I’ve always liked dolls. I liked dolls past the age it was cool to like dolls (0-11? 12?) and before it becomes okay to say as a grown ass human that “Hey, I like dolls” (19+? Never?). You know, that weird sweet spot of existential horror that is your middle school years, when you’re supposed to start focusing your energy less on books or jumping or Legos or whatever you, you know, actually like (like dolls) and more on things like learning how to blend in and becoming a (willing or unwilling) sexualized being.
During this time, my Mom and grandma would pick me up various, specialty doll magazines as treats (so cool!), and I would drool over the customized Blythes and Genes, their tiny, detailed clothing, the strange little worlds they presumably inhabited, all while hiding from anyone I might see, um, anywhere that I really just wanted to be somewhere quiet and private (preferably with a lot of photogenic moss) designing my own weird dolls and their accompanying accoutrements.
Well, I sure wish I could have seen Daria Lapto’s “Claymate Creatures” during this time, because I know their strange lonesomeness, their awkward beauty, their magical overtones would have been just the thing to keep me company. Every one of Daria’s dolls feels full of story, and the stories are the best sort: lovely and scary and full of misunderstood outcasts and princesses behind veils. These are fairy tale dolls, the way fairy tales were originally intended, with all the amputated toes and crystalline tear drops intact. I like dolls. I like these dolls a lot.
You can view more of Claymate Creatures haunting dolls and other sculpture via their stunning Instagram, @claymate__creatures, and via their Etsy, http://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaymateCreatures.