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.
This is a different kind of felting, a more two-dimensional type. On my musty old list of “things to experiment with later” is the question of whether this type of needle felting could be used to create features on a cloth doll’s face. If anyone reading this has tried it, please leave a comment and let me know!
P.S. I just got back from the Brookside art show in Kansas City, and it was kind of disappointing. There weren’t nearly as many figurative artists as there were last year; in fact the entire show seemed smaller. Didn’t there used to be two big tents of artisans?
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.