About THE ARTIST
Hi. My name is Mariam and I am 27 years old. I am a dollmaker/mixed-media artist/sculptor. I now live in a small Swedish town with my husband, selling art from my home. But that's not where I was a couple of years ago. Or at all where I thought I'd end up.
Since 2010 I have attended a fantasy/cosplay event in the Netherlands - my home country - every year for 9 years. I usually just made up my own character and use secondhand items and make-up to create something. So in 2014 I was shopping in my favourite thrift store for my outfit and I saw a porcelain doll. She was in okay condition, but not great. I have always been creative, I mainly painted and DIY'd my clothing. So I came up with the idea to transform the doll into something spooky that would match my outfit. I took it home and got to work. No sculpting involved, just some paint, new hair and a new outfit. I got a lot of compliments on my doll at the event on April 20th, people asking me where I got it. And so a new hobby emerged, porcelain doll customising. My then long distance boyfriend from Sweden -now husband- was with me at the time and we came up with a name together on April 27th, 2014.
I am Mim and these are my victims. Mims Victims.
It was after I started my Facebook page (which no longer exists) that I found out about doll communities online. Fairly quickly I had my first international buyer (keeping my prices low as a beginner) and I knew this was something I wanted to continue doing for a very long time. I first used plaster to sculpt on top of the porcelain doll’s faces. I think it was my mom that came up with the idea, since we happened to have it. I always tried to get my hands on porcelain dolls that had seen better days, so that my alterations would at least be an improvement - even if I wasn't very skilled yet. It was after about 2 years and 39 customised dolls that I became a little more skilled and a bit frustrated with the limitations of customising. So I started from scratch.
And I am so happy I did.
Those 2 years of customising had given me the material knowledge and basic sculpting skills I needed to start making dolls that were entirely my own. I am surprised that the first body design I made in 2016 still holds up now. I haven’t changed much since, except switch from polymer clay to epoxy clay and I generally improved a lot in my sculpting, sewing and hair application. In 2016 and 2017 I made about one doll a month. It was all I could do next to college and later my jobs, plus having a small bedroom as my work space didn't help. Keep in mind, before 2017 I never thought I would work on my dolls as a job, it was definitely a hobby in my eyes. I sold my dolls because I knew I wouldn't have space for all of them anyway and this way I could buy more crafting supplies with the money I earned.
My fiance and I were long distance for 4 and a half years. And for 3 and half of those, we thought he would eventually move to the Netherlands. So I would need to have a steady job to support us both for when that happened. But things changed. Life happens. Death happens. And because I also started to resent the field I worked in and housing was affordable where my fiance lived, we started making plans for me to move to Sweden. The job I had in 2017 just gave me more confirmation that moving was the right thing to do, even though it wasn't the plan. There was nothing for me in the Netherlands, except for my loving family and a few friends. I didn't really feel at home there anymore like I used to. Every day, I was dreaming of living with my fiance and having my own perfect work space. It was exciting but also stressful. I stuck it out at my job that year to pay off my small student loan and save a bit of money. And to make sure this was really what we wanted.
Eventually we reached January 2018.
About six weeks after my 25th birthday I said goodbye to Holland and hello to Sweden. To be with the one I love. In my own – much more efficient – work space. With a passion to make dolls, art, videos and to make my business grow. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all rainbows and sunshine. 2018 was an adjustment period. I was still homesick often. I wasn't used to living in such a small town, having studied and worked in Amsterdam for years. And oh, how I missed my dog. But being able to visit my family every half year really helped. And eventually the homesickness faded.
Being able to spend as much time as I wanted on my craft, my skills improved a lot. In September of 2019 I finally pushed myself to start a longer, more intense doll project: Pennywise (click to watch him being made on Youtube). 20 hours was probably my max amount of time I had spent on a doll before him - Pennywise took 70 hours. It was after completing him that I knew I had reached a professional skill level. That I can make amazing things, as long I can put in the time. And that felt great. After that project, my simpler dolls even started looking more polished, and often more symmetrical.
I might not be an artist for a living forever. Who knows, maybe I'll chase another childhood dream and join the circus. Or maybe something more steady so we can buy a house. I've also taken up weight lifting in 2020, so there's that. Whatever my future holds, I know I will be making art alongside it. For now, this is what I do. And I want to thank everyone that has bought from me and has cheered me on. Thank you all so much!
If you like what I do, please consider donating any amount through the Paypal button below
or buying from my Etsy shop.
50 Facts about Mims Victims Video from April 2019