Author Archives: lynnadmin

Needle felted wall hanging "Travel Photo #1" for Other Dimensions

Other Dimensions

The Challenge

Create art that takes you out of your usual display space. This is the challenge we gave ourselves for the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts group themed show, “Other Dimensions”. The initial idea was for 3D artists to create wall hanging art, and 2D artists make pedestal top pieces. However, each artist interprets the challenge in their own way. The results will go up on the walls and pedestals of HGA’s Featured Exhibit room this Thursday. Opening reception for Other Dimensions is this Friday, February 22nd from 6-9pm.

My Other Dimensions

I decided to take this themed show challenge at face value and create some wall hanging art. Currently, I am working on several needle felted art doll pieces for my upcoming featured artist show in April. I shared in earlier posts how much I am enjoying working with this new and versatile medium. The results are two felted “tapestries” that I am calling my “travel photos.”

Needle felted wall hanging "Travel Photo #1" for Other Dimensions
Travel Photo #1

I took a “slice” out of a couple of photographs from our family’s recent trip to Iceland, and used them as the basis of needle felted hanging relief panels. The result of the first of these is “Travel Photo #1.” I took the original photo for this piece at the first of many waterfalls we encountered. There were several more dramatic falls along our itinerary route, but something about the moody sky and bright wild lupins in the foreground drew me in. The finished hanging is approximately 12″x 22″.

Travel Photo #2 Collaboration

My second “travel photo” is based on an photo by my talented student photographer daughter, Alexcina. Alex’s original image is of an Icelandic horse who appeared to be very aware of just how magnificent he looked with the wind blowing through his mane.

Needle felted wall hanging "Travel Photo #2" for Other Dimensions
Travel Photo #2

This diminutive hanging is approximately 5.5″x 10″. Both of the “travel photos” are muslin backed and wired for hanging, and you can see them at HGA starting this Thursday.

Fashioned Freedom sculpture for Elizabeth Keckley inspired show

Authors, Artists, and Art Show

Special Show to Start

At the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts (HGA) we start the turn of the calendar year with several special art shows. The North Carolina statewide juried art show, “Resolutions”, is wrapping up. Next, we mount two group themed shows of work from the HGA membership. “It’s All About The Story” is the first of these shows.

Elizabeth Keckley

“It’s All About The Story” takes advantage of the the notable literary community that exists in Hillsborough. The artists of HGA create art in response to the work of one of the town’s many local authors, and this year we are doing something a bit different. This year’s author is long deceased.

Elizabeth Keckley is best remembered as dressmaker and confidant to Mary Todd Lincoln. Elizabeth was born into slavery, and it was during her teen years in servitude that she lived in Hillsborough as a slave in the Burwell household. The Burwell School historic site has marked the 200th anniversary of Keckley’s birth this past year with a number of events surrounding its most notable former resident. For our inspiration we drew from Elizabeth’s memoir, Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House.  My piece is titled “Fashioned Freedom”.

Fashioned Freedom sculpture for Elizabeth Keckley inspired show
Fashioned Freedom (photo by Alexcina Wartski)




Looking at Elizabeth

I took a step back from my art doll sculptures for this piece. Mrs. Keckley’s true story required something more than a depiction of a character or envisioning a theme from her book. Her life was one of both subjugation and emancipation, though neither as we typically see them. Elizabeth Keckley eventually purchased her and her son’s freedom, but she later became bound in a different way to Mary Todd Lincoln. I found a sense of irony contained where a woman is labeled as “free” in a society where she was anything but free, and she creates garments for other women that literally incorporate a cage structure.

I based my sculpture on a purple velvet dress that Elizabeth Keckley made for Mrs. Lincoln for the 1861-62 winter social season. This dress was a two piece garment with two different bodices, one for day wear, and the other as an evening gown. I reimagined the evening gown form in copper wire and chain around a miniature soft sculpture dress form I created. My intention was to express visually the contradictions of freedom and bondage I encountered in Elizabeth’s story.

