Today’s featured artist is Angela Jarecki. According to her blog, she seems to be living in Texas these days, but she used to work at Hallmark and live here in the Kansas City area, so I am fairly sure that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her at some point, during my early days of fangirling all the doll artists in town. I’m sure she doesn’t remember me at all, though.
In any case, what I remember about her was that she made the most beautiful cloth mermaid I’d ever seen. There’s just something about the tail proportions that she gets right and hardly anybody else does, or at least did at that time. All of her cloth dolls are characterized by an unerring sense of proportion and fantastic fabric choices. I love the color choices and the textures of her Abundance, shown below in the orange coat.
Her sense of proportion spills over into her hard medium sculpts too, which have the most delightful faces. The fairy pictured above is such an unusual scale. I love how she fits right in the palm of your hand.
I must confess, though, that her bears and bunnies are my favorite pieces. They don’t have the same kind of faces as traditional teddies; instead they seem to be patterned after modern plushies. Again, we see her fabulous grasp of proportion in the size and placement of the eyes and other facial features. It amazes me that many of these bears are crocheted. I neither knit nor crochet, but if I’d known you could do this kind of thing with it, I might have learned. Even her bears have gorgeous little costumes, and most of them come with an even tinier friend. If you go to her website, you can read their little biographies, which often include their best friends’ names and favorite snacks.
Jarecki teaches online classes at DollStreetDreamers, so go and check them out. I love to see an artist with such varied interests — it gives me hope for myself!
Forgive me, but before I start this review, I just have to say that today’s featured artist, Anita R. Collins, has a fabulous website. Not only does she post skillfully made photos of her work (as as I have often state, I admire good photographers because I’m not one), but she also includes commentary on many of her art dolls, which is always my favorite part of any website. Besides that, she has a great “bio” section which is really more like an artist statement, and a dark, moody theme to the whole site that complements her work perfectly.
But on to her work. Collins isn’t just another eBay fairy sculptor. Her work is certainly above average in its realism, beauty and detail, but beyond that, shes creates a sense of mood in her work that is really something special. Her pieces have a distinctly adult edge, displaying their anatomical correctness and sometimes showing evidence of violence, tattoos or scarification, but there is still a haunting beauty that shows through in each piece.
One thing I love about her work is her unflinching use of media. Many artists are wedded to either sewn costumes or sculpted ones (and I have long maintained that the popularity of fairies as subjects is partly because sculptors who don’t like to sew can wind a little cheesecloth around them and call it costume), but Collins’ figures wear either medium equally well, depending on what the artist is trying to accomplish. Their costumes, hair and accessories often display a careful attention to details and their effect on the work as a whole.
Everything about Collins’ work is fresh and reexamined. Her mermaids don’t have scaly tails. She makes crowns out of polymer clay and microbeads. Her angels have wings instead of arms. She makes animal-human hybrids that go beyond the usual centaurs and fauns to include seals, octopi, cats and — I swear to you — coral. Really. See the picture at the top of this entry?
Visit Collins’ website for a great viewing experience (and I haven’t even mentioned her cool dragon-head beads or her adorable netsuke sculptures) or her DeviantArt account for a few more pictures and commentary.
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.