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Summer Break Over, Back to Motorcycle

Ok, so summer is obviously not over, but it is time for me to get back to work creating new work, and getting some regular blog posts up here for you to see.

Since I’ve returned from a bit of travel, I have had the chance to finish up the motorcycle commission I had been working on.  That piece happens to be a surprise from one person to another.  On the very, very off chance that the recipient would be among the dozen or so individuals that actually read my postings here… I’m going to hold off posting any full photos of that completed piece and just tease with some detail shots of bits and pieces until the sculpture is delivered. However, if you happen to be a Facebook friend, Instagram follower, or are part of any of the art doll groups I’m a member of, then you may catch a glimpse of the fully completed sculpture.

Close up of front of art doll motorcycle

detail front

Here you can see two pairs of motorcycle boots,  the glass gem headlamp, and other parts of the bike’s front.

detail of the passenger doll's bag

Passenger’s messenger bag

Lots and lots of little stitches on on the motorcycle seat, messenger bag, and passenger’s jeans.

close up of boots, and "motor"

close up of boots, and “motor”

Now, it’s off to the studio to start a couple of new pieces.  One of them is also a commission, but it is sort of a redo of an earlier piece, and definitely not as involved as this one. Not sure what I will share with you next week, I guess we’ll both have to wait and see.

It has been fun taking you “along for the ride” on a multiple piece commission.  As I stated before, they can be tricky for us artists generally used to creating exactly what we want when the inspiration strikes us.  It is gratifying to know that some patrons enjoy the work so much they want it used to capture something special to them personally.





Art Doll Motorcycle

I recently started working on a piece with two of my art doll figures having an adventurous ride on a motorcycle.  Though I’ve created a number of art dolls and figure sculptures that were perched on bicycles, this is my first riding a motorcycle.

I have been having fun so far researching and sketching the particular type of motorcycle, and then stylizing it into my steampunk interpretation.  There are a obviously a few more components than a bicycle to incorporate in to ensure it represents one particular type of machine over another.

First I braised together the basic motorcycle frame and produced a couple of types of wheel choices.

beginning copper frame for doll sized motorcycle and wheels of electrical conduit

Beginning of fame and conduit wheels

The most labor intensive process so far has been hand hammering out the two fenders.  Blacksmith and body shops have power hammers and english wheels to shape and smooth these types of parts. I found myself wishing I could find a Tinkerbell sized version of both to work with for these.

hammering copper fender for art doll sized motorcycle

Hammering out front fender

I added the fenders, wheel mounts, and springs. Next up will be handlebars, motor, and gas tank. I’ll do my best to take photos along the way.

copper cycle frame with fenders and springs

Frame with fenders and springs




New Art Doll and Countdown

Newest Art Doll

Joy is my latest completed art doll figure sculpture.  Dancers are natural figures for sculptors to do.  Trying to capture movement in a static piece is the challenge.  In Joy, I not only wanted the viewer to feel she is captured in a frame of time, but obviously having a great time while doing it.

Dancer art doll titled Joy


Opening Reception This Week

Tomorrow is the “Last Friday” of April, and that means that it is show opening reception night at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.  Being April, it is also the month when Last Friday switches from just the monthly art walk, to the full Last Friday with music, outdoor vendors, food, and of course, art.

The new feature artist show features new work by Arianna Barra, Chris Burnside, and Michele Yellin.  It is a great show, and definitely worth a look as you enjoy Last Friday in Hillsborough.

This Last Friday also means that I have just a month left until my own featured artist show opening on May 29th. So, with that I better get back into the studio and get my new work finished.

Art Doll with a Doll, and a WIP

Art Doll with a Doll

This week I completed Art Doll with a Doll. This piece reminded me that once you finish a piece she then belongs to the viewer.

seated art doll figure of doll with doll

Art Doll with Doll

The reason I say this, is that I posted her image on some of my social media sites, and almost instantly received a message to purchase the “mother and baby” piece.  I have to admit it took me second to realize that the writer, a soon to be grandparent, meant the doll I had just posted. This pair is now reserved for that viewer, but she will first appear in my gallery feature show in May with a red dot on her label.

