Art Muse dolls by Marina Elphick.

In the beginning

Muse n. The source of an artist’s inspiration. In Greek and Roman mythology nine sister goddesses, the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne were muses who presided over the arts and sciences.

Muse v.  To think or meditate on a subject thoroughly and thoughtfully. Ponder, contemplate, ruminate.

About myself

Hi and thank you for taking a look at my site, my name is Marina and I am a painter and textile artist.
Drawing, sewing and doll making have been interests of mine since childhood. At seven years old I was given my first Singer sewing machine and I was eager to experiment and create.
At the time my mum was teaching fashion at St Martins School of Art and I was given off -cuts and interesting scraps of fabric, always in dazzling colours and modern prints. I was captivated by the process of creating all types of dolls, clowns, and animals with my continuous supply of cottons, felts and slinky fabrics. It was the start of a consuming passion which would always compete with my love of batik and making art.

As a teenager I was making rag dolls to commission, alongside batik and pencil portraits, enabling me to earn my own money.
After my degree at Goldsmiths I worked as an illustrator, choosing batik as my medium. My enjoyment of fabrics continued in dressmaking and soft sculpture and is now finding a new direction in my art muses.

Early doll prototypes. Art Muse doll by Marina Elphick. Art dolls uniquely hand designed, commissions taken.
First experiments with body shapes. I opted for the separate head, giving a more realistic neck line.

Having been a professional artist for over thirty years, working as an illustrator and a fine artist, I have found myself wanting to return to the “doll” and re-interpret the idea as an artform.

Working in three dimensions is providing a new way to explore the themes I am inspired by, it is an exciting and challenging  pursuit. Creating art muses will combine my love of art, portraiture, symbolism and textiles. Each muse is an intricately detailed artwork, a collectible, not a toy.

The artist, art and life stories of each muse will be recorded in detail on my blog, which I hope you’ll find interesting. Followers are welcome and comments are sincerely appreciated, so please feel free to write in the box at the very bottom of the page.

The idea

Looking at paintings I am often drawn to the female subjects, the muses or models who imbue the artwork with their persona, and I wonder at how important they are in expressing the ideas of the painter; or is the artist imposing his story and ‘modelling’ her in his colours, his ideas? I think the relationship probably works in two ways, the model inspires the artist and becomes his muse: and she is then portrayed in ways that tell his or her story.
This can be seen especially in the works of Rossetti of the Pre-Raphaelites, also Burne- Jones, Waterhouse, Modigliani and Klimt.

Art Muse doll by Marina Elphick.
Rossetti Muse, Jane Morris, prototype. This was revised in my second version of Janey.
With my figurine muses I am exploring the artist and his or her art via the muse.
Proserpine by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, modelled by Jane Morris
Pandora, by Rossetti, modelled by Jane Morris.







Art Muse dolls by Marina Elphick.
Muses in the making, early stages of Klimt, Botticelli and Pre-Raphaelite muses.

Combining my interest in art with my love of doll construction and dress making seems a natural progression. The process of studying artists and their work is enjoyable research and allows me the pleasure of examining some of my favourite painters and their paintings in detail.


Chagall's Bride
Chagall’s Bride
Wedding Couple, by Chagall.
Wedding Couple, by Chagall.







                                                                            First Steps

Inspiration and construction involve two very different thought processes; the first is exciting and can lead anywhere, the second needs careful consideration, trial and error.
I was excited by my initial idea, but to make it a success I had to work through several procedures; from sketching visuals, to drawing pattern shapes and making body prototypes.

Pattern cutting
First experiments with body shapes.

After numerous revisions in my pattern cutting I came to a standard pattern. This all took time, but when I understood what was needed to make the body shape function, I knew I could tweak and alter it to make each muse doll individual.

Hand made art Muse dolls by Marina Elphick.
First experiments with body shapes.
Followers and Comments

Followers of my blog are welcome and comments are sincerely appreciated, so please feel free to write in the box at the very bottom of the page. You will have to give your email address to be notified of a new post (a new muse) but this is a secure site and new muses take a good six weeks to complete !

9 thoughts on “In the beginning

  1. Aren’t they lovely! I make dolls too and am a writer, artist, dyer and maker of silver and bronze jewellery, always have loved them. I would have gone mad for a Pre Rapahelite doll as a child! I think I might still. Well done and keep sewing and writing. I salute you x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an original and fascinating idea. And you have such a great set of skill to execute it with your own eye for colour, detail and capturing the essence of the person. Thank you for linking to me and I will show it to the rest of the family. Your portraits of Emma and Sam are a lovely reminder of them 12 years ago, and still capture them. Emma is now doing art at school, with portraits of her own, and textiles with printed and painted fabrics, so you have shown her what can be done with fabric! Sally

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Sally, great to hear from you!
      I’m glad you “get” my muse project , I am enjoying the research and inspired by the creation of each muse. They are keeping me busy and my brain active 😉.
      It is good to hear Emma is learning about the full range of art techniques including textiles, hope she enjoys it. Love and best wishes to all of the family, Marina


  3. What a wonderful project you have here Marina – I envy you the research, time consuming though it may be! Having looked at all the dolls you’ve done so far, I can’t wait to see which artist’s muse you will do next. I am overwhelmed by your wonderful use of colour and texture and your scrupulous attention to detail. You deserve to succeed. Your family must be very proud of you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Marina you never cease to amaze me with your creativity and talent, these are precious works of art with such thought and detail given to each stage of creation….well done!


  5. I would have loved a doll like this as a child and even now! I adored Leighton’s women and all les danseuses.. Degas, Lautrec. These are wonderful and I’m enjoying reading your thoughts about the process of creating them.


    1. Hello Marina,
      …how exciting for you, it is so different doing 3D work,which I love creating,although clay is a bit more robust!
      Love the idea of all those beauties being recreated in different fabrics.Good luck with your new project

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Carole & Mike, I am excited by all the possibilities. The ideas are coming in faster than I can make them though and each artist has several muses so I don’t always know where to start !


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.