Show’s run

It’s All About The Story will show at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts from February 1-20th. There will be a reading at HGA by William L. Andrews author of Slavery And Class In The American South on Sunday, February 10th from 3-4:30pm

Winter White

Needle Felted Art Doll

I have been busy keeping up with my inventory of needle felted holiday ornaments the past few weeks, and neglected to share the newest art doll figure sculpture in my collection. Her name is “Eirlys” which is Welsh for “snow drop”. She is my first completely needle felted figure piece.

needle felted art doll "Eirlys", seated figure
Eirlys

Eirlys, has been on display in the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts since we hung the holiday show in November.

A New Face

Following the completion of my Aurora Dancing piece, and producing a few dozen animal ornaments you can imagine that I was beginning to make up my mind about working with needle felted wool. It was Eirlys, however, that had cemented my infatuation with the medium. As I have created more and more art doll sculptures I have worked to breath additional expression and personality into each little figure. I was pleased with the increased detail when I switched to paperclay from my original hammered copper faces a couple years ago. Likewise, I love the surface contour control and color mixing I was able to achieve with wool fibers. I love the wistful and magical look she has with the addition of her iridescent black glass bead eyes. I have not worked to have my art doll pieces possess overly natural looking eyes. Sometimes, I have to admit that I find dolls with overly realistic glass type eyes just a bit creepy. Besides, a frost faced snow fairy with blue hair, would just naturally have to have magic eyes that appear to glow from within.

So Put Together

Eirlys is constructed over a wire frame that has been “fleshed out” with quilt batting. Some elements, like large sections of her clothing are first needle felted off the doll. I created the large round portion of her coat/dress skirt, and her snowy wings in this manner, and then felted them in place on the doll. Likewise, for the scrolling blue pattern on her dress I formed the basic shapes and then felted them appliqué style so they could follow the contours of the sculpture’s form. Other parts such as her face were felted/sculpted in place

More to Come

As I alluded to earlier, I really enjoy the results I am achieving sculpting my art doll figures in wool. So much so, I have decided to create all of my pieces for this year’s feature show in April in this manner. I have already completed a piece or two, but you will have to wait a bit to see them. I have to get them ready for early copy deadline images for the show, but then keep most of them under wraps until the show opens. But, don’t worry, I’ll share some of what you can expect to see over the next few months.

Have a wonderful New Year!

close up of Aurora Dancing face

Aurora Dancing…

Travel Born Art Doll

I am often asked where I get ideas and inspiration for my art doll figure sculptures.  My quick answer is, “anywhere, and everywhere.”   Boleyn’s Ghost took her inspiration from a book. I pulled from a Degas painting for Local Star.  The genesis of my latest sculpture was travel.

This past summer we had an adventure in Iceland.  We chose a “you drive” tour. For eight days we traversed Iceland’s surreal and otherworldly landscape.  Mountains, glaciers, geysers, waterfalls, and icebergs were some of the breathtaking sights we encountered.  We also passed what seemed to be a never-ending supply of sheep grazing wherever they pleased.

The beautiful wool products and the inspirational scenery of Iceland percolated in my head following our trip.  The result of this marriage is Aurora Dancing.

Aurora Dancing art doll

Aurora Dancing art doll

We visited in the summer, and therefore did not get to experience the northern lights dancing in the night. As a result, my figure’s felted coat employs an imagined interpretation of the aurora borealis over a snowcapped landscape.  Aurora is papier mâché and paperclay over a wire armature.  I needle felted this art doll’s coat, mittens, boots, and flowIng hood by hand, as well as the cover of the base. I aimed to integrate my material and visual inspiration with the magic of Icelandic lore.

