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“White water-lily (Nenúfar Blanco) has always been my favourite flower. It’s an extraordinary plant, deeply rooted in cold and stagnant waters, it grows in shady locations with adverse living conditions but even so, its flowers beautifully blooms through the mud toward the light, conveying serenity and pureness. That’s how I like to think my dolls are: delicate and melancholic creatures with strong hidden passions beneath the apparent calm.”
My name is Rosa and I’m the doll maker behind Nenúfar Blanco.
I create one-of-a-kind (ooak) art doll sculptures inspired by Fairy Realm and Nature.
Born in Barcelona in 1980, I spent my early childhood living with my family in a 17th century house nestled in a misty hill surrounded by forests of beech and chestnut trees in the Montseny Natural Park, Catalonia.
I still can remember the road leading up to our house, it was such an enchanting spot: splendorous ferns, giant toadstools, eyes on tree barks, tiny salamanders sneaking out under fallen leaves, the fresh earthy scent, the perky symphony of frogs and birds by a close stream. Wrapped by nature, my mind used to freely soar though unseen worlds, fantasizing about magic little creatures fluttering and hiding among the trees.
Years later, back to the city, all that earthly and ethereal imagery remained inside me and it became a need and growing desire to express myself. Being an enthusiastic daydreamer and enormously imaginative and sensitive, I developed a keen interest in different kinds of visual arts as well as poetry, but modelling/sculpting has been a lifelong passion. Handling clay has always brought me calm and a deep sense of fulfilment.
I grew up captivated by the myth and fantasy illustrations of several fairy tale books I used to read, they fuelled my imagination at that moment and today my work is plainly influenced by all those artists: Arthur Rackham, John Bauer, Kay Nielsen, Edmund Dulac, Elsa Beskow and later, as a teen, I discovered the wonderful art of Brian Froud, whose mind-blowing works particularly caught my heart as they were very close to all my visions and daydreams.
My work also points to a childhood secret fascination with all kind of dolls, puppets, figurines, etc., any anthropomorphic inanimate object with a face and with the idea of them coming to life. Passing by one of them, I was always waiting for a quite whisper or a subtle movement, I used to scrutinize into their gazes hoping to find a spark of soul and I was always open to hearing the story they had to tell.
I began my journey into doll art and figurative sculpting in 2005. I became completely obsessed after discovering the “ooak doll world” by sheer chance while surfing internet. I sometimes think the universe conspired to place it before my eyes just when I needed it the most and… goodness!, this art form was definitively made for me! To turn a simple lump of clay into a being full of life and meaning! After picking up a piece of polymer clay for the first time, I have never looked back.
At first glance, my artwork evokes “fantasy”. My dolls are mostly fairies (insect-winged, frog-legged or horned), there are also mermaids, snail girls, selkies, fauns, etc., all of them are half human/half animal. For me, they represent the connection between humanity and nature. Through doll-making I wish to capture my own awe as a child in the woods, the magic of fairy realms, as well as beauty, wisdom, longing, melancholy and innocence.
As I am completely self-taught, my dolls are made without a large knowledge of human anatomy or artistic training. May it seem contradictory but, although I do strive for realism, I do not seek to achieve “perfection”, I want my art to keep a “naïve” look.
I simply like to trust and follow my intuition and let things develop spontaneously, sculpting by heart the face and body features that are familiar to me.
Obviously, I always want to do all my best and I’m meticulous during the sculpting stage but I concentrate more on the emotional expression rather than represent human anatomy realistically.
The more dolls I make, the more I improve my skills, but it is a natural process, growing at my own pace.
My early dolls can be still seen on this website since I like to see the evolution of my work as well as what each piece personally conveys to me and remember the state of mind at the moment of creation, carrying me back to those moments.
To date, I’ve created more than 250 dolls. They are in private collections around the world and one of them can be seen in the Orkney Faerie Museum of Scotland.
Since 2011, I’ve written three eBook tutorials on how to make polymer clay dolls and fairy wings and I am also a mentor, sharing my humble knowledge and tips learned through the past 14 years, with a growing community of doll-makers worldwide.
Currently, I divide my time living between my apartment in Barcelona (where my main studio is located) and a little countryside cottage near my mom’s hometown in Els Ports Natural Park, a rocky landscape dominated by rivers and olive trees, a very special place with ancient history and telluric forces, a place of restoration where I find peace and inspiration during my walks across the open fields.
I am very thankful to all fellow artists and customers who have been supporting my work through the years. It makes me so happy to know that my little creatures are appreciated and beloved in their new homes. Although many hours are spent behind every doll and I put all my love during their creation, I do not feel a material attachment to them. Rather, when I let them go, I feel a kind of relief and renewal, the same you feel after climbing a hill to scream at the top of your lungs.
Art is such a healing and mysterious work!
My work process involves designing, sculpting/modelling, painting, costuming and photographing.
All of my dolls are completely hand-made by me, they are OOAK (One-of-a-kind), this means each one is unique and it will never be recreated. No moulds are used during their creation and no moulds are taken from them.
Main medium is Polymer Clay (Fimo).
My dolls are quite small, they measure around 8 inches tall if they are in a standing position, they fit in a hand’s palm. I like working in this small scale as it is the exact height I like to imagine fairies are!
I first begin with raw sketches of what I feel is the initial idea. Then, I start by making the wire armature to allow for support of the work throughout the sculpting stage. Then I make the eyes with polymer clay and resin. Once eyes are made I sculpt the head and bake it, most of times, I paint the face features before continue with the body, so I’m able to see the own personality of every doll. I inset the head in the armature and play with it for some minutes, until I decide the final pose of the body.
Once the doll is completely sculpted and baked I paint it with Genesis oil paints or pastels and apply the hair – I always use natural hair, sheep or alpaca and sometimes I use tussah silk.
I make wings and fins with wire and iridescent cellophane.
For their costumes and details I use recycled vintage fabrics, mulberry paper and little treasuries I find and collect in the woods and seashore.
Thank you for reading!