Imagine a world where curious creatures lurk just outside of sight. Where giant bees and dragon pups are waiting to tag along on all of your adventures.
That dream can be real—it’s Magweno, an art doll alternate dimension created by Scottish designer Maddy Norval.
According to Maddy, Magweno is “that strange feeling you get when you see something utterly adorable but at the same time extravagantly odd.” Her site is packed with adorable handmade critters crafted out of resin, fake fur, fabric and clay.
Maddy’s fascination with fantastic creatures began during her years in university, where she encountered art dolls online for the first time and was determined to make one of her own.
Unable to find a course in college that could explain doll making techniques, Maddy set out to teach herself by emailing artists for advice and drawing inspiration from movies such as The Dark Crystal and Corpse Bride.
After several failed attempts with materials that crumbled or fell apart, she developed her own unique crafting style that sealed the deal.
Maddy creates each of her dolls’ components by hand, whether that involves casting resin, sewing the body or molding the clay to look just right. She uses dental tools for sculpting precision and dyes many of her furs by hand for a truly custom look.
Her website states that the dolls can take anywhere from a day to a month to complete, as it takes time for all the ordered materials to reach her remote home before she can get to work.
Magweno creatures aren’t just cute; they’re bursting with personality. Each “species” has its own story that makes Maddy’s magical world come alive.
The abdabs, for instance, are small, spooky creatures with (very realistic-looking) skulls for heads and black, fluffy bodies. They’re a Halloween exclusive only available between September and November.
These mischievous little things love to make noise and cause chaos. There are many subspecies of abdabs, like the Caberfeidh pictured above that love to hang out in pine forests and make a terrible groaning noise. This is not to be confused with the screaming variety of abdabs, which like to… well, scream.
On the other hand, the crystal kittens are lovely catlike dolls with crystals sprouting from the tops of their heads in a crown shape. Their coloring matches their crystals, which are hand-cast out of resin for a more durable product that looks just like the real thing.
The crystal kittens came about through a successful Kickstarter campaign and feature 32 gorgeous color combinations, some of which are limited editions.
My personal favorites are the helian coos, which are palm-sized takes on the Scottish Highland cow. If you’ve never seen this type of cow before, they’re fluffy bundles of joy, and these tiny coos are no different.
At only 3″ in diameter, these would be the perfect companions to take with you the next time you’re up for frolicking in the fields. They’re also available in Christmas ornament form if you want to have the cutest tree around.
I love that Maddy has a variety of creatures at different price points so you can own one of her creations even if you’re not rolling in dough. Magweno dolls range from the realistic to the downright fantastical, with bees, moths (or “mofs,” as the critters are called) and dragons all making appearances.
Whether you’re a sultry sorceress or free-spirited flower child, there’s a Magweno art doll out there with your name on it.
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