According to today’s Kansas City Star, the Kansas City Museum will carry in its gift shop a book of paper dolls based on the turn-of-the-last-century equestrienne Loula Long Combs. The dolls are designed by illustrator and doll historian Johana Gast Anderton (I know, I was thinking, “Doll historian?” but remember Kansas City is home to the UFDC headquarters and museum).
I can’t find anywhere to buy the book online, and the museum doesn’t seem to have a web page for its gift shop, but maybe the next time you’re in or near Kansas City you can swing by and take a look.
It’s interesting that the newspaper article also says the author donated a “real” doll to the museum for display. Paper dolls aren’t “real?” Who decided that?
Also, I’d like to announce that I’m going to start collecting information about doll events and posting it on a page on this blog. Someday, I’d like to turn that into a fully searchable calendar widget thingy, but for now it’ll have to be a list of links on a page. If you have an event you’d like to promote, please go to the Doll Events page and post your information in a comment. I’m sure everyone would like to hear about it.
The list will begin with a link to Jones Publications’ calendar page.
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.
Whew, am I exhausted. Today we set up our booth and did the preview thing for the Halloween Art Spooktacular. Let me tell you, this is the coolest show. It’s in this awesome neighborhood in St. Joseph, Missouri, in this gorgeous old Victorian mansion. What better place for a Halloween show? The inside is all decorated for Halloween, people were wearing their costumes and everything. And best of all, there were two other dollmakers, Lucky Stradley and Pat Benedict, in the show, whose work is really to die for, no pun intended. (Well, okay, maybe a little bit.) It was so much fun.
So, if you’re in the Kansas City or St. Jo area tomorrow, head up to the Wyeth-Tootle Mansion and pop in to say hi. It’s only $5 and it’s really awesome. And if you’re interested in making dolls, be sure to stop by our booth, because we’re passing out fliers for our doll club, MCODA. I’ll be the one in the pirate hat with the peacock feather.
If you live in the area and you’re interested in dolls, but you can’t come to the show, drop me a line and I’ll send you a copy of the next newsletter so you can come visit our club. We have a lot of fun.
Here are a couple more artists I saw at the Plaza Art Fair whose work is pertinent to dollmakers:
Anthony Pack gives personality to junk and vintage found objects and carves simplistic sculptures from wood. His little metal “robots” look like the Tin Woodsman’s offspring (perhaps appropriate, since his business card has a Kansas phone number on it) and his sometimes-naughty wooden sculptures fall somewhere between “primitive” and “post-modern.” Not pictured on his Flickr site are the hilarious little wall sculptures I saw in his booth, which were painted skin color and had little knobs and pegs in particular places. I’m a self-confessed prude, but they made me chuckle anyway. You can see a few more pictures of his work here.
Thomas Wargin is a sculptor, not a dollmaker. I find myself uncertain as to how I’m supposed to respond to his work, emotionally. At first glance, his figures are dark and mysterious, sometimes a little tortured-looking as they interact with or transform into mechanical parts. But on closer inspection, you find that many of them have whimsical elements like bunny ears. There’s probably some kind of statement about the deep meaning of life there, but I’m clearly not educated enough to read it properly. He has an extensive and very professionally-done web page.
Kina Crow is more my kind of artist. She loves caricatures and has a background in costume design, which makes her sound like a dollmaker, to me, but unlike most dollmakers, she works in earthen clays. Her whimsical characters illustrate abstract themes, sometimes bordering on visual puns. All of her work makes me smile, but I think her fairy with the flowers in her hair (seen here; I can’t grab the picture) is simply gorgeous. Her work is all over the internet, but check out her own site first, and then here and here.
Okay, this is not a doll artist. She doesn’t claim to be a doll artist and I don’t even claim she is one. But I just got home from the Kansas City Plaza Art Fair, and it was the first time I’d seen Karen Woodward’s work. I laughed out loud at the rollicking personalities exhibited by her little “effigy sculptures” made from “flameworked glass.” (I don’t know the difference between flamework and lampwork, but she seems to also work in argon lights, so maybe the process is similar to that. Maybe someone who reads this will post a comment and explain.) What really heats her work up, though, are the goofy expressions on her effigies and the hilarious titles some of them have, from “Cotton Candy Man” to “The Chicken Thief.”
Her artist statement says that when you view her pieces together, the relationships they seem to develop bring a deeper meaning than their simple entertainment value. This may be true, or it may be what she has to write to be accepted by the “fine art” crowd, which she obviously is, but either way, I wholeheartedly endorse her statement that, “art does not have to be serious to be meaningful.” I hope she’ll decide to exhibit at more Kansas City shows so I can visit her work more often! For now I’ll have to settle for her website at www.karenwoodwardstudios.com.
Since we’re talking about woodsy characters, I thought now would be a good time to introduce Dawn Schiller. Her work encompasses sea hermits, odd fae and mythological beasts, each with its own charming character. Her shell- and pod-dwelling hermits (seaseidh and seedseidh) are just adorable and, like Kevin Buntin, they have great little back stories.
Schiller’s larger works are freestanding, which is an admirable feat of engineering in itself, but their costumes and props only add to their character. Check out her green man, below, with the canework leaves. I admire people who can do canework, because I’m terrible at it myself!
As if all this weren’t enough, Schiller gives back to the dollmaking community by running a YahooGroup called FairlyOddFae, which focuses on fairies that don’t look like happy, chubby children or naked supermodels with wings. Her work is living proof that odd faes can be every bit as appealing.