Dolls, waxworks and puppets can be instantly creepy, their uncanniness inhabiting the horrorland of inanimate objects that come to life and, invariably, if fiction and film have taught us anything, try to kill you (would you really want Pinocchio to become real?), so when I first saw Shain Erin's art dolls on his Etsy shop, what amazed me was how he had turned that sinister side upside down.
Where the apparently beautiful Victorian porcelain-faced dolls mask all kinds of imagined nightmares, Erin's dolls, gruesome as they appear, seem benign. As Erin says on his website, he sets out to use visions of grotesque myth to celebrate those "born different". The results, though not beautiful to many, are amazing.
Babette The Beastly Beauty (pictured), is a particular favourite, but Erin's cavalcade of underworld figurines (sold out for now) has also featured cryptozoological-like creatures, bulging cyclops babies or babies with punk-fashioned nails for hair, and beings with multiple limbs, crusted growths and necklaces made out of teeth. Now doesn't that sound like the perfect gift box to open on your doorstep?