A while back I came across this adorable little crew of mice – in grey and white, dark eyed and big eared, looking both sweet and smart.
Those little mice were created by the Polish BJD artist Ewa from Atelier Murinae. They are called mouselings and are her first casted doll. They are casted by Haru Casting. The second order has just been finished and the dolls are on their way home. So let us share the love for those cute little mice and let us hear more about them and their creator Ewa.

Welcome to There Be Dolls – this is my first time welcoming a Polish BJD artist – but I have already realized that the Polish BJD scene is quite strong.

Thank you for having me! It is quite strong, we have some amazing doll sculptors such as Rosen Garden, Insomnia Creates Dolls and Buried in Oblivion, you should really check out their work.

Let us start with your little mouseling – what inspired you to make a little mouse doll?

I’ve always had a great affinity for rodents. As a kid I used to “rescue” baby mice from terrarium shops, so there was always at least one living with me. That’s why I wanted a mouse petdoll pretty much ever since I started collecting BJDs, but never could find one that I liked 100%. So I eventually decided to try and make that ideal doll myself. I wanted a natural teardrop shape, based on my own pet fancy mice, but with good poseability and anthropomorphized features.

Mouseling Army picture by Atelier Murinae

A while back I came a cross this adorable little crew of mice . in grey and white – dark eyed and big eared – looking both sweet and smart.
Those little mice were created by the Polish BJD artist Ewa from Atelier Murinae. They are called mouselings and are her first doll. They are casted by Haru Casting. The second order has just been finished and the dolls are on their way home. So let us share the love for those cute little mice and let us hear more about their creator Ewa.

Even though she is slightly humanized walking on two legs she comes off really authentic, especially with her hematite eyes – like real rodent eyes. She makes me think of Beatrice Potter’s characters?

I really hope she does! I wanted to find balance between cartoony and realistic, so that she could be styled in multiple ways, but personally, I really enjoy animals anthropomorphized in an old-fashioned aesthetic, just as in Beatrix Potter’s illustrations. I designed Mouseling to fit in with traditional 1:12 scale dollhouse furniture for this reason.

I’m also a big fan of Japanese toy line called “Sylvanian Families” that features various animals living an idyllic vintage community. My collection is tiny so far, but I certainly take some inspiration when styling my own dolls.

The Mouselings are your first doll – how did you get started?

It’s my first finished and cast doll, but not the first I sculpted. Even before I first tried my hand at making my own dolls, I drew them a lot, exploring all the different forms they could take. So even now I always start on the doll with sketches and blueprints, as it also helps to prevent going off the rails when sculpting. Of course the end product is never exactly as first envisioned, but some things, for example foot size, should stay consistent. I like to make the entire body as one piece and then cut it into parts, as I feel it helps to keep everything smooth and in proportion.

Mouseling Sketch by Ewa, Atelier Murinae

How did you learn to sculpt?

I did attend classes on sculpture, first in high school and then at the university, I was even taught how to do gypsum casting. But making dolls is a different beast altogether and required a lot of trial and error. I read a ton of other sculptor’s blogs and tutorials. When doing faceups and blushing for other people I had the lucky opportunity to study how different companies approached the sculpt and engineering, which helped me greatly in deciding which solutions I like and which in my opinion do not work or could be improved.

Why did you choose the name Atelier Murinae?

I knew I wanted a name related to mice – because the first doll under that name would be a mouse but also because they accompanied me and my creations for years beforehand. I eventually settled on less obvious “murinae”, which is the name of biological subfamily comprising Old World rats and mice.

Ophelia in Armchair, owner picture by @rappsbjd

What is your artistic background?

I earned a BA in graphic design in 2012, I also spent 5 years working as a 2D artist on HOPA-type games, doing designs, sketches, locations and characters. I’ve been making art pretty much all my life, first in traditional mediums, then as a digital painter, but now I focus mainly on handcraft and sculpting. I dabbled with customizing vinyl toys, jewelry making and sewing, I find handiwork very relaxing and engaging.

When did you get to know BJDs and do you remember the first BJD sculpt that caught your interest?

