When I first saw these painted figures, they immediately recalled a memory, albeit a faint one, that rushed to the front of my mind. There was a book I loved as a child, about a doll maker in her studio. The story was about her daily routine: making herself a pot of coffee; bringing it to her worktable, where all of her brushes and needles and supplies were laid out; and contentedly falling into the rhythm of making these small dolls. As she worked, she would pause for a time to look at the doll, studying the eyes she had just painstakingly painted until she perceived the doll’s unique personality before continuing on to the nose and lips.
I can’t for the life of me remember the name of this book, but in looking back, I think it had a huge impact on my notions of what I wanted to do when I grew up. I wanted the quiet, solitary routines of that dollmaker, and I wanted to imbue the objects I crafted with the same love and care. When I asked UK-based illustrator Jes Hunt, the creator of Hinterfolk, for more information about these dolls, I discovered that she in fact might be the real-life version of the doll maker in the book. According to Jes, these characters inhabit the forested recesses of her imagination and are inspired by shamans and the costumes from various traditional folk cultures around the world.
There’s Astrid, who’s quite a straight-laced, practical, homely sort who likes to get things done; Greta, who’s wild and carefree and fiery; Sanna, who’s thoughtful, introspective and magical; and Yak Girl and Yak Boy, who live in a mountainous land and ride their Yak companions. The last two are characters in a children’s book Jes is currently writing, and her hope is that you will find a doll with a personality you love (she can also create a custom doll to suit your own individual personality) and bring it home to watch over you.
I don’t know about you, but I’m already endeared to all of the characters, and I am eager to know more of their stories. You can see the full collection here. Also, if anyone knows the children’s book I’m referring to, please let me know its name! — Kate