More Needle Felting

Aurora will find that she is just the beginning of a number of art dolls that will have felting techniques incorporated in their construction. Needle felting is like painting with fiber.  It provides an opportunity to add another dimension to my sculpture. Needle felted wool lends itself to completely different creations as well. I wrote earlier that I have already created a small herd of Icelandic inspired animal ornaments.   Those ornaments will be making their way to the gallery in a couple of weeks as the holiday shopping season begins.

 

needle felted polar bear ornament

Storm Born Sculpture and Ornaments

Creating Ornaments in the Storm

Some may find being home bound for several days as a slow moving hurricane passes very frustrating.  I am fortunate enough to currently have power and materials close at hand. This presents an opportunity to sit down to some extended workbench sessions. This time of year part of my attention turns the coming holiday season.  In addition to my art doll sculptures, I create handcrafted original ornaments and some extra jewelry for the gallery.

Iceland Inspired Ornaments

Usually, these ornaments reflect what is currently occurring in my sculpture.  One influence on the items populating my sketchbook is a recent trip to Iceland.  A charming addition to the amazing and other worldly landscape one encounters is sheep everywhere.  In response to this, I have planned both art dolls and this season’s ornaments utilizing the technique of needle felting. I am still very much in the design phase, but thought I’d share a couple of works-in-progress images.

needle felted polar bear ornament

Polar Bear Ornament

Needle felted puffin ornament

Puffin Ornament

I snapped both of these quick shots in my studio with my phone.  There is one more arctic inspired creature, a reindeer, that I’m designing.  I will refine each a bit for production efficiency, and have a selection in the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting in mid November.

Surface Experimentation

I was also finishing up a small completely sculpted little figure piece this week.  In stead of wigging and costuming as I do with my art dolls, I sculpted minimal clothing and hair from paperclay. I decided to do a bit of experimentation with the surface treatment of this piece. I created a “faux bronze’ finish with the layering of metallic bronze paint and a moss patina glaze.

Seated figure with faux bronze finish

Seated figure with faux bronze finish

With any luck Hurricane Florence will allow me to get a bit more accomplished today as well.

Weaving Dreams celestially colored art doll seated on the crescent moon

Summer Work

Dream Weaver at HGA

Travel and other summer distractions have kept me away from the work table somewhat the past few months.  That doesn’t mean that my studio has been completely fallow, just a bit more relaxed.  The last piece I delivered to the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts is Woven Dreams.

Weaving Dreams celestially colored art doll seated on the crescent moon

Woven Dreams

This piece is a papier-mâché and paperclay sculpture.  I began with the crescent moon which I sculpted over a corrugated cardboard under structure.  The moon contains an internal sandbag to keep it tilted at just the right angle to accommodate the seated figure.  The dream weaver herself is paperclay and papier-mâché over a wire armature.  I created her unique skin tone with strips of torn tissue paper, and a tiny bit of silver paint.  Her “other worldly” eyes are fashioned from iridescent beads.  The entire sculpture was then sealed before the addition of her silver tinsel hair, wire and beaded weaving, and glittering tulle skirt.

I’ve also been busy finishing up sculpture commissioned as a present.   I will share a few images of after she is delivered to her new home.

Back to the work table.

 

 

Hope- seated art doll figure sculpture with balloons

Paper, Paper, Paper

Paper.

Here are my paper inspired art doll figure sculptures that will be part of the “Rock, Paper, Scissors” featured artist show going up at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts this coming Monday, March 26th. Opening reception Friday, March 30th from 6-9pm.

Paper Dolls?

You may have seen a few of these figure sculptures here, or even in the gallery already.  They all utilize paper in the form of paperclay and/or papier-mâché as the primary media.  Many are also connected to paper through inspiration found in the pages of literary works, sheet music, vintage notebooks, newspapers and more.

Hope- seated art doll figure sculpture with balloons

Hope

Seated figure, Hope, is a playful juxtaposition of color and black and white.

