One thing that turns me off on a lot of cloth dolls is that you see the same style of face used over and over again. I’m sure it has something to do with the medium, and how hard it is to paint on cloth, but I think it’s also caused by too few artists teaching all the others how to paint faces. Today’s artist, Linda Danielson, suffers from a bit of that problem, but she more than makes up for it in the lush costumes and intriguing characters of her dolls.
Danielson has a background in fiber arts, and you can see it in every one of her cloth figures. They are costumed in a brilliant array of colors and textures, showcasing a variety of needlework including beading, dyeing, knitting and tatting. I’m not sure if these are all examples of the artist’s own work or if she’s merely using found items to good advantage, but either way they express a sensibility for fabric that is stunning in effect.
Each of Danielson’s dolls is a character who makes you want to know the story of its life. Many of them carry shells, baskets, pine cones or other natural objects, and their costumes derive their colors from the natural world. Danielson lives on the west coast of North America and draws much of her inspiration from the changing of the seasons around her.
Bonnie Jones is an ODACA artist who lives in Mississippi. Her career as a doll artist has traveled from cloth dolls, where she made her start, to elegant Old-World style Santas to fantasy figures.
Her Santas are well-costumed, sometimes based on Santa traditions in other countries. They carry bags of vintage or vintage-looking toys and some of them are amazingly lifelike sculpts. I really like the one pictured above with Santa in his nightshirt titled, “The Night Before.”
Jones has a taste for Halloween as well, and I wish I had found her when I was looking for Halloween artists. Her Halloween line is more vintage than creepy, but there are definite Goth influences. If her work is any guide, I have to say that Halloween at her house looks like a lot of fun.
Jones uses her Santa-sculpting experience to good benefit in her fantasy figures, which include elderly witches, angels and wizards, as well as the typical lineup of youthful fairies and elegant ladies. All her pieces have a mystical quality and a kind of peaceful ambience that I like very much. Her costuming relies on texture more than color to draw your interest, and in my opinion does so quite well.
Today I’d like to share some pictures from the Ahoy International Doll Show in Rotterdam. These pictures were taken by doll artist Marika Spijkers, who has kindly supplied the names and web addresses of the artists. I’ve selected my favorite pictures from this show, but please check out the longer list at PhotoBucket for even more. The show was full of fairies, mermaids, trolls, dragons, castles and Arabian princesses, but the first prize went to Claudine Roelens‘ Ballet Dancers, pictured above.
Above are two fairy palaces: Dreamworld by Marij Van Der Ham, and Arabian Dreamworld by Annelize Bos, which appears to have working lights. Below are a pair of adorably life-like babies, a fantasy mermaid and her baby by Joyce Kelder, and a charming fairy child by Edith Taylor:
There were lots of nonhumanoid critters at the show, too, including this fiery orange dragon by Joan Coster, a Blue Dragon with lovely fantasy film wings made by Paula Daling, and this hilarious turtle reminiscent of Christie Friesen‘s work by Netty Stege. I love how the shell looks like it’s made of plaid fabric!
Then there were gorgeously-sculpted and delicately posed fairies. From left to right, the first two are by Astrid Mulder; the third one, whose wings I adore, is by Hannie Sarris; and the fourth is by Saskia Hoeboer.
And, last but not least, there seems to have been a challenge relating to Arabian Nights, because there were quite a few belly dancers, Arabian princes and genies, including this fabulously posed sword dancer by Iris Linstra, a well-costumed pair of Arabian ladies, and a charming prince with his princess. Both of the last tableaus were made by Margriet Nijs and are actually sculpted from hard media but painted like cloth dolls.