Nina Angelina

Little Nina Angelina  is a One-of-A-kind art doll and entirely made by hand. No moulds were used in her creation  and none made of the original afterwards. She comes with her swing, a Photo Certificate of Authenticity and her very own story  book with her story in it … Nina was sold before i even finished writing her story, and she is off to live with a very lovely lady who is hoping to travel the world with her …

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Nina’s swing was made from wire, and decorated with beads, thread, ribbon, flowers and a little key hanging from a chain. It has a ring at the top, so it can be hung, and a heart shaped seat for Nina to perch upon, with a ribbon to hold her safely in place …


On one hand Nina is holding a little friend, a clay and wire bird, hand painted with a wire beak, her other hand can be attatched to the arm of the swing with a ribbon around her wrist.


Nina’s head was sculpted from clay and painted with acrylic paint before being sealed with a matt varnish for protection.Her hair is made with wool and decorated with a wire headpiece decorated with beads and flowers.


Her body was also sculpted from clay over wire, and her limbs from wood and clay with bead and ribbon joints to enable movement. All her clothes are also hand-made and hand stitched by me. She wears white lace stockings with bead decoration and a lilac voile  dress, with a long ruff trail, also decorated with lots of hand sewn beads and ribbons. Her arms have more voiles and ribbons and bead details on them, and she is wearing a pair of ballet pumps on her feet.

b8birdie5 on her back are a pair of hand made white feather wings…

this is her story …

The problem with large families is that at least one member often gets mislaid – lost amongst the noise and hubbub of life and louder siblings.


Nina was born ninth of ten, only briefly enjoying the position of baby before her younger  and much louder brother  stole that role and all its benefits  and proceeded to ride it like his life depended on it – it probably did.


At barely one year old, Nina was thrown back into the pack and left to rely on the kindness of elder siblings or to fend for herself.  Her parents had long ago given up trying to be good parents, and could only just cope with the demands of the new baby and the older  or stronger willed  children who needed forms filled, uniforms bought, trips paid for, teachers met,  homework checked and bottoms spanked.

Unfortunately for Nina, she was a sickly child and spent most of her time ill in bed, watching  her siblings grow wings and learn to fly, each becoming accomplished in their own particular thing; one at English, who went on to become a journalist,  and  one at math who  became  an engineer.  Another, skilled at arguing their own cause,  was training to be a human rights lawyer, and another, who loved climbing, was becoming an internet celebrity with the videos of her climbing exteriors of world famous buildings constantly downloaded onto and from you tube. Another, who spent all of his time building models in a make shift garden shed, is probably in there still, and another simply disappeared one day – no one could really remember much about him, except that he was exceptionally good at hide and seek.  One of the younger more entrepreneurial siblings gained extra food, sweets, favours and pocket money, forging her parents’ signatures on school reports and detention slips, and was keeping all the details in a little notebook, for future blackmailing purposes. That notebook had a healthy bounty on its head, but no one was ever able to find it.

birdie26birdie29 Nina did not have a special skill that singled her out or made her popular or needed, nor did she have a loud voice or the strength to make her family take notice of her.  Nina did, however, sleep – a lot, and in dreams Nina had a skill. In dreams people noticed her, would stop and stare in awe at her. In dreams Nina was the golden child. In dreams Nina could do something no one else could master. In dreams Nina could fly. It was easy; so easy that she couldn’t understand why nobody else could do it.  All she had to do was lean forward, and her feet would automatically lift behind her, until she was floating horizontally. Sometimes she began to run until her legs lifted, and then she would soar, high and fast, laughing, exhilarated by the mixed senses of freedom and danger. At other times, without wishing to, she floated vertically into the air and became worried, as she rose higher and higher, that she would never be able to return to earth. But in her dreams she never fell, or encountered the head reeling sensation of falling backwards that she felt daily whenever she tried to get out of bed.  In dreams the ugly duckling became a swan.

