Monday, March 25, 2013

Meet Zombie Doll Artist Kamila Mlvnarczvk of Woodedwoods

By Christine Verstraete

Today you're in for a treat, after admiring her work on her Facebook page, I asked Ontario sculptor and artist Kamila Mlvnarczvk of Woodedwoods to share some details about her original sculpted zombie and "monster" dolls.

(Photo: Girl in Mourning, Festive Dead Christmas Ornament)

This Polish-born artist says she was always in love with creating in art and soon realized it was all she wanted to do. She attended art school and got a degree in illustration, but found  herself at odds with her chosen field of work. Then she discovered art dolls.

(Photo: collage of various dolls)

"I felt very lukewarm about my options since I was horrible at doing what people told me to do," she admits, "and that was in essence what being an illustrator was. I discovered art dolls by accident on the internet and I become fascinated and really obsessed with them. And that's where I'm at today. I think that if I didn't discover doll making as an art form I would have ended up as a lousy freelancer and probably settled for something else."

(Photo: The Festive Dead, Christmas ornament)

She picked up some clay eight years ago and began to see what she could make, which she admits, wasn't easy at first.

 "I had zero experience in sculpting and costume design, all I had was a love of drawing," she explains. "Somehow I managed to overlook my first dozen or so crappy dolls because I was just so fascinated that I could take my doodles and make them real, in 3-D. I just worked and worked and worked and I started noticing that my dolls were looking good, almost saleable."

Kamila began selling her dolls two years later. "I was delighted that people wanted to take my dolls home and display them, so that served as another motivation to keep improving my quality."

What makes her work so compelling is that what some may call "gruesome" becomes unique and charming in her hands. Why does she she sculpt these zombies or "monsters"?

"...Because I think they are sympathetic creatures that are far most interesting than traditional dolls," she says. "You can see more pain and humanity in a monster's face than any old blank eyed smiling dolly."

(Photo: Eunice Brown and her apples - read about her on the website gallery page)


While her work is uniquely her own, inspiration can come from an old photo, a piece of vintage fabric, or a wonderful art doll.  

"I am often inspired by searching out other doll artists,  just seeing all the different styles, ideas and craftsmanship really inspires me to experiment with my own dolls a lot," she says. " I think that everyone I have encountered as a doll maker has given me something to think about.

"My other influences are often wonderful bits of fabric I find, antiques, old Victorian photographs, and beautifully illustrated children's books. I am most inspired when I am doing mundane tasks and let my mind drift. I usually keep notepaper around so that I can jot down ideas and pictures in my head so I don't forget. This all goes into an idea book I keep, so I have never really found myself without an idea because I can always go back to the many ideas I haven't yet used. Its my greatest resource."

 (Photo: Zombie Girl Collette)

The dolls, hand-sculpted of ProSculpt polymer clay, vary in size from 5 inches for the smaller ornaments, to about 25 inches for larger figures.

It can take about a week for her to make a doll, but she doesn't have a firm time frame. As a stay-at-home mom, she works on them when she can.

Luckily for collectors, that is often enough that her little (and bigger) creations have now found homes around the world. "My dolls have seen more than I have," she jokes.

In following her artistic dream, Kamila says the main thing she learned was to not be afraid to take risks.

"The most important lesson I have learned is just to make what you want, don't let conventions and tradition hold you back," she says. "If you don't take risks you'll never be satisfied and there will be something missing from your work. The only roadblock should be your skill in being able to create what you imagine and that can easily be overcome with practice."

(Photo: Sister Catalina Maria Bocconcini - read the story about her 
and some of the other dolls at Kamila's website)



  1. Wow I love these. They are amazing. x

  2. Those dolls are incredible. I know that has to take a lot of patience. I wonder will she make a "Becca doll?"

  3. These sort of remind me of Tim Burton's work a litle. Nice!

  4. Great interview of a unique artist. I'll bet there's a huge audience for her work. thanks for sharing, Christine!


Comment Here Unless You're a Spammer