Tag Archives: art doll

Tattered Swan art doll

Green Swan?

Writer’s Block

It really has been much too long since I updated readers on what’s going on in the studio. I have been busy sculpting away in the studio these past few weeks. Much of what I’m working on is for my yearly featured show this coming April, so I’ll keep that under wraps for just a bit longer. In the mean time, let’s look at “Tattered Swan”. She is my piece for HGA’s next show, “Green”.

Tattered Swan art doll
Tattered Swan

But First, Some New Year’s Resolutions…

Each year, somewhere in late summer HGA puts out a call-to-artists across North Carolina. This call is for our yearly state-wide juried show “Resolutions”. Some 200 or so pieces were submitted from artists across the state. 38 wonderful works in a wide variety of media were chosen for inclusion. The show “Resolutions 2020” will be on display at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts January 6-26.

Green Swan

Following our yearly Resolutions show, the member artists of HGA mount two yearly group shows. The theme of the first of these shows is “Green”. I chose to interpret the word green as sustainable. Sustainability being my focus, I decided to begin with my material choices. As felted wool has been my material of choice for the past year or two, I looked first at the source of my fibers. I first purchased wool roving for this figure directly from the farmer at a local farmer ‘s market. My second fiber choice was to recycle. I saved dryer lint from loads of laundry over a period of months. and used it for my second source of fiber. You find this unconventional material used in the figure’s wings, hair, and costume.

Material Challenge

The dryer lint presented me with a puzzle to solve. Its fibers are quite short, and their varied sources make the “Felt-ability” highly variable. I first turned to wet felting. The result was something that resembled home recycled paper, but was devoid of any tensile strength. It crumbled to the touch. I took this fragile material, and sandwiched it with paper thin layers of recycled quilt batting that I had peeled apart. This provided much needed long fibers, and crosswise stability. I needle felted these layers together. The result was a tattered and weathered looking fabric.

Swan Inspiration

I often have my iPad propped up with something playing on it in the background while I work. I had just rewatched the movie Black Swan the idea of creating another dancer figure seemed long overdue. My intension was not to pull directly to the movie imagery, but rather relate to the way it captured both the distress and beauty of ballet. I also strove to create a figure in a snapshot of movement, caught at an instant without connection with the ground. The result is the piece I’ve titled, “Tattered Swan”. I chose to utilize the local wool and the felted lint just as they were without additional coloring through dye or bleaching. I like that this has the effect of the piece looking somewhat classical. Almost as if she were carved out of some sort of material.

Check out Green

“Tattered Swan” and all of the HGA artist’s interpretations of green, will be at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts beginning January, 27th. The opening reception for “Green” is Friday, January 31 from 6-9pm.

Protest Songs Art Doll

Protest Songs art doll
Protest Songs

Another Janice

Protest Songs is my newest original needle felted wool art doll creation. This seated figure is a look back at an earlier art doll figure sculpture of mine titled “Janice“. That piece was purchased years ago by one of my very favorite people, so I still get to visit her from time to time. In this newest incarnation I decided that my vintage songstress needed a floppy felt hat, and a bright orange paisley shirt. She is of course wearing bell-bottomed blue jeans, and they are coordinated with a pair of funky red boots.

For Protest Songs, I additionally constructed a miniature balsa wood acoustic guitar. This tiny instrument is complete with metal strings, tuning knobs, and a scratch plate. The Protest Songs art doll figure is also an homage to the late great Janis Joplin, as was the earlier, “Janice.” This sculpture has her eyes closed and her head tossed back as she belts out her tune with deep feeling.

Wigging Out

My Protest Songs art doll is wigged with unraveled yarn instead of me utilizing hand curled wool roving. I find I prefer the scale of the hair and curls of her coiffure with this method. Obviously, some of my future art doll sculptures will still call for the thicker more dreadlock look of the hand curled roving. I want to explore this untwisted yarn method for a bit. The plan Is to do a bit more experimentation in this area. I would like to see how different types of fibers look and react using them in this manner. Who knows? Perhaps a new art doll sculpture will have truly flaxen or silky hair.

Protest Songs is currently available at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts along with a number of other creations from my studio work bench.

Alice is Late white rabbit figure sculpture

A Friend for Alice and Some Buzz

And a Trip Back to Wonderland…

I think that to date I have created four different interpretations of Alice from her adventures in Wonderland. One of my newest sculptures, “Alice is Late”, is my first attempt at capturing her companion the white rabbit. One of the stars of my recent feature show, he is now catching glances and keeping time for passersby in the gallery front window.

Alice is Late white rabbit figure sculpture
Alice is Late

Take a look around

Several of my needle felted creations from “April Showers, Art Flowers” have already made their way to new homes. A few, like “Alice is Late” can still be seen at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, but you will have to stroll around the gallery a bit to find them.

Alice and Some Buzz

Another of my personal favorites from my recent feature show is “Honey Dance”. Honey Dance is a queen bee figure that hangs from the ceiling. She holds a bit of honeycomb and sports a small crystal tiara. She is one of those playful sculptures that both evoke a smile and provide a sunny pop of color.

