Craftswoman makes unique handmade dolls in Kazakh national style

Over 30 handmade dolls were made by the resident of Nur-Sultan Tatyana Privalova in one and a half years. First, she considered it as just an unusual hobby, but then it turned into a daily job and a favorite craft, the craftswoman recalls. Privalova said that she worked as an economist all her adult life and only on maternity leave did she pick up a brush, plastic, metal and other components of the future doll for the first time.

“I saw a TV show where a woman made dolls, it captivated me so much that I wanted to make them too. I do not have any degree in arts, I didn’t go to any clubs, I can’t draw at all, I don’t make sketches either, it’s all intuitive for me,” said the dollmaker.

The craftswoman makes doll hair out of goat wool and stone beads are used to make eyes. French lace is also in hand. Every detail is important to achieve the desired effect. The subtle work of the master requires total dedication, and, of course, creative inspiration.

Angelina, Alice, sisters Louise and Liza, Melania, Dinara, Azerke and Zhanibek - each doll has its name. It takes Privalova from two weeks to two months to make one doll. In order to turn a fictional image into reality, one must not only be an artist and sculptor, but also a hairdresser, a stylist, a tailor. Everything depends solely on the master’s fantasy. Each doll is beautiful in its own way. Each of them makes people think of fairy-tale characters and plunge into the colorful world of childhood. Khan Zhanibek is one of the favorites.

“I made a doll of the Khan after I watched a movie called ‘The Kazakh Khanate’. The actor prompted me to do it. I made the doll in literally 40 minutes. To me, it is a Khan who has lived a rather long life, he is already wise. I didn’t want to make him look young, I wanted him to be an experienced adult man, who is seemingly overbearing, but at the same time achieved some kind of calmness,” shared Privalova.

The craftswoman’s collection consists of only three dolls in Kazakh national style by now. However, Privalova is not going to stop there. She plans to make dolls stylized as Kazakh batyrs. She has no doubt that such dolls will convey the strength and courage of the legendary warriors at international exhibitions. One of the upcoming exhibitions will take place in Moscow this month.

“People are actually interested in this because these are international exhibitions. For example, there was no one from Kazakhstan last year, there were some people from Kyrgyzstan. I went to see myself, because I’m interested not only in dolls, let’s say in a dress or a home decoration, but in national costumes. Everyone comes up and asks what it is, for example, what this or that ornament means,” the craftswoman added.

Despite the complexities of the craft, doll making is an excellent soothing art therapy, Privalova said. But for this, one needs to become the craft’s biggest fan just like her.