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Lily. Custom Blythe no1

I wanted to write a post about my first custom Blythe doll… But I feel that a history-pill about her origins and influences will be a good introduction.

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Let’s start with the year 1972. That was the year when Blythe doll entered the toy shops… and the playrooms of little kids… and kids were scared… REALLY scared…

Because B dolls had very big eyes (like in most of fairy tales when something goes wrong). There were,in fact, four pairs of those eyes…changing…staring at you…  And a mind of a child, hanging heavily in a cloud of extraordinarily vivid imagination, could so easily animate those dolls and be deeply disturbed.  World was simply not ready for Blythe, and Kenner company stopped the production.

If only they could predict the future.. and the amazing popularity of Blythe doll yet to come. On the photo – original Kenners from 1972, currently collected and restored by fans all over the world.

Reportedly, Blythe doll was modeled after drawings by Margaret Keane (below – one of her painting), mother of big-eyed pop surreal art of 60s.  However, does it mean that Margaret is the author of sketches and prototype for original Blythe face mold?  Who was the sculptor influenced by big eye art? I think many would like to know… just to say – thank you.

And so it seems that Blythe doll is inspired by pop surreal art… but looking at Lily (first photo below) ..she reminds me so much of “Incarnation” by Mark Ryden (second photo), which leaves the question – how many pop surreal artists are inspired BY Blythe ^__^  P.s. – on last photo in row – Christina Ricci – muse of Mr Ryden and a girl curiously similar to Blythe, but much younger.

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Being both art inspired and art inspiration, Blythe is certainly a special doll.

Rediscovered thanks to Gina Garan & since 2001 produced by Takara Tomy (Japan) as Neo Blythe. Very popular and collectible.

Personally I find “straight out of the box” B to be too plastic…  maybe with some exceptions, like… Miss Sally Rice, which is very kitschy cute and I would love to add her to my collection.

But customized girl… with matted face, new makeup and some modifications… well – see for yourself my first ooak (one of a kind) Blythe girl. She just seems alive.

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The Process.

My first step was to read a tone of tutorials and look closely at the photos of other ooak dolls. The most striking are their eyes, and since I paint miniatures, painting custom eye chips was quite similar (not that easy though). I started with imagining the color scheme of my doll. I thought it would be most appropriate if my first custom Blythe resembled me myself. I think this is quite common among doll artists… it’s like reinventing yourself.. a sign of pouring a piece of a soul into a vessel that reminds human creature. So this is my first B that will look over all my next ones. A little plastic Goddess.

I gave her four custom eye chips – each for a different mood..
– dark ones – for a nostalgia (based on my own iris)
– candy ones – for when she feels a bit crazy with a pinch of sweet
– bright silver ones when she’s in fever of creation, with sparks of light in her eyes
– golden ones (photo coming) for a calm, sunny happiness

My Lily is RBL mold and it’s the easiest one to open, but you have to use some force anyway, and I didn’t want to break her… so it took me an hour of fussing to finally pop her head open.. like some precious egg..  I am actually quite proud because I managed to open the her without leaving any marks… and I’ve already seen some failed attempts.

Changing her eye chips was a bit of a fight too ^__^ and a lot of attempts with tape method, but it worked. And trying out the new chips (last photo on the right) I could already see the difference! There seemed to be some life behind those eyes, but when I looked for a little plastic brain , there wasn’t one.

Then there was sanding (I visited many tool stores in search for what I needed). I also carved her nose and nostrils and gave her a different lips… lips from my paintings. Then there was time for makeup and layers of Mr Super Clear. Somewhere in between sanding and spraying (in mask of course) I got a headache… was it too much chemicals that I accidentally must have inhaled? Maybe.. and it was one of the worst headaches ever. Sanding plastic – only in water. Spraying – in special mask that absorbs resin (Mr Super Clear is a resin based sealant).

And finally.. putting all the pieces back together… something amazing.

Some friends, not knowing what Blythe is, thought she’s made of porcelain. Well… she surely looks so much better than stock girl. And even boys played with her, and that is SOMETHING in a non-collector world ^__^

I hope you like her – my first Custom Blythe.

There will be next ones, this time available for collectors. This one is mine . {:

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