Work In Progress (WIP)

Creating for a gallery show, I always like to push myself to stretch a bit.  My recent experimentation with a polymer clay face for my doll “Snow Day”, intrigued me.  I purchased a package of paperclay.  I have been wanting to try this air dry clay on an art doll for a while now. I will be working metal into the final composition of this piece , but her beginning is a bit different from my usual forged copper face and hands. The rest of the body construction for this art doll will follow my same form of a wire skeleton with padding and clothes sewn on.

paperclay head

paperclay head


head and hands drying

I chose paperclay after thinking about my first figure sculpture to cross into the art doll realm, No Rag Doll.  That doll as you may recall was a stuffed doll with a wire skeleton and a brass foil sculpted face. With her inner support to hold herself upright, she was a rag doll that wasn’t floppy at all. In using paperclay I am playing with the idea of a paper doll, but since she is rendered in three dimensions she is nothing like the flat counterparts from which I am drawing inspiration.  Her connection to paper also stems from a literary catalyst, but I’ll share more about that when I post her completed images.




Art Doll Cometh

art doll titled Snow Day

Snow Day

“Snow Day” is an art doll sculpture born from a string of snowed in days.  Normally, each of my figures starts life in my metal studio where I hammer a face out of copper stock, and forge hands from copper tubing and wire.  A couple of abnormally cold and snowy weeks kept my garage metal studio a bit cooler than I like to do this small scale metal forming.

During one of these days I remembered I had a stash of polymer clay.  I decided to create a face that could be stitched on to a bit larger scale cloth doll.  This doll body I created in the same manner as my very first figure sculpture to cross into art doll territory, “No Rag Doll”, with a soft sewn body over a posable wire frame.

The nordic theme of the doll came out of the weather on the days in which I created her, and the addition of iridescent clay into her face that lends a slightly frosted appearance.  I had all of the fabrics and trims used on hand in my studio, and she came together quite smoothly, but seemed somewhat incomplete when I finished her clothing.

I noticed that this art doll could stand unaided. I had enhanced the ability to balance for several of my other art dolls with the addition of a staff, or walking stick. “Snow Days” snow shoes and ski poles were born from that bit of brainstorming.

“Snow Day” will most likely stay in my studio until my feature show at the end of May, though I may be convinced to bring her to the gallery earlier while she still matches the season.


My Art Dolls in a Publication

The new Art Doll Quarterly is out!…

Cover ADQ spring 2014

Cover of Art Doll Quarterly spring 2014

I am reminded instantly of the scene in Steve Martin’s “The Jerk” where he was excited about having his name in the phone book, and that it meant to him that he now was somebody.

I’m not sure what having an article about my art doll sculptures in the new spring Art Doll Quarterly means, but I have it admit it is kinda cool. If you don’t happen to have a current subscription, I tell about how I came to start working on these figure sculptures, and how I go about creating them. I start out admitting to the other doll artists and enthusiasts that I know my dolls are far from traditional, and that I utilize all sorts of materials and techniques they will find foreign. Aside from being exited about this new segment of my work, the uniqueness of my dolls was one of the reasons I wanted to share them with that audience.

Art Doll Quarterly spring 2014 table of contents

ADQ – Table of Contents with Lynn’s “No Rag Doll”, pg. 22.

I was contacted a couple of years ago about including my sculpture work in a coffee table book titled Contemporary Sculptors, but this was the first time I have sent in a query to a magazine. The experience in this case was positive. It happened to be the type of feature they run where the artist writes the article themselves. Much like writing this blog, I found it a useful exercise to think about what to say about what I create, and my design and construction process. It often leads to new ideas, and always helps with gallery explanations.

Here is a link to the page for the issue on the publisher’s website. If you are dying to have your own copy they are available in the magazine section of book stores like B&N, online as both print and digital copies. If you’re local (NC) there is a copy you can peek at when you visit the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.

