Buro 24/7 Interview: The doll maker Ola Dajani
The woman behind Vinny Dolls
Ola Dajani first came on Buro 24/7's radar via the powers of social media – namely Instagram, where her Vinny Doll creations have been shared countless times, by all the coolest insiders. Her playful dolls – which are characterised by their elongated and armless silhouettes, with great emphasis on details – have popped up at Harvey Nichols in Riyadh, the Katara Art Centre in Doha and the Contemporary Art Platform in Kuwait to name but a few.
Prior to starting Vinny dolls, Dajani studied art and design for few years between Dubai and London. The idea behind Vinny is to create dolls that are captivating recreations of people we may know – Vinny is "the doll that looks like your cousin".
Ahead of revealing an exciting limited edition project in partnership with Vinny Dolls tomorrow, Buro 24/7 Middle East sat down with Ola to find out more about the woman who turned a hobby into a bespoke business...
Why dolls, how did this all start?
It all started back in 2011 just after my son was born: I had my first taste of doll making when I started making quirky stuffed toys for him, then for my friends, then for friends of friends etc and I eventually conceptualised Vinny doll, as a decorative doll (as opposed to a baby doll). The premise behind Vinny dolls is that people enjoy owning a doll made after their idol, or after themselves or after people they know on a personal level. Vinny dolls combine this concept with the fact that they are handmade, unique objects of design and artistry.
What do you love most about the process?
I really enjoy cracking new characters all the time. There is never a dull moment in the studio. Perhaps this is what keeps me going: the fact that I am making something (or rather someone) new all the time. This also means that I am experimenting all the time with new techniques and new materials to achieve my design goals for the doll I am making.
Who would you most love to make a doll for?
There is a long list of people whom I would love to "vinnify"! At the moment I can't wait to start making Carmen doll after Carmen Miranda. I am also obsessed with Iris Apfel and Lynn Yaeger – both of whom are females with great character and presence.
What's the hardest part about the process?
Perhaps striking a balance between the person's appearances and my own take on the character. I always try to make dolls that combine both, and this is what I believe makes a perfect Vinny: not a mere doll, but a story of a soul.
Check back tomorrow to be the first to see the Buro 24/7 Middle East x Vinny Dolls collaboration.