Tinker bell inspired art doll sculpture figure

Tinkerbell Never Lost Her Shadow

Wearing text pulled from the pages of Peter Pan, Tinkerbell Never Lost Her Shadow, is a hanging art doll figure sculpture that is all about light and shadow.

art doll book sculpture titled Boleyn's Ghost

Boleyn’s Ghost

I introduced Boleyn’s Ghost in my last post.  This art doll sculpture is based on the sister characters of Anne and Mary from the historical novel The Other Boleyn Girl.

Chef Sings - singing chef art doll figure sculpture

Chef Sings

Chef Sings was inspired by a ceramic figure sculpture I made in Jr. high school art class!

Prudence art doll sculpture

Prudence and Martha

The Prudence and Martha sculpture is born from the Beatles vast music catalog and the figures are clad in sheet music.

 

Local Star, Degas inspired art doll figure sculpture

Local Star

This sculpture is a rework of an art doll figure damaged by water.  She was inspired by a Degas painting, and her costume is made from the pages of the local paper.

Paper Alice II is an Alice in Wonderland inspired art doll

Paper Alice II

Another Alice in Wonderland art doll figure.  This sculpture features Alice examining the “drink me” bottle, and playing card motifs.

In The Gallery Now

Leonardo's Child art doll figure sculpture

Leonardo’s Child

Already on display at HGA, Leonardo’s Child, is a nod to genius and flight.

Running Free figure sculpture

Running Free

Running Free was a problem solving stop on the way to the next two minimalist figures I created for HGA’s “C-Note” show.

minimal dancing figure art doll sculpture

Dance

Dance is one of two art dolls that I pared down to their basic figure sculpture form for “C-Note”

Recline - figure sculpture

Recline

Reclining art doll figure at HGA.

These pieces and more will all be find at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting this coming Monday.  If you are in the area stop by and take a look! Hope to see you at the opening reception next week!

A Boleyn Art Doll Plays Rock, Paper, Scissors

It is the final countdown to my featured artist show at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.  My newest art doll and sculpture creations are part of the show that will have its opening reception from 6 to 9pm on March 30th titled, “Rock, Paper, Scissors”.

My pieces are intended to be the “Paper” part of “Rock, Paper, Scissors”, and will be displayed along side the silver and natural stone jewelry of Arianna Bara, and the textile creations of Ali Givens.

Art Doll or Book Sculpture?

This year, I created several sculptures that land somewhere in the intersection of book sculpture and art doll.  One such piece is Boleyn’s Ghost.  It is literally and literarily ripped from the pages of Philippa Gregory’s novel The Other Boleyn Girl.  I must admit to a mild obsession with historical fiction, especially those set in Tudor England.  I’ve always felt that Gregory’s title could refer to either of the Boleyn sisters, Anne or Mary.  You can look from the perspective of who was established first at court, or who had greater historical impact.  I think they both had reasons enough to return as a specter to teach a lesson or two.

In this piece I strive to achieve several things.  She is a ghost. I think she should appear light and etherial.  I also wanted to utilize the book pages and paper not only to highlight ideas, but mimic the patterns of rich textiles described.

art doll book sculpture titled Bolyn's Ghost

Bolyn’s Ghost

I cannibalized my own well read paperback copy of the novel for fragments of text. The application to layers of tissue paper,  though time consuming, helped to achieve the look I was going for with her gown.  Likewise, I made the design choice to utilize a glass gem backed with a reflective holographic art paper in place of a face.

This ghostly figure-sculpture-art-doll-book-sculture will haunt the Featured Exhibit gallery of the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting March 26th.

 

Prudence art doll sculpture

New Year, New Work

I’ve been working in the studio on some new art doll figure sculptures for several upcoming shows.

Resolutions 2018 in Last week at HGA

Currently, the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts is featuring it’s yearly North Carolina state-wide juried show Resolutions 2018.   This show features non-HGA artists from across the state.  It runs through this weekend, so if the snow has melted in your area you have a couple of days left to see it in person.

