood that the main attributes in a fashion doll are the size of the head, shoulders and the length of her legs. Now I love what the end result has become. She is an elegant woman with long legs, incredibly plastic, moving shoulders and overall grace.
I really like a 16 inches size, but the overall length of the doll is 18 inches because of her longer legs. I am sure that this doll will demonstrate the designer’s collections even better than the real models!
Photos above from top: Ego line prototype, Porcelain doll Muha