Expert in decorative and applied arts Yekaterina Borzunova showed journalists and other visitors at the Volgograd City Press Center how to make a Persona Mini cloth doll and sew clothes for it. She offered the audience of a choice of two semi-finished dolls: girls that should be dressed in Russian folk costumes, and cats in overalls. The participants unanimously opted for the cats.
Yekaterina makes no-face dolls in a tradition that goes back to Ancient Rus. She says it is a perfect exercise for imagination.
"Your fantasy can create any image," she said.
She added that hand-made portrait dolls differ from those made industrially by the tiny details of the faces.
"The dolls you buy in a shop have perfectly symmetrical faces. You look at the Barbie doll and see that it is not alive," Yekaterina noted.
Those who make portrait dolls try to add asymmetry to a doll's face so that this would not spoil the effect but would make the doll's face look like the face of a real live person.
Yekaterina said she started making the dolls in advance because it was complicated work that takes a lot of time. But she explained how these dolls are made.
Inside them there is a flexible frame made of copper wire clothed in padding polyester. The face is made with papier mache paste and decorated with a heart.
"It shows that these are kind dolls," one of the workshop participants said.
The participants had to sew overalls for the dolls, which they did under the guidance of Yekaterina, who showed them how to make pants, blouses, boots and gloves for the cats, and to sew them together with a tiny seam.
That done, the overalls must be fitted to the cat dolls and decorated with collars, bows, cuffs and hoods.
In a Russian tradition, cats are the first to enter a new building, but Yekaterina's cat dolls were the last in a series of workshops held at the Volgograd City Press Center.