Ana Salvador has been working successfully on her porcelain dolls for a number of years. Not long ago, she decided to expand into resin ones as well. The success of this foray has resulted in the limited release of first Lisa and Lucy and recently new Emily. Ana sells her dolls on her current website Dragonfly Works.
Q: Can you tell me a little about yourself?
A: I’m a Portuguese artist that came to live in the Netherlands in 2003. I started making dolls in 1998 and I have been a professional doll artist since 2007.
I studied Communication Design at the university of the Algarve (Portugal) from 1995 to 1999. This was a very computer bases course, but it also had some art disciplines like sketch and sculpture. I actually learned really good basics during my university years that now I use for the creation of my art dolls, specially in terms of anatomy, the human body and proportions, etc…
One of my favorite ways to spend my extra time is to go “treasure hunting” in antique markets and buy all kind of unique items that I mostly use on my dolls. I spend my days dreaming, working on dolls and also trying to have some nice quality time with my family.
Q: How did you become interested in making dolls? When did you start?
A: I started making dolls after a trip to Helsinki (capital of Finland) in 1999. There I saw my first art dolls. They were a kind of primitive fairies that could be hung on the wall. I thought they were beautiful and intriguing. I really wanted to buy one, but they were too expensive for me at the time. I was so frustrated that I decided to make one for myself when I got home. I’ve been addicted to make dolls since then….
Q: What were the first materials that you used to make your earliest dolls?
A: My first dolls were made in air drying white clay. But I only used this material in the early beginning of my doll making career. I changed to Polymer clay very fast because I liked how clean and smooth it was.
Q:When did you shift to porcelain?
A: I started making porcelain dolls around 5 years ago. I fell in love with the material, it’s durability and possibilities. I also wanted to experiment with ball joints and be able to give movement and pose my dolls. I felt at the time that porcelain was the perfect material for this new adventure.
Q: How did you learn to make porcelain dolls?
A: With lots of determination and stubbornness! It took me years, but I never gave up until I could master the technique. I bought books about the subject, did many hours of online research and asked fellow doll makers that work in porcelain about specific technical advice…but the most important was to just start doing it and experiment in practice on what works or not..
Q: Why did you decide to introduce resin dolls?
A: I decided to introduce resin dolls in the beginning because I could not cope with all the orders from porcelain. I needed a way to reach a larger amount of people. But I was very much impressed by the quality of the first sample in resin from my work that looked very close to porcelain. I was also happy to realize that, even though the resin doll was strung with elastic cord, it could pose and hold poses as well, or even better, than the spring mechanism that I used for my porcelain dolls.
Q: What size(s) do you usually make your dolls?
A: In many sizes from a tiny 2″ to around 18″ maximum… I especially like the 12″ size to work with.
Q: Have the resin dolls been well received by collectors?
A: Yes, I’m very happy!
Q: Are the resin and porcelain dolls the same size?
A: They are almost the same size. I make the prototype for the resin production in porcelain using the same moulds that I use to make my porcelain dolls. But the resin also shrinks a little bit so these dolls are 2 or 3 cm smaller than the original porcelain prototype.
Q: Will all of your resin dolls be resin versions of your porcelain dolls? Do you plan any resin-only dolls?
A: Not all my porcelain dolls will be resin dolls….I don’t plan a lot, but with my technique I have to make the prototype in porcelain for the resin production… so why not make also some porcelain dolls with the same moulds along the way?
Q: Do you have your next resin release planned?
A: Not yet, I work very slowly…
Q: Why is your company named Dragonfly Works?
A: That name came around 12 years ago when I decided to form an official company. I was making fairy figures back then…it seems ages ago! I wanted a name related to nature and a name of something beutiful/ugly/powerful/fragile. The dragonfly is in itself a poetic name and the insect represented all that I was looking for. Right now I’m trying to find the time to actually change the name of my company to “Ana Salvador Art Dolls”, a more straightforward name. I also plan to make another website.
Dragonfly Works~ Ana’s website of resin and porcelain dolls.