In All of Their Variations, These Enchanted Dolls Are Beautiful and Compelling

There is a certain genre of art and literature that beckons us away from the light and into the dark side. I am not talking about horror, which I lack the stomach for.  Rather, it is a style where the artist unflinchingly gazes into the deep labyrinth of the human soul and dares to represent the shadow side in their art.

It is no accident that I use the word labyrinth, because Pan’s Labyrinth is a perfect example of the style I am struggling to characterize. j30bell states it quite well by describing the fantasy sequences in this movie as “gorgeously realized” fairy tale “in the truest sense (in that they are dark, fey, dangerous and violent).”

Shapeshifer: porcelain doll by Marina Bychkova

Shapeshifter: porcelain doll by Marina Bychkova

Marina Bychkova, of  The Enchanted Doll, makes delicate porcelain dolls with exquisitely pensive faces, which she poses in provocative and erotic poses. One of her latest dolls, Shapeshifter, was inspired by a paragraph from the novel The Ilse Witch, by Terry Brooks:

It was nearing dawn when the watcher finally came close enough to be seen clearly. It was a woman, but it was not human. She slid from the shadows as if formed of colored water, changing her look as she came, a beast one moment, a human the next, a cross of each soon after. She seemed to be trying to take form, uncertain of what to be. In all of her variations, she was beautiful and compelling.

Marina gives away one of her best strategies in her profile: “I believe that the secret to beautiful and engaging artwork is looking outside of a particular medium for inspiration and bringing other aspects into it.”

Her porcelain dolls are scintillating, and she also creates the perfectly fitting accessories and costumes. Cinderella wears a stunning cast silver corset. Agnetha, based on a fictional character of the Princess, from Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid, is clothed in a jewel encrusted gown that will literally rivet your attention. These are but two of an array of characters that held me spellbound. I am not surprised Marina has big dreams, worthy of her talent:

I’d like to illustrate a very famous fairy tale with my dolls as well as drawn illustrations. I will need to make much more than the full “cast” of characters in this fairy tale, I’ll also have to make props to set up the scenes for the dolls. I have no doubt that i can do it all, it’s only a matter of time.

Despite her confidence, Marina is humbled by the work of her “mentor,” Sulamith Wülfing (read more about Wülfing on wikipedia and see some of her artwork on, and passionately declares:

Even though Sulamith Wülfing’s imagery provides a sort of foundation for my own Enchanted Doll aesthetic, I would like to believe that I’m somehow expanding and adapting her style to create my own, original and unique work. And I can only hope that to some people, my work will mean as much as Suamith Wülfing’s work means to me. However, I feel as if my abilities and imaginative capacity pale in comparison to Sulamith’s divine talent.

Enter this site when you have the time to savor it all, from the costumes and accessories to the doll compositions. Marina also writes a blog, revealing more details of the astounding work created by this very intelligent and accomplished artist. Marina seems fearless~nothing is forbidden in her pursuit of self expression. And I have no doubt that her work, as beautiful and compelling as it is, means very much to those who have been fortunate enough to discover it.

Marina writes in her bio that she believes she was born to do this. I have no doubt that is true.

Publications featuring Enchanted Dolls.

Bychkova‘s Flickr site.


About CarolWiebe

Art entices, inspires, and delights me. Art is a vehicle for laughter, tears, wonder, enlightenment--taking me on a constant path of discovery. You can't say that about housework (except, perhaps, for the crying part).
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