Finding out Who I Am

While exploring other cultures, reading, studying museum artifacts, I find beliefs, ideas, images that feel right.  Sometimes I see something I’ve never seen before and I get this feeling like I’ve been there, lived there, known those people.  Maybe it’s about the search for a family that will hold me the way I’ve never been held before.  I feel like a spell is cast upon me in some of these environments.

The first time I was visiting the African Museum in Washington, D.C.  I wandered in there with my little girl and my little sketchbook.  We took the elevator to the underground level where we found many sculptures.  The only light down there were lights directed on these sculptures.  It was so dramatic, so peaceful, so quiet.  I started drawing and could not stop for hours, not noticing that my feet were swollen and sore.  My little girl was happy to spend as much time as she wanted going up and down the elevator.  I wanted to stay there forever and felt like I was “home.”

When I got home, I began creating little fabric sculptures.  I felt so lucky then to live in Los Angeles, where there were museums with all kinds of sculptures from Africa and other cultures that spoke to me.  I think the best show was “Isn’t (S)he a Doll”, full of African dolls and stories of their purpose in daily life.  I learned about African Art being a part of daily life.  The idea that a spoon, a mask, a house, a doll is not only something that is used in daily life, but also something of great beauty just felt so right to me.  The dolls had many functions.  I continued to draw in museums and connect to all the figures that spoke to me.

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plans for doll from African Beaded Sculpture

more plans from beaded African sculptures

Front and Back of Nigerian Doll with Braided Hair of Tar

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I want to show you and talk about how I incorporated ideas from stories and sculptures into my work.  I read about the Inuit culture and one belief that a human could transform to an animal and then back again felt so real and so full of magic, I had to create dolls about this idea.  There were figures with fur, a beak, bird feet, a tail, in the process of moving into another world.  I’m sure there are other worlds to be discovered.

I made up these dolls to express the beliefs I had read about.  I found this wonderful face of a young Inuit boy in an old book and made a drawing to start the first doll.  From that drawing, a carving and printing on fabric evolved.

photo of the carving here

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Once I have a face I like, that leads me to the figure.

insert baby inuit and mom inuit here

Once I saw a Peruvian Chancay doll, like this one.

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I read these little woven figures were made as toys but more often as burial figures, companions for the after life.  I went crazy with this idea, drawing these dolls, making carvings, and making several dolls of my own based on this ancient work.

Here’s the First big one I made.  As soon as I finished her, someone wanted to buy her, so I worked hard to create another one.  I couldn’t part with her until I had another one, which looked nothing like the first one.  But she was with me and she had a purpose.

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Next one I think I’ll attempt weaving to make her.

a Visit with Angela

a Visit with Angela

A Reason for Creating Dolls

Angela is one in a series of figures based on my favorite drawing model.
When I moved across the country I missed Angela so much. Found a lot of drawings created with her and used them as a point of departure to make these figures. Several have sold. But I keep at least one to serve as a surrogate friend and source of inspiration to me.
Have found out that making dolls about people you care about and can no longer be with is a great source of comfort.
At the time I made this Angela I was also studying beliefs of other cultures.
Since these beliefs felt right to me, I incorporated them into this doll.
The clay face is based on an Eskimo sculpture. The printed carving was created from a drawing of a Peruvian burial doll. I gave her animal wings and claw like toes to make manifest the idea of the human/animal transformation and connection.
Fabric is hand dyed and hand printed with original carvings. Face created from original drawing. Hair is a mix of hand dyed yarn and hand dyed fabric. Hands are silk.
A lot of big love in the making of this figure.

completeShe continues to inspire me in my studio today.

She expresses beliefs from many cultures.

go here to visit Angela

 

to learn more about me and my work process, visit my shop:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MyLittleShopOfDolls#about  where there’s always something new.  I keep singing, dancing, and making stuff .  Making up stuff, too.

Join me in my new online classes and we’ll play together.  It’s so important to play.  Play is some serious business.  Meet me in the field.

intro video HERE

Source: to learn more about me and my work process, visit my shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MyLittleShopOfDolls#about

A Day in Paris

Running around this amazing city, alone, pockets and purse full of flea market finds, broken ceramic roses, postcards, magazines.  Taking it all back to California.

Thinking about making a doll.  After I get back home, I gather all the stuff from Paris and sit on the floor with the papers.  A collage is created.  Years later, a doll evolves from this image.

I call her The Collector, because that’s who I was and still am.  Picking up cool stuff, other people’s trash, anything that calls to me from the ground, from a gallery, from a remembered moment.  It all becomes part of this doll.

study-for-collector-dollPieces of Picasso, Rodin, Vermeer, an eroded clay face, layered on a monotype made in California.  She hangs out with me and once in awhile I look at her and remember that day in Paris.  A doll is born from  this collage.  Here she is.  I can see how she evolved from 2D to 3D.  Can you find the connections?

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Think of a day in your life.  A wonderful day by yourself, finding things that make you feel good.  Just for you.  This is the beginning of your self portrait doll.

Every Doll has a Story. Here’s the one about the “Homely Girls”

A very long time ago, in the summer of 1957. OMG, that IS a long time ago.

Well, I was a little girl growing up on the east coast.  Hot and humid.  Running around the yard with my brothers, covered in sweat.  I noticed my brothers had their shirts off.   “Hey, Mom, I’m gonna take my shirt off.”  “No”, she said.  Girls don’t do that.  “Well, why not?”

No Answer.  But I knew something was very wrong here.  After all, I looked the same as the boys on the top. Too hot and very pissed off.  Some kind of major inequality here.  I can remember the anger I felt at age 5.  Why do I have all these restrictions that they don’t have.  Why?

Well, I never got any answers.  A few years later came all of those horrible body changes, and I lost my chance to go shirtless for a long time.  With ugly glasses, stupid looking hair, braces, and pimples, I was a lost cause for awhile.  And these dolls are what I remember feeling like back then, homely and angry.  The anger made me strong.

img_0662image_029Years later I moved to Austin, Texas, where it was even MORE hot and humid.  There I discovered Barton Springs and got to run around as much as I damn well pleased.  TOPLESS.   I found true JOY, and to top it all off, I got pretty, too.  So THERE !!! Here I am, all happy, even with my top on.  That doesn’t matter anymore.  What does matter is making my own rules that make sense to me.

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But still today, I don’t let anybody put their nonsense rules in MY life.  Only MY nonsense is allowed.  So, me and Homely Girl #1, we’re best friends now.  I think this is what people mean when they say to Make Peace with your Inner Child.

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So, who were you when you were only five?  Need to make your own kind of peace?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at Fabric Today

thoughts on:  chocolate chip cookies,

silly faces, flying chairs, African statues, Burial dolls , making connections

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Have you ever dyed, painted, printed your own fabric?  This work involves eraser carvings and lino cut tools, procion dye, bleach, fabric paint, and shibori.

Use the fabric you create for dolls, quilts, clothes, and replace all the store bought material with something unique and original.