Our Artist of the month for March comes all the way from France: Sevastra! Not only is she known for her lovely doll outfits, she also makes absolutely stunning outdoor photos of her Pullip dolls. Plenty of reasons for us to want to get to know her a little bit better!
If you’d like to learn more about Sevastra, make sure to visit her Facebook page and her Flickr feed. Excited about her clothes? Visit her online shop!
How did you discover Pullip, and who was your first doll? Why did you choose her?
I discovered Pullip by chance while I was looking for Blythe in 2006. I stumbled upon a blog with an article about BJD, so I searched for more information about these dolls. One thing led to another I discovered the “doll world”. I was immediately attracted by their sweet faces and how real they seem especially with their flexible bodies.
My first doll is a Rovam (Satsuki), I chose her because it was a love at first sight! I liked her brown eyes and fair skin. I can’t really explain but she was my favorite of all.
What do you like most about the Pullip family? What sets them apart from other dolls?
Their bodies flexibility and how real they can be. I have Blythe which I love but I feel sometimes frustrated by their stiff bodies. Pullip are like mini human models for me. I almost feel 100% free to make them pose as I wish according to the scene I want to create.
Can you tell us a little bit on how you started making doll clothes?
I started to sew a dress by hand while I was waiting for my first Pullip. I also used to buy clothes but I am a little picky and couldn’t find what I wanted or liked so I made their clothes by my own. First they were made by hand and when I got my first sewing machine, I started to sew differently and more clothes. I learnt to sew by my own. I always like the idea of creating things by my own, so sewing for my dolls was a good way to pursue this will.
Where do you get the inspiration for new doll clothes and outfits? Do you, for example, look at human fashion, or do you find inspiration in nature?
What is important for me is to develop something personal, being driven by my own tastes and desires. My inspiration comes from what I wear or what I would like to wear myself. I really like the 70’s aesthetic and take some ideas in clothes made at that period. I have a small collection of dresses from this period, which inspire me too. I think my first sewing works were really inspired by books from my childhood, like La Comtesse de Ségur. I also had a collection of Holly Hobby and Saray Kay stickers. I like rural, floral, nature style so it is all that, mixed with my love for 70’s. As I travel a lot accross North America mostly in the wilderness, I have to create proper outfits like hiking clothes/accessories because I like to nurture this idea of realism of dolls living their own adventures.
We absolutely adore the warm, soft light you frequently use in photos. How do you make the sunlight look this soft, and are there any extra challenges combined with doll photography, as your subjects are often so close to the ground?
When I think of a photo I want to take, I visualize it precisely with the decor, the light etc… so I try to look for the right place and right time to make it. I have different sort of lenses according to what I want to do and with the practice of photography these past years i’ve learned how to manage the light according to the mood I want to give to my work. The doll photography is only a challenge with the decor scale (trees/mountains), weather (especially the wind) and how I can place myself to take the photo. Sometimes I’m on the edge of a rock, immerge into a river or have to bend over backwards. The last summer I was stung by bees while I was taking a photo, I was crounched onto their nest and I’ve paid a lot for taking this photo! but despite the pain, it was a fun moment to live because I do love outdoor photography. I like the natural light, I like being surrounded by wild flowers, enjoying a pure sunshine it all makes a difference to me. I can’t think of taking most of my photos indoor because I’m mostly inspired by what surrounds me especially when I travel. The fun part comes from this aspect of the hobby, being able to capture what I want with 12 inches models made of plastic and vinyl.
Your dolls always seem to have a really natural pose in their photos. Do you have any specific tricks you use to achieve that?
Obitsu bodies are great to gain flexibility. I can’t think of my Pullip still wearing their stock bodies, according to the kind of scenes I like to create it would be almost impossible.
Do you feel like your photography inspires your sewing, or maybe the other way around? Or maybe a bit of both?
Sometimes the inspiration comes from something very visual but sometimes it can be a reflection about a feeling or a photo project idea. When I think about a photo I want to take, I also think about the outfit my dolls will wear and sometimes according to that idea, I have to make the clothes. It’s quite rare when I sew an outfit and think of a photo after that. It’s often photography first then clothes. I sometimes make clothes I will never or rarely use in photos.
What tips would you give beginning doll enthusiasts?
Be inspired by what you really like, your own tastes and aspiration to create your own world. In my opinion, it’s is the wealth of this hobby: different customs. It’s not a question of money or how expensive your camera will be. No need to see what the others have done and do the same thing two days later. Be creative and enjoy what you do.