Time for another installment in our discussion of what, exactly, an art doll is. Today’s artist makes beaded art dolls and pin dolls, which are frequently included in the category of doll art, although they have little in common with the polymer clay or fabric examples I’ve shown you so far, and even less in common with the resin sculptures offered by the Buonaiutos. In order to call these pieces dolls, you pretty much have to extend the definition to include anything that is intended to represent a human or animal figure, no matter how abstract or how far afield from a play-doll. I, personally, use the term “doll art” very broadly, believing that inclusion is more productive than exclusion, but I start to get uncomfortable when leaving the realm of mixed media.
Megan Noel’s beaded dolls are mixed media in the sense that they include metal and clay bits as well as glass beads, but they don’t require as many different disciplines as I like to see in a “doll.” It’s funny where each person puts their own boundaries; there’s probably something psychological about it.
But enough musing — on to the art. Megan Noel is a versatile artist who produces two-dimensional paintings as well as beaded doll art, beaded purses, pins, and of course beaded jewelry. In fact, looking at her website, it appears likely that if you can sew a bead on it, she’s tried it. I like her beaded dolls because of the interplay of texture and color, and I especially like the ones with the expressively sculpted faces. Also check out the ones with inspirational slogans beaded into them. I haven’t been able to find out what kind of structure is underneath the beads on her dolls, but Noel’s pins are beaded on suede.
Hi everyone! I’m back, and I owe a big thank-you to all of you who checked in while I was gone.
Today’s artist is Molly Stanton of Pennsylvania. Stanton’s sculpting career was launched a few years ago by the acquisition of a Wendy Froud piece, and now the student rivals the master. A prolific eBay seller, each of her fairies and mermaids are characterized by an interesting pose and an intricate costume, often involving beads and jewelry findings. I love the complexity of the wings on her fairies and the unexpected use of filigree (I adore filigree) in the costumes. You can check out her work on her standalone site, in her Livejournal and on DeviantArt.
Hm. Well, there’s good news and bad news. Or rather, there’s news that’s bad for me and good for you: I lost my day job yesterday. This is bad for me for obvious reasons, but especially because my husband is also out of work at the moment. Fortunately, we have lots of friends and family close by who will help us get through. This is good news for you, however, because now I’ll have more time for blogging. Maybe I can finally hit my goal of actually blogging every day! I’m working on moving to my own domain, so that will be a priority in the next two weeks or so.
Having said that, I probably won’t be posting during this coming week because I’ll be out of town, with highly limited computer access. If I have time to post something today, I will, but otherwise, check back on Monday the 25th for more dollmakers.
Sorry I haven’t been posting this week, but I’ve been really busy. Since I don’t have much time to write today, either, and it seems like many of you are searching my blog for tutorials, I decided to pop in with a page full of fairy tutorials from the extremely talented artist, Patricia Rose. Enjoy!
I previously talked about two kinds of dollmakers — those who work from the outside in and those who work from the inside out. Joyce Patterson is in the first category, but she is one of my favorite cloth doll artists. She specializes in caricatures of everyday life: Red Hat ladies, computer users, and yard workers populate her photo gallery, along with the occasional gypsy, fairy and mermaid. Her whimsical dolls are well-proportioned, highly detailed and meticulously costumed. It’s amazing how prolific she is — more than 750 dolls in twelve years and still counting — considering the detail that goes into each one. Many of her dolls carry, ride or wear props that are either found objects or made by Patterson herself.
You can find Patterson’s work at her own website and at ODACA.org. She has been a leader in the dollmaking community, belonging to two national organizations as well as founding the Texas Association of Doll Artists and her local Brazoria County Doll Club of Texas. Here’s hoping for another 750 dolls and beyond.
What do you get when you cross woodsy elves with creepy goth? You get the work of Pat Graham, of course. Her “pods” have all the personality of Dawn Schiller’s Seedseidh, but with much more attitude (see the “Angry Young Pod” above). You know when you’re outdoors at night, and you see little eyes shining from the bushes, and you get all creeped out? From now on, I’m going to assume it’s one of Graham’s pod people.
Sculpting a doll and dressing it well are completely different disciplines, and many artists excel at one and neglect the other, so it’s worth noting that while some of her pieces are so delightfully sculpted as to be presented in the nude, Graham is also a master at applying fabric, beads, hair and trims for costumes that have just the right amount of texture and color. Whether she’s making a “grumpy,” a goth girl or a smoking gremlin, Graham’s work is always worth a giggle.
Once again we have an artist whose DeviantArt account contains more pictures than her personal web page, so be sure to check them both out. Graham is very active on DeviantArt, generously handing out advice and encouragement to other doll artists, so if you like her work and you have a DA account, be sure to leave her a comment.
I’ve got a lot more woodsy-type dolls to show you, but today I want to take a break and talk about a more traditional doll artist.
Some people, upon discovering the world of doll art for the first time, think, “Whatever happened to the traditional dolls my grandmother used to collect?” Heather Maciak is the answer to that question. She began her dollmaking career in complete isolation from other doll artists, with only the pages of DollReader Magazine to guide her. The result is a thoroughly modern take on the traditional porcelain doll. Her adorable little girls, mostly limited editions, are packed with character, and their detailed costumes are completely handmade by the artist, right down to their shoes and buttons!
These are what I call play dolls for grownups, so those of you who are entering your second childhood (or still working on the first one!) should go check out Maciak’s site.