NATALIA ZOBNINA
(ST. PETERSBURG)
The dollmaster
Julia Ralnikova, the dollmaker from Vladimir, is sure that if dolls could speak, they would exclaim: «We don't want to be people!»
Julia Ralnikova was born in ordinary, not connected with art, family. Her mother, for example, is a dressmaker: «There was her sewing machine in the hall. It was never closed. She perfectly embroidered: both in petit point and in cross-stitch. And she is stillembroidering. I remember somehow on New Year's Eve our mother measured us. At that time it was difficult to buy a fancy dress to a New-Year party. Moreover, for two girls! We went to bed. Then in the morning we left the room and saw: two Gipsy dresses were on the hangers! Bright floor-length skirts with colorful ruches… I still remember it as a miracle! History from the fairy tale, where the Fairy Godmother waved a magic wand and two dresses appeared. A huge mother's love was this wand».
The dollmaster
Julia Ralnikova
Julia was born in Chelyabinsk region in the Bakal city. But she never saw it, because she was taken to Bashkiria in her early childhood. Then their family moved to the north, beyond the Arctic Circle to the Labytnangi town.
– Tundra, cloudberries, blueberry, moss smell, reindeers, and indigenous population: the Khants and the Mansis – all this exotic appeared in me once and stayed forever!
When the girl grew up, drawing became her world. «I am still a child. It is similar to my mother. I am living in a dream world. Could begin many cases at the same time – then I'm distracted by something else and so I am already focused on the other thing».

She had lived in Moscow for 10 years, but was tired of fast-paced megalopolis life: an exhibitions whirlpool, people, invitations to join the Artists' Union of Russia, master classes, apprentices… Julia moved to Vladimir.





«And I found myself in a poorly populated abandoned village in an old dilapidated house. Where it is silent, where is the nature. Where my dog will feel good. Oh yes! The dream of all my life came true, I got my Seriy. My buddy! I found it in the wood
».



Her life is her dolls: same bright and colorful.

– My first doll was made out of a random stick and by foolish blunt scissors. I cut myself and decided that wood is not my cup of tea. It was a woman warrior. Only her head was wooden. The body was made of leather and had a wire as a frame. But then my hands healed and wood was still attractive. So there was the second piece of wood, the third, and the fourth...

The first doll of Julia Ralnikova
«A doll for me is like a performance. As the artist you can fulfill yourself very capaciously – you are both the sculptor, the tailor, and the jeweler. Shoemaker, hatter, hairdresser, couturier, and makeup artist. Also you are the photographer in as well. The doll is the reduced copy of the person…»
Today you can see Julia Ralnikova's dolls in domestic and foreign private collections. And she happily lives in Vladimir together with her creations and loved animals:

- I have eight pets: six cat-tails and two dogs. It is my pack, my pride – all are rescued, except one. Bald. It is a gift. This way we live.
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