It was on one of the many days when she was entombed in her bed that she first noticed the swing. It hung, empty and long forgotten, amongst the dust and shadow stained rafters far above her head, visible due to the lack of ceiling and a single beam of light forcing its way in through the skylight window. Nina watched as the shaft of light slowly illuminated various parts of the swing. By the time the light grew bored of the lifeless object and settled on another part of the raftered world above her, she knew she had to grow strong enough to climb up there.

DSCF5050 b10With a purpose and a new strength that this purpose developed within her, and with her eyes focussed continuously on her goal, the girl soon found herself climbing the lower timbers of the roof. After several days of trial and exhausted relapses and retreats to bed, Nina finally made it to the rafter closest to the swing, and remained there for an hour just revelling in the proximity to her prize, and enjoying the world above. The swing, she observed, was crudely constructed:  metal wires, twisted together to make it stronger, formed the heart-shaped seat and the arms which rose up towards the central roof cross beam. It looked safe – ish. Pulling the swing towards her, Nina tested it with the weight of one foot before giving it her whole trust and climbing awkwardly onto the seat.  For half an hour and a whole life time, she sat, grinning and watching her family mill around below her completely unaware of her looking down at them, watching the magical sprinklings of dust particles catching the light as they floated dreamily around her, watching the shadows shift amongst the beams, watching her feet dancing on air, watching, but hardly daring to breathe in case it caused the swing to move. Eventually, she realised, she would have to climb off the swing and back onto the rafters and she was unsure quite how to do that. Slowly, tentatively, she pulled her feet up onto the seat and began to stand, grasping the arms as tightly as she could, it was then that the swing took its opportunity to swing… terrifying the poor girl. Managing, somehow, to hold on and to stay standing, Nina let the swing do its thing, and slowly began to anticipate and join in with its movements, realising that she could contribute to its speed and momentum. Grinning again, she lowered herself back into the seat, and began to swing her legs and lean backwards and forwards from the arms…she was swinging…no, she was flying.

DSCF5082  b6Every day after that, Nina climbed the rafters to her swing, taking flowers  and ribbons to decorate it, and a damp cloth to clean the skylight window, releasing its light from years of dust and bugs. It was whilst staring out of the window at her new view of the sky that she found her little friend. The tiny little bird, sat shivering with fear and hunger in a dark recess below the window, one of its wings hanging limply to its side. Nina fell in love at first sight, empathising immediately with the flightless bird. She fed the creature, nurtured it, sat on the swing cradling it, and both little birds found their wings and their freedom swinging in the darkness together, staring out into the light of the sky beyond the window.

Nina’s little friend healed and grew stronger, and the girl realised with a sigh that it was time to open the window. She watched it fly off into the freedom of the open sky, with a mixture of joy, sorrow and a little envy, and after it had gone from her sight, she wondered if she would ever see her little friend again.

Nina too grew stronger. Her skills on the swing astounded even her. She found she could hang by her knees, then her feet or  one hand; she could twist and contort herself around the arms, forming shapes and manoeuvres she never thought possible – all the while swinging – flying, and smiling at how easy and freeing and natural it was.

b11b12 Nina can be seen almost every day, and twice on Saturdays and Wednesdays if you include the matinees, performing in a big top that travels the world. She is known as Nina the flying Angelina, and she astounds people everywhere she goes with her skills on the swing. Everyone that sees her swears that they actually saw her fly, that at one point she was definitely using her trademark wings to fly in the opposite direction to the swing, free from all tethers and without a net below to catch her….

Nina is happy. Now people see her. Now people stop and watch in awe, and she feels golden, capable of things no one else can master. Nina can fly; and she gets to fly every day, and is free to travel the world … she has her wings.  She is even hoping to meet another flyer to perform with and take their skills a step further. There is a young man who has caught her eye…

And there is also an old friend who sometimes pops in to visit her, sitting on her hand during the quiet times between shows, up amongst the ropes and metal rafters of the big top, enjoying the light of the spotlights and friendship, as they sit together and swing.




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