I think I first saw a BJD (though back then I incorrectly called all of them “dollfies”, regardless of company), Dream of Doll fullset, around 2006 or 2007 – but the price tag scared me off. DoD’s scuplts weren’t really in my taste, but the detailed craftsmanship blew my mind back then. I wasn’t even aware of all the possibilities they offered.

I stumbled upon them again in 2010, when saw a gorgeous custom Volks Masha, and fell completely in love. I spent days browsing sites and forums, absorbing all the beautiful photos people took of their collections. I was already doing custom MLPs and Barbies by then, so a doll designed to be customizable seemed perfect – not to mention the beauty of the sculpts themselves. A few months later I ordered my first doll – Planetdoll Roseanne – and have been active in the community ever since.
I never ended up getting Masha, but maybe in the future? It’s definitely still one of my grail dolls.

Ophelia steals a knife… Owner picture by rappsbjd

I have seen some of your beautiful face-ups and tattoos – is it possible to commission from you? Where can I find more info about that?

I usually just accept commissions from people who reach out themselves; I also have a few returning customers that keep me busy, so I never really had the need to advertise. But if I ever officially open up slots the info will be available on Atelier’s fanpage and tumblr. You can see examples of my previous works on my main site, ateliermurinae.com

You are also working on a MSD sized girl named Iris– what are your plans for her?

I worked on her on and off for years, I think since 2012. But for now I decided I’d rather focus on completely new dolls, instead of reworking the same sculpt for the fifth time. I might finish her in the future, but she most likely won’t ever be cast, at least not as Iris.

How does your working space look like?

I’m currently without one, since we moved about a year ago, and it’s so frustrating! Sculpting is incredibly messy, especially when it comes to sanding and drilling, so it’s very difficult to do without a proper space. Even simpler stuff like sewing is a little hindered for me now. Luckily, we’re currently renovating and I should have a new bigger room available soon. I really can’t wait to start working again.

Mouseling Master Sculpt by Atelier Murinae

What part of the sculpting process do you like best – what part is the most annoying to you?

My favorite part is definitely working on the sculpt itself, smoothing out the surface and perfecting the details. I especially like faces in that regard. But the most frustrating has got to be engineering – while it’s very satisfying to see your doll pose beautifully in the end, the process of fitting joints together seems endless to me, as there’s always something that could be improved.

There are also clothes for your mouselings available, I have read that you are also working as a designer for a Polish Lolita brand?

Yes, since I left gamedev in 2015 I’ve been doing a lot of art for Lady Sloth. I’ve been into Lolita fashion myself for over a decade, wearing it regularly for the past 6-7 years, so it’s fun, fulfilling work. I already made 7 prints for the brand, though not all of them are yet released. I even put my Mouseling into a doll-themed one!

Mouseling with Mouseling themed fabric

Which BJD artists or companies do you like best and why?

I really look up to french artists such as Lillycat, Dust of Dolls and Enaibi. They all have incredibly unique and strongly defined styles. Each doll they make is extraordinary, yet the overall aesthetic is always cohesive and well-designed.

Are there going to be future releases of the Mouseling sculpt and what are your future plans?

Surely they will be more releases of Mouseling. I want to have some cast in tan colored resin and maybe in white with gray spots – Haru says they’d able to do it. I have a few ideas for fullsets I’ll be doing with the current batch.

But hopefully I’ll be able to work on a human doll soon – I already started on a 35cm girl. It seems like a strange size, somewhere between YoSD and MSD, but I find it perfect. She should still be able to wear YoSD sized wigs and shoes and I’ll try to construct a face-plate system for different sculpts. I should be done with most of the work this year.

WIP: Mango, 35cm doll by Atelier Murinae

Thank you for the interview, Ewa! It was such a pleasure and I am such a big fan of your lovely mouse!

If you want to learn more about Atelier Murinae and her Mouselings you can follow her on FB: https://www.facebook.com/ateliermurinae or visit her at http://www.ateliermurinae.com. For more pictures of her work you can also check out her Flickr.

Also many thanks to rappsbjd who let me use his cute pictures of his Ophelia mouseling! Visit his tumblr for more adorable pictures of Ophelia and his crew!
Pictures of Miss Pickering’s box opening can be found here.

Thank you for reading,

Elisa

Sunny Side by Atelier Murinae

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