Monday, 24 November 2014

The Frost Maiden.

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven on a dark and rainy day! Back in the glorious days of Summer, I saw an image online that I can only describe as 'entrancing'! It was of an art doll created by the incredible Mary Jane Chadbourne. To my delight, I saw that she was offering an online course in making these dolls, so I joined up. The skills she shared, and the inspiration Mary Jane so generously brought to this course made such an impact not only on me, but on all the other students. I dared to make my very first Paper Clay face for one of the dolls - Hazel!
 I recycled our old bunk beds to make four art dolls in all while the course was running; but there was still wood left so while the weather was fine and dry I cut myself more girls that I planned to decorate over the winter.
Perdita, Queenie and Hazel like to chat, but Miss Homebody, my fourth doll, has to have a shelf all her own!
Now I have completed my fifth doll who I call, The Frost Maiden.
She is to form part of my Russian themed Christmas decorations this year. Twenty-eight years ago Mr Magpie and I were married and we chose to go to Russia for our honeymoon! We were there over the Christmas period and I think it was the most magical time I've ever known! Glittering icons, snow-capped cupolas - and everywhere pictures of Father Frost and the mysterious Frost Maiden!
I created a face for my Frost Maiden very early on in the process of making her. I wanted her to have sad, grey eyes and the lovely high cheekbones that so many beautiful, Russian women have. Her kerchief under her 'little house in the woods' head-piece is inspired by the vivid floral head-scarves I remember from our Russian stay.
Another memory of Russia is the array of beautifully decorated, colourful Matryoshka dolls - the one above is a charm from Retro Cafe Art Gallery - that were on sale as souvenirs - and the tiny lacquer boxes that illustrated folk and fairy tales on their lids. I wanted my doll to reflect these jewel-like colours. I used scraps of paper - gifts from my good friends, Etsuko from Japan and Sue and Dominique Wild. My Frost Maiden does glitter, but this is difficult to capture in a photo.
As you can see, the snow-flakes dance about her stockings made from Shaved Ice Frantage!  The Russian story tells of an elderly couple who lived deep in the woods and longed for a child. Father Frost took pity on them and created a daughter for them, fashioned from the ice and snow and left her near their humble cottage.
The Frost Maiden came to love her 'foster' parents as much as her poor, cold little icicle heart could, but when she saw lovers riding through the woods, she longed to know what real human love would be like!
Every day she grew more lovely: her dresses were made from blue-grey clouds, and diamond snow-flakes glinted in the folds. One day a shepherd lad saw her and declared his love for the Frost Maiden. She so wanted to return it. She called on the Spring Goddess and asked how she might acquire a warm heart. If she wanted to love, the Spring Goddess said, she would need courage! She could grant her wish; but it would mean that she would eventually melt away to nothing: a human heart would make her mortal.
The Frost Maiden felt that no sacrifice could be too great to make for love, so she agreed to have her icicle heart replaced with a warm human heart. She knew a brief period of love with her shepherd; but as the Spring burst into life and the small birds began to sing in the trees she melted away in her lover's arms. Father Frost is not entirely cruel, though, he granted that every year the Frost Maiden should be allowed to return to the human world in all her icy beauty to spend a little while with the kind parents and the shepherd who had loved her.
Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven as we make our way into winter. May you stay warm and safe and creative whatever the weather.


  1. Wow Julie Ann, she is just so beautiful! Sounds like a fab course you took and you must have really enjoyed it :-)

  2. Your doll is amazing as is the story!! thank you Julie Ann for sharing!! And someday I should like to see a post full of pictures from that romantic honeymoon!! Sounds enchanting!! xxoo

  3. I think the Frost Maiden is my favourite !! Sounds like a (cold) beautiful honeymoon!

  4. Wow fabulous art doll my lovely! She's great! X

  5. Hello Miss Julie Ann, you do my heart good, the Frost Maiden. is so beautiful, I love her face with her gorgeous grey eyes, her snowy house crown is perfect, her scarf is so creative, love how you have a key hole over her heart, for that special someone to open, the Matryoshka doll is so sweet, the dancing snow flakes at her feet are brilliant, then the amazing story had me crying, what a wonderful post, I needed to see this, thanks for warming my heart with your beautiful Frost Maiden, Hope you have a wonderful week,(((BIG HUGS ))) my Friend..

  6. She's absolutely magical Julie Ann! Sounds like you had an amazing honeymoon!
    Alison xxx

  7. Oh she's a true frosty beauty! I love her beautiful head dress and all of her icy details!
    The story of course is magical! I would love to see Russia in the snow - your honeymoon must have been an amazing trip! Hugs, Chrisx

  8. A perfect story for a cold night and the season we are expecting. Am in love with your Frost Maiden she is spectacular as is her resurrection every year granted by Father Frost. An enchanting and charming post Julie Ann, something i have gotten used to and always look forward to the next one.

    I have dreamed of visiting St Petersburg since i was a child after seeing some stamps that my Grandad had collected. I used to make stories up from the pictures and how much the stamps were worth ( after consulting The Stanley Gibbons stamp collectors Guide). St Basil's is also on my list but still want to visit St Petersburg to see the Art in the Winter Palace and see where the Tsars lived. One day i hope to have similar magical memories like yours Julie Ann.

    Thank you for allowing me to Dream once again, made me cry in a good way:-) xxx

  9. Oh my Julie Ann! you are an artist in so many ways. Firstly your doll is absolutely magnificent. I can't believe how much of the story you've captured in her clothes and Little trinkets. She is absolutely adorable I really love her.

    I also love the beautiful story. It is so captivating. I could just imagine myself in the forest and feel the snow under my feet and see it twinkerling around.

  10. They are all beautiful, love them, Hugs Annette x

  11. She is absolutely beautiful! and very fantastic story too Julie Ann! I never been to any snow country, your honeymoon memory so romantic. xxx

  12. This is gorgeous, julie Ann, she has such a wonderful face. I love the story you have woven. You have gained so much from this inspiring course and made such original work,

    Lucy x

  13. A magical frost fairy, and the Russian look is just wonderful. How fabulous the dolls look on display. I do envy you that winter trip... I've always longed to go to St Petersburg, and I would need it to look just as you describe - a winter wonderland!!
    Alison xx

  14. Oh wow wow wow and lots more wow, each doll I think it's my favourite but this has to be my favourite. I love snow, even though we don't get it much now. I love the winter season and wow she looks so beautiful in white and blue. And the Russian doll is fantastic, it must have been an amazing honeymoon. Kezzy :-) xxx


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