Researcher, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology and Professional Design Student, 2008
Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Professional Communication
I never wanted to play with Barbie dolls because I wanted to play with the dolls from my dreams. I will make those dolls, and so I will bring my dreams to life.
Creating Perfection from Clay
Written by Christine Chan
Shirindokht Roghani does not appear to be very different from many young women her age. An Iranian in Malaysia who studies Professional Design at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology and is a part-time staff member at the university’s International Research team, she enjoys spending her free time watching movies and surfing the Internet.
Shirindokht, however, has one hobby and expertise that makes her stand out from the crowd: she sculpts miniature dolls out of clay and hand paints them by herself, each of them no taller than a matchstick. The uniqueness of her dolls and her ability has earned them national fame in her home country, where they were once featured in an exhibition at Dafineh Museum five years ago.
My dolls hold a special place close to my heart and are only given to my loved ones or those who are close to me. Every person who receives a doll has different feelings and expressions, and each doll is unique to them.
What inspired her to sculpt miniature dolls out of clay in the first place? Shirindokht confessed that her childhood was rather unconventional, allowing her a free rein to her imagination and room to explore and develop her talent.
As a child, she would love to daydream while watching cartoons. During those daydreams she fantasized of creating her own dolls to play with.
“I never wanted to play with Barbie dolls because I wanted to play with the dolls from my dreams. I will make those dolls, and so I will bring my dreams to life,” she said.
Running around in playgrounds was never her ‘kind of thing’ as a child, she explained. Instead, she would head over to her neighbour’s house, where there was a customized room full of art supplies prepared by the man who lived there for his two children to play in.
“The room had no rules for us! We could paint, draw, and colour everywhere and anywhere we wanted to,” giggled Shirindokth as she recalls her childhood days. At the age of six, Shirindokht was frequently found playing with the neighbour’s two daughters at his house.
“My mother was another source of inspiration for me,” she added, “She used to paint oil, acrylic and water-based pictures, and she would hang her paintings in our home.”
Shirindokht believes that she has merely inherited her mother’s love for art and taken it to another level with clay instead of brushes and paints. Although her dolls are extremely tiny, they are meticulously created, with fine details on each and every doll.
Not only are there minute details that differentiate one doll from another, each of them come with custom-made dresses designed by Shirindokht herself. Not satisfied with that, she even grants each doll with different hairstyles!
Shirindokht also credits her current place of learning, Limkokwing University, for granting her more inspiration for her miniature dolls. Being in a university with an approximate number of 8000 students from over 100 countries has broadened her exposure to new ideas, cultures and traditions from around the world.
“Limkokwing University’s cultural diversity was a source of great inspiration for me. I now have a collection of a hundred dolls dressed in different costume designs, each of them representing different countries,” she explained.
Those who are interested in purchasing any of Shirindokht’s miniature dolls will have to be satisfied with disappointment. The miniature dolls are not meant for earning and are created as works of art.
Limkokwing University’s cultural diversity was a source of great inspiration for me. I now have a collection of a hundred dolls dressed in different costume designs, each of them representing different countries
“My dolls hold a special place close to my heart and are only given to my loved ones or those who are close to me. Every person who receives a doll has different feelings and expressions, and each doll is unique to them,” she explained, adding that the only thing that she expects from those who receive her dolls is a smile on their face.
How to Make Your Own Miniature Doll
Shirindokht has no qualms about sharing her talents and skills at miniature doll-making with others. In this short guide, we will tell you how Shirindokht creates her dolls in just three simple steps.
In order to make the dolls, you will need some clay, a piece of thin wire or a needle, and some transparent nail enamel. The clay will be used to make parts of the doll’s body, the wire or needle will be needed to prop the body up, and the nail enamel is used to gloss and paint the doll’s figure.
Firstly, you will need to shape parts of the doll’s body from the clay one-by-one. For an example, you can start with making the body or dress, then start shaping the head and then the hands. Next, join all the parts together and insert a needle or piece of thin wire through the doll to ensure that the doll stands firm.
Finally, paint a layer of transparent nail enamel over the doll and leave to dry. That’s it! You can add further details to the doll by working on the hair, dress or other features of the doll.
Shirindokht has some tips for those who are interested in making their own miniature dolls. One must handle the clay carefully as clay is very fragile, and rough handling will cause the doll to be disfigured.
She also reminds us that it is best to work under warm or normal temperatures, because clay dries up very easily in an air-conditioned environment. Above all else, a person making the doll has to be very patient, because despite its small size, a doll can take up to one hour to be completed.