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Noble Dolls by Vita Soyka

Vita Soyka, a doll artist from Lvov, turned out to be one of discoveries of the 6th Doll Salon in Moscow. Vita is a graduate of the Industrial Graphics Department of the Lvov Applied Art College, as well as the Costume Modelling Chair of the Lvov National Art Academy. On her record are restoration of antique china, making decorations of Venice glass painting and graphics.

Several years ago she got interested in antique dolls and began studying old techniques of making them, and this knowledge, as well as her basic art education and experience in woodcraft, allowed her to realize herself in a new sphere – art dolls.

But her dolls are very unusual. They are made in the style of old European wooden dolls, with the usage of original technologies and materials identical to those existing in the 17th – 18th centuries. They are carved from wood and covered with a special primer made by the author with the help of a medieval technology. They have antique glass handmade eyes. Their hair (English mohair or natural) is dressed according to the European fashion of 300 years ago. The construction of their bodies is a combination of a borrowed elements of original European wooden dolls of the 17th – 18th centuries and the author's additions. The covering is prepared from exclusively natural mineral pigments made by author with the usage of medieval technologies.

One may say those dolls are replicas, but Vita insists that they are original. She does not intend to make exact copies of certain antique dolls. Besides, her dolls are not artificially aged. There's no need – a doll must live its life and get old naturally and beautifully: technologies used is their creation guarantee harmonic interaction with the environment. The author aims not only at arousing interest in wooden dolls, but also at developing this genre artistically.


Why are they «Noble Dolls»? On the one hand, they are ascendants of the famous Continental dolls, like Queen Ann, Georgian and other wooden ladies. On the other hand, they are noble physically – the materials they are made of are only natural and precious.

They are also kin to Pandora dolls, whose functions was to demonstrate fashions in Middle Ages and the time of baroque and rococo. The dolls' costumes, rich in details, can be taken off. They are all handmade, with the usage of only original fabrics, threads and trimmings of the 18th – 19th centuries, of appropriate style and quality. Buttons are silver, sometimes gilded. This fine jewelry will be highly regarded by connoisseurs of miniature.

The Noble dolls' footwear is worth a special attention. It is carved from wood and painted with egg tempera – just like the faces of the dolls. It copies women's footwear of the 18th century in miniature.

Making these dolls is painstaking work demanding investments (expensive fabrics and trimming) and special skills of processing wood. Noble Dolls are OOAK, each is marked with its own number, the year of creation in Roman numerals, and the author's logo.

They have all the attributes of doll for playing – articulation, clothes that can be taken off, resilience of the surface – but they are more than just dolls. They need the love and care of a connoisseur and they may become treasures of any doll collection. Possessing an unusual charm and character, they seem to be guests from the past who got lost in time. They should have appeared 300 years ago, but due to some circumstances they lingered to appear – maybe they'd been waiting for their own master.


Sophie (sold). Photo by Vita Soyka.

Camilla (for sale) and Anais (sold). Photo by me.


Russian text by me, the article was published in the Russian «Doll World» magazine 05/10 (33).

You can contact Vita on Facebook or Livejournal.


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Noble Dolls by Vita Soyka