Honey Dance hanging art doll sculpture
Honey Dance

Some Other Things to Look For

I also have a fair number of new needle felted jewelry items available in my glass tower at HGA. I always like to create jewelry that reflects what is going on in my sculptures. You will find pieces from simple felted hearts on leather chords, to some more complex and colorful flower forms with hand forged closures. I find these pieces of jewelry unique and playful, and quite fun to create.

I did remove the remaining needle felted hanging ornaments that I had returned to the gallery for my show. Never fear, I will return them to the gallery in the fall with plenty of time for gift giving.

"lush" bag with needle felted butterflies is something different

Something Different, and Reminder…

Pencil Us In.

Before something different, I think I will start with a schedule reminder. If your calendar looks anything like mine this week, a reminder might be a welcome thing. This Friday is the first official Last Friday of the season in Hillsborough, NC. That means that the Art Walk will be accompanied by music on the court house lawn, vendors, outside activities, and more. But, most importantly, this Last Friday is the opening reception for my featured artist show April Showers, Art Flowers. I hope to see you there Friday from 6-9!

Something Different

A few years ago when my work was more mixed media of a steampunk flavor, I created a little steampunk bag for the holiday season. I fondly recall that piece, and how happy I was that it was purchased for a friend as a gift. I am enjoying my creative play with needle felting so much, that I though that I’d include a couple of sculpted bags along with my cast of figurative characters for this show. The first bag I created is a fantastical evening clutch being “Clutched” by a aqua octopus. ”

"Clutched" clutch bag with needle felted octopus is something different
Clutched


Lush

"lush" bag with needle felted butterflies is something different
Lush

I titled my second sculptural bag “Lush.” This shoulder bag features bright blue butterflies and sunny yellow flowers. Tendrils and leaves complete this bag that looks as though it grew, rather than was made. Both bags have a large glass bead and loop as their closures, and hand sewn linings. I really enjoy the idea of creating items that will be a wearable pieces of art.

See you at the gallery

If you have the chance stop in at HGA this Friday night from 6 to 9 pm. You can see these one-of-a-kind bags, my new sculptures and have the chance to say hello. You can also check out the amazing new work By Chris Graebner, and Susan Hope.

Time for a Feature Show

New Work, New Materials

Any regular reader here might predict that my newest works are created utilizing needle felting techniques. My most recent felted wool creations will be featured at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting this coming Monday, April 22nd.

April Showers, Art Flowers

“April Showers, Art Flowers” is the title of my upcoming feature show with painter Chris Graebner, and glass artist Susan Hope.

Rain or Shine needle felted art doll by Lynn Wartski
Rain or Shine

“Rain or Shine” is the first art doll sculpture created for this year’s Featured Artist show. I like to start with a piece that speaks to the title of an upcoming show whenever possible. This sunny little figure popped straight into my head and onto the page of my sketchbook

As you can see, I took a a departure from the almost monochromatic look of many of my paper and book based art dolls. I embraced the vibrant color available in wool roving fiber. The wool allows me to use the same materials for the sculpting, costuming and wigging of the figures.

I have a few surprises for this year’s show, but I’ll save those for next week’s post after the show is installed. For now, here are a couple of other figure pieces heading to HGA on Monday.

A Few More Featured Friends

'Conversation" art doll figure sculpture by Lynn Wartski
Conversation
'Spring Dreams" art doll figure sculpture by Lynn Wartski
Spring Dreams
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.

 

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.

 

 

 

screen shot of Walden Nap in International Doll Artists magazine inaugural issue

Wartski Art Doll in Magazine

Walden Nap art doll in International Doll Artists.

Walden Nap, appears in a brand new doll artist publication, International Doll Artists.   It is a quarterly publication that is by artist for artists, but I’m sure collectors, enthusiasts, and admirers will find something of interest as well. The print copy of this first issue is on it’s way, but you can purchase and download a digital copy right away. They include digital version with hard copy purchases as well. Be sure to register when they prompt you in the subscription process, so that you can receive your link for downloading digital copy.

top half of International Doll Artists vol1

International Doll Artists vol1

This publication is an outgrowth of the Professional Doll Makers Art Guild.  I have been a member of this creative and highly talented group for a few years now. The art doll form started to take over my sculpture portfolio of work a few years ago.  I found that these figurative sculptures had a unique and distinct audience, as well as a whole new world of tools, techniques, and materials.  Finding some online groups in this genre to interact with has helped my art doll sculptures to evolve, and has pointed me to new venues in which to share my work. the PDMAG participates in doll shows, develops new artists through an apprenticeship program, and connects artists with each other and educational and marketing opportunities.

Below is a peek of the top of the page that Walden Nap appears on, but you have to get your own copy to see the rest.  As you can see, I also share a bit more information about Walden Nap,

screen shot of Walden Nap in International Doll Artists magazine inaugural issue

Walden Nap in International Doll Artists magazine

Earlier Publications of Art Doll Sculptures

You may recall that an article, “Dolls From A Different ToolBox”, about my work appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Art Doll Quarterly magazine. In that article I shared how the tools and techniques of my earlier metal and mixed media sculpture influenced choices I made in art doll design and creation.

Last year, the Professional Doll Makers Art Guild also published a 25th guild anniversary book, that features work by more than 150 guild artists. That book can be found on the guild’s web page.