A Writer and Some Valentines


My newest art doll is a seated figure sculpture writing and drawing in a journal. Though not intended to be a portrait doll, she is definitely styled after someone special. This inspirational person was not only a writer, but also a fantastic fabric artist, and she gave me the material used in the doll’s skirt and hat from her private stash.

I have made a couple of other dolls modeled after specific people. I like that in my chosen media they can be reminiscent of the individual without being an attempt to look just like them. The challenge becomes to try to capture the essence in gesture. I think this doll will be named Mo.

On a completely different note, I have also been working on some Valentine’s Art Cards. The holiday ornament cards that I created in November and December proved to be quite popular. So, I decided it might also be a good idea to create some heart themed mini releif sculptures that could removed from their card and hung. I will have them in the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts through the 14th of the month.


Ornament Cards?

A couple of posts back I talked about the ornament making mini-workshop we were hosting at the Hillsborough Gallery as part of our holiday show opening reception.  It was well attended, lots of fun, and was a successful first attempt at such an activity.  Not to say we didn’t learn a thing, or three that we will change the next time around.

The ornaments I helped participants create were metal foil repoussé (French – push from behind) panels that we attached to a sparkly card stock, and finished with edging tape, a metal grommet, and raffia ribbon for hanging.  These are similar to repoussé panels I make and affix to one-of-a-kind greeting cards.

Susan Hope, one of the other talented HGA artists who was instructing participants in making fused glass ornaments, suggested that I combine the ornaments and my cards for sale.  I thought that was a good idea, so I did…

Ornament Cards

Ornament Cards

Little interactions like this are one of the things I enjoy about being part of an artist-owned gallery.  A collection of creative minds working together is always fertile ground.

Many of us artists add smaller, more gift-able items to our selection of work in the gallery for the holiday season.  So, now I’ll be adding a few “Ornament Cards” as well, a holiday greeting and a small piece of original art in one.

Here’s a link to Susan’s web page if you’d like to see some of her beautiful work.


A Bit of Creativity for Black Friday.

Last week I promised to share more information about out ornament making mini-workshop at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts this Friday evening, November 29th.  During the first hour of our monthly Last Friday reception (6-7pm) three of the gallery artists will be teaching customers how to create unique holiday ornaments.  We hope it will be the start of a new tradition, and a fun, low stress, and creative way to spend “Black Friday.”

Fused glass ornaments taught by Susan Hope.

Fused glass ornaments taught by Susan Hope.

Ali Givens, fabric artist, will be presenting fabric collage ornaments on miniature canvases.  Fused glass artist, Susan Hope will provide instruction of kiln-fired ornaments.  I will be showing how to create a tooled-metal ornament.

Each ornament will be $6, and all materials, tools, and instruction will be included.  We will be limiting to three ornaments per customer as this is our first time, and we want to make sure that there is enough for everyone to join in the fun.

Tooled metal ornaments with Lynn Wartski.

Tooled metal ornaments with Lynn Wartski.

Art, conversation, refreshments, and creativity, what fun!

It’s Beginning to Look…

Along with my art dolls and sculptures I am lucky enough to be part of another unique creation… The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.  This Monday we did our annual holiday show installation.  We install a new feature show in this artist-owned gallery each month.  The entire space is re-hung during four of those installations, and November is the biggest of all.

Snow Queen

Snow Queen



The new artwork is accompanied by ornaments, hand crafted scarves, original textile items, and additional jewelry offerings.  What appears like a space in chaos in the morning is all ready for those looking for those one-of-a kind items by afternoon.  It is an interesting choreography of 22 artists and their work, but it all comes together beautifully.




hand hammered copper star ornament

hand hammered copper star ornament


If you would like to read more about the HGA annual holiday show, “The Art of Giving”, take a look at the gallery’s blog.  This year we will be making a fun addition to the show’s opening reception on Friday, November 29th.  Three artists (myself included) will be offering an ornament mini-workshop during the first hour (6-7pm) of the evening.  I’ll share more on that in a future post, but mark your calendar.  The idea is a non-typical “Black Friday” activity with art, conversation, refreshments, and a bit of creativity.