Out in the middle of the Tasmanian wilderness, a woman named Nicole Watt collects natural materials to hand sculpt eerie, whimsical dolls. What started out as a passion project to make keepsakes for her daughter has amassed a loyal following for this self-taught mixed media sculpture artist (although she does not consider herself an artist).
What’s so fascinating about these Tim Burtonesque characters is that throughout their sad and lonely appearance, they remain delicate and beautiful — haunting, even.
The name Mahlimae is the combination of her two daughters’ names, and since the idea was inspired during the pregnancy of her second, the brand’s title could not be more perfect. Due to the carefully handmade nature of Nicole’s craft, no two dolls will ever be identical. She has stated to Beautiful Bizarre, “I’ve always been a dreamer — one of those people with a wild (some would say odd) imagination full of magical places inhabited by some strange but lovable characters.”
She has filled journals upon journals with stories that decorate her mind, and each are brimming with ideas and illustrations to describe these treasured creatures and their origin, which also bodes well with that mystical Tasmanian wilderness.
The essence of Nicole’s faery like dolls is mainly in part to their big, beady eyes, which look out longingly, hoping for a home and begging not to be left behind. Little accessories to adorn the tops of their heads include a crystal crown, antlers and a felted wool hood, all consistently complimenting the ancient folklore theme.
There’s nothing more special than seeing these quirks brought to life and ultimately taking on a life of their own, all because of a mother’s love.
Follow Nicole and her dolls on Instagram: @mahlimae!