C-Note

Starting Monday, January 22nd HGA will have C-note.  A special themed show of HGA member-artist work all priced at $100.  I created two minimalist “figure sketch” sculptures for this show. It was a challenge to create work to a specific price point that still fit within my usual body of work.  With “Recline” shown below, and her sister piece “Dance”, I’ve paired down the detailed features and costuming of my usual art doll sculptures to their elemental core.

Recline - figure sculpture

Recline

It’s All About the Story

Our February opening show will be our yearly “It’s All About the Story” show based on the work of one of Hillsborough’s many noted authors.  This year we read “A Broom of One’s Own” by the recently named Piedmont Poet Laureate, Nancy Peacock.  I will share a bit more about Nancy, the show, and her author reading in a month or so.  For now, I share a peek at “Doris”.  The book shares memoir tales of Nancy who supported herself, and her writing as a house cleaner. I decided to bring to life a character that brought together her two disparate occupations. Doris is a member of a hotel housekeeping staff Nancy met in a restroom when attending a writer’s event. For me, Doris just needed to be incarnated as a rag doll with attitude.

Doris art doll for "It's All About the Story"

Doris

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Lastly, I’ll give a a sneak peek at the pieces that i’m putting together for my upcoming featured artist show in March.  Titled, ” Rock, Paper, Scissors”, I will represent the “paper” in the trio of artist.  The art doll sculptures I am creating for this show have paper as their primary media and inspiration.  The first of these pieces is Prudence.

Prudence art doll sculpture

Prudence

Prudence is based on the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence”, and as you can see, she has “come out to play.”  She is accompanied by her sheep dog (Martha, my dear?) and they are running across a musical landscape flying a kite.

 

 

 

Paper Penguin papier-mâché holiday ornament

Find New Holiday Ornaments at Hillsborough Gallery

New Holiday Ornaments at HGA

Monday I added some new hand crafted holiday ornament designs to the selection at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.  Each November, we install our holiday show titled, “The Art of Giving”, when the preview show for the open studio tour comes down.  I always add two or three types of original hand crafted ornaments to what I bring in.  For several years now, I have created copper and pierced aluminum stars and hearts, and some small snow fairy figures.  Recently, I have found myself drawn to working more and more paper and text into the creation of my art doll figure sculptures, so I decided to create some new papier-mâché holiday ornaments this year.

Paper Penguin Ornament

Paper Penguin papier-mâché holiday ornament

Paper Penguin Ornament

The first papier-mâché holiday ornament I designed is this penguin who appears to be singing.  I start by layering recycled newspaper and office paper over a balloon with a twist in the top.  After the base layers dry, I pop the balloon, and add cardboard to form the beak and wings.  Patterned scrapbooking and origami papers are applied to create the surface color and patterns.,

Balloon Rider Holiday Ornament

Balloon Rider Ornament papier-mâché and polymer clay original

Ballon Rider Ornament

My balloon rider ornaments are a design I came up with last year.  I updated them this year and used polymer clay for the little figure sculpture.  Last year I modeled the tiny balloon rider out of paperclay, but that required a wire form inside the clay figure.  The polymer clay allows me to be a bit more efficient with my time. The balloon construction is the same as the penguin body.

Ball Dancer Ornament

Ball Dancer ornament

Ball Dancer

The Ball Dancer is my third ornament design this year.  It starts with a ball I create over a balloon like the other two ornaments.  I sculpt a small dancing figure out of recycled corrugated cardboard or scraps from my studio foam core stash.  Strips of origami and scrapbooking paper complete the surface.

HGA Holiday Show

My ornaments, art doll figure sculptures, jewelry, and the beautiful work by all 22 of the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts owner/artists will be on display and available for one of a kind gift giving now through New Year’s.  Join us on Friday, November 24th for the holiday show’s opening reception from 6-9pm for some decidedly non-stressed “Black Friday” holiday shopping.