Thursday, 17 April 2014

In Memoriam

Reginleif - OOAK by Tanya
This morning I woke up to find the most heartbreaking post on my Facebook - the one announcing the demise of an amazing friend and OOAK artist, Tanya Van Der Ploeg, also known as Valkyrie. She was a kind, positive and fearless lady who battled a crippling illness for years while never giving up on her passion and the community she brought together. She was much like the dolls she created - incarnations of legendary heroines and warrior goddesses. Words can't express the grief we all feel right now. I gathered a few pictures from her own website for a short eulogy. Let her art speak of her talent and dedication.
All the images are clickable to the source website, while it still exists.

Tanya's first OOAK, Dark Lily

My first acquaintance with Tanya was after my marker doll disaster, when I figured I'd better get myself educated on doll care and customization before attempting anything stupid again. So I stumbled across her forum, Legendary Tutorials (sadly, it's now defunct too), where I read about 90% of it in the span of a few days.

"Chicks in chainmail" - OOAK by Tanya

She had the best advice and tutorials for everything doll related. There was even a full custom walkthrough. I registered on the forum and in the following months completely flooded the Q&A thread, where Tanya patiently set me right on every issue I could think of. She became my mentor and friend, in spite of the enormous distance separating us.

Athena - OOAK by Tanya

She had a solution for any problem. The word "impossible" was not in her vocabulary.

Gwin - OOAK by Tanya

Her optimism was contagious. I felt encouragement just by thinking about her. She always found the right words to say to everyone. Few people even knew what she was going through, she never let anything show.

Eleanor - OOAK by Tanya

To think that it was only two days ago that I thumbed through the forum to find the exact sealer she recommended for doll repaints. It was Winsor&Newton Galeria acrylic matt varnish. She even left a link to DickBlick with the product photo. She was still alive when I looked for the sealer, and so was the forum. We thought she had more time left. This was the last time I reread her messages to me.

The Morrigan - OOAK by Tanya

It feels so unreal. Her words were comforting me two days ago, and now she's gone.

Brynhildr - OOAK by Tanya

We'll all miss Tanya a lot.

Boadicea - OOAK by Tanya

Her memory will live on in all the kind words and advice she shared so generously and the beautiful dolls she created.

Sigdrifa - OOAK by Tanya

Her characters are empowered warrior women inspired by myths and legends, old and new.

Marishka - OOAK by Tanya

Xena - OOAK by Tanya

A gallery of her works is still on the website.

Belisama - OOAK by Tanya

Tanya's friends and family are joining forces to salvage every little bit of her legacy. The best homage to her is to continue what she started and keep the bonds we formed under her tutelage.
[Update 26/04/2014] A member of the forum, another amazing OOAK artist copied it to her server here. I don't feel so empty any more now that we have the old hangout once again. 

Su-Lin - OOAK by Tanya

Tanya was one of the most amazing people I've ever known. I will never forget her.

Rest in peace.

Brunhilde - OOAK by Tanya