Klaudia Gaugier

I have graduated from The Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, Poland.
While being preoccupied with everyday doll making, photography and miscellaneous things I behold the miracle of existence. With pure pleasure I close in my atelier where looking out of a huge window I create in solitude. I dreamt about such place when I was a child, such place I strived for. Wide spreading horizon at your feet and the sky above put in order your thoughts and give an excellent concentration needed for work.

I live in the South West Poland in a place where an unambiguous flat land ends and begins marked with light and shadow, Sleza Massif - having a unique landscape, specific microclimate and extraordinarily rich history shrouded in many legends. I draw inspiration from this half real half fantastic world listening with attention to the voices of gods, people, animals, plants and spirits.

Horka Dolls

I have studied Painting, Graphic Arts and Sculpture, always being torn between the color, form and space - it was the dolls that gave me an opportunity to combine my interests. They provide various sensational experiences and these serve as a priority during creation process. What is also fascinating is the number and variety of actions taken resulting from acting in many areas of art.

There is one more important aspect - possibility to breathe spirituality into an object. It is obtained by a semblance of life expressed in a look, grimace or gesture. Doll creation is for me a process of combining so understood spirituality with matter what makes an object gain a profound expression. It is created in a human image and is an excellent medium to demonstrate the deepest feelings and emotions, leaving at the same time space for ambiguity. It is an ideal amalgamation of what is tangible with what you cannot touch but crave for.

Dolls have an incredible inner strength. They can be funny or terrifying, have their own expression, personality and due to that cause extreme emotions. Are a form of art with which the spectator can interact - touch, pose - by doing so we can experience them in a more complete way. This is where their uniqueness lies and that is what fascinates me.

I like to describe my dolls with the words by Bruno Schultz from "A Treatise on Mannequins": "There is no dead matter. Lifelessness is only a disguise behind which hide unknown forms of life". That is how I think about them.

I invite you to the world of Horka Dolls


First there is a thought that needs only shape. The doll is created spontaneously and these I like the most. Some other time when I realize an order I listen to desires and then the doll becomes their interpretation. That is why the one that orders a doll is never obliged to pick it up. It is conditioned by the love at the first sight. Doll creating is connected with particular stages, but they have to result from the inner need.

I sculpt
I work in the mix of fireclay and porcelain most willingly. First I sculpt the face - unique and inimitable as I do not use moulds. To the face character I stick arms, legs, sometimes antlers and hooves, and to some hearts too. Being enamored in medieval sacral and folk sculpture I mark my dolls with cracks and defects that give them nostalgic character of old historic objects. All ceramic elements are burnt in an electric kiln twice - first in 900 degrees Celsius, then in 1230 degrees - this makes the burn very hard.

I paint
On the ceramics I put polychromy, patterns, ornaments and paint eyes - it is the one of the most laborious but also the most important moments when the unique character of the doll is born - covering layers of paint, then glazing with one or two days intervals in order to achieve the depth and hyaline of a true eye.

I sew
These days have a rythm. They are measured by the knock of 123 years old Singer sewing machine. Reliable, working under any condition and a memento after my nanny really close to my heart. I thoroughly choose the fabrics: grey linen - strong and plain, sophisticated taffeta (silk preferably) - very malleable, but delicate and changing color depending on the light and then plush, velvet, wool.

I build
I fill the fabric body with silicone fiber filler beans that are very flexible and hold the shape perfectly. The face is sewn to the corpus with a strong cotton thread, similarly the arms and legs. I sew in the hair. I use synthetic Japanese kanekalon hair - imitating the real hair perfectly. I add further details and hand the heart on a button. The doll is born!

I sit motionless
I observe the doll and listen to her story.