Tag Archives: North Carolina

Seated singing mermaid art doll "3rd Time Charm"

3rd Time Charm, Mermaid Art Doll

Sometimes, the third time can be a charm.  My latest addition to my portfolio of art doll sculptures is a rework of a rework.

Seated singing mermaid art doll "3rd Time Charm"

3rd Time Charm

How she started

I created the first incarnation of this art doll, Mermaid’s Song, in late 2014.   She was a steampunk mermaid with the hand sewn tail you see.  I fashioned this first figure sculpture the way I did the majority of my pieces at the time, with a hand-hammered copper face and hands, and a fabric body over a padded wire frame.

Sometimes, there are certain elements of a piece you really fall in love with, and others, not so much.  This art doll definitely fit that description.  I was quite proud of the tail that I pieced and sewed from some faux leather from the Scrap Exchange.  I weighted this tail with an internal sand bag that would allow the sculpture to lean her upper body back a bit to sing out loud.  Her body I wasn’t as enamored with.  In an attempt to make my mermaid more androgynous, I think I just made her kind of spindly. Also her face, though satisfactorily wrought, I applied with just a bit too much space behind it.  This had the effect of creating very deeply set eyes, that appeared a little mad.

art doll mermaid song

Mermaid Song – $260

So I changed her

I decided to rework this sculpture with a paperclay head last year.  This second version I thought possessed kinder eyes and a mouth more open in song.  I left the torso of the piece the way it was, but changed the fabric to a more “watery” color and pattern.  This version was an improvement over the original, but I wasn’t completely happy with the face I had created.  She appeared a bit too caricature-ish to me, and was still quite spindly.  I  think that the fact that I can’t find an image of this version tells a bit about my satisfaction with her.

Mermaid Song needed another makeover, so I kept only her tail, hands, and the internal wire frame.  I re-sculpted the rest of the art doll out of papier-mâché and paperclay.  The surface color and her hair I created through tissue paper collage, and I also changed her proportions and positioning.

I am renaming this art doll sculpture 3rd Time Charm, and she now seems aptly titled.


The Art of Giving

This week I thought that I’d share a few images of some of the items that I brought in to the gallery for the holidays.  Along with a new sculpture or two, I create some extra jewelry items, and a few small gift-able type things like ornaments, and cards.  These shots were all taken at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts for our annual “The Art of Giving” show.

snow fairy ornament

Snow fairy ornament

star ornament web

Star ornament

heart ornament web

Heart ornament

Steam octo

Steam Octo

Wrapped Key

Wrapped Key

Enamel on metal dog tags

Enamel on metal dog tags

glide window web

“Glide” art doll in gallery window




Resolutions 2015 at HGA

Tonight is the opening reception for “Resolutions 2015” our inaugural juried art show at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.  We had a wonderful response to our Call-To-Artists and had nearly 100 artists from every part of North Carolina submit just shy of 200 pieces of work.

Resolutions 2015

The juried pieces were installed in HGA’s Feature Gallery on Monday, and they look wonderful.  The show’s opening reception is this evening from 6-9 pm.  Guest awards juror, Dr. Timothy Riggs, will present his award choices and some impressions of the show.

Resolutions 2015 peek

Join us at the gallery tonight and meet the guest artists.  Vote for your favorite in our “People’s Choice.”


Holiday Treats and a Circle

I have mostly been busy creating items for the gallery for the holidays the past few weeks. Along with new art doll sculptures this includes a few extra jewelry creations, and several types of ornaments. Even though these are smaller pieces that I make several of at a time, I do hand craft each as a distinct original piece.

holiday ornaments and ornament cards

ornaments and ornament cards

I think that my “ornament cards” illustrate this best. The small metal repouseé panel that is on each starts out as a piece of blank tooling foil. I sketch a design on each with a dry erase marker, and then use a variety of stylus tools to shape the design front and back to create a relief sculpture. A sparkly card stock backing is then attached by edging the two panels together with metal foil tape.  With the addition of an eyelet, a hanging ribbon, and attached to a card it becomes both a greeting and a gift.

I also forge copper stars and hearts from copper stock, and pierced aluminum. These are finished with a variety of found objects from my steampunk-y materials stash.

This year I wanted to add an ornament with a nod to my art dolls. I created the little “snowflake dancers” you see in the photo. Each starts out with a wooden bead and a couple of pieces of twisted wire. Brads for eyes, tinsel hair, a wrapped yarn leotard, and skirts of copper and tulle complete these miniature hanging dolls.

My latest art doll is also a hanging piece. Following our first ever Juried art show at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts (more on that in a couple of weeks); HGA will host “Art All Around” in January. This gallery group show will feature works that in turn feature circles.

art doll Cirque III

Cirque III

My piece for the show is “Cirque III”, she is the third in a series of aerialist dolls fashioned in the style of a “cirque” type circus. This doll I purposely balanced and positioned so that while hanging, the slightest breeze or air movement will cause her to move in a circular plane. This of course made photographing her all the more of a challenge, but I do like the effect. She will be in the gallery starting the last week of January.


Art Dolls Around the Gallery

I find myself working at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts today.  I always try to take images of the art around the gallery when I’m here, and make posts to share all the wonderful work a visitor may discover.  More often than not, I take shots of the work of artists other than myself.  Today I thought I would walk around and look at my art dolls with the eyes of a visitor to the gallery.

art doll Nobody's Fool in gallery

Nobody’s Fool

Nobody’s Fool is sitting on a high pedestal grouped together with others that all have art dolls on them.  She appears to be holding court from that position.


art doll Future Thoughts in gallery window

Future Thoughts

Future Thoughts is sitting in the gallery’s front window. From this angle she appears to be a bit sceptical of the viewer. Good thing most visitors look at her from the front through the window.


art doll Fly Girl in gallery

Fly Girl

Fly Girl stands beside a beautiful carved pottery vase.


art doll Bird Girl in gallery

Bird Girl

From this angle, I think that my art doll Bird Girl looks a bit surprised that you can look down upon her swing.


art doll Lily in gallery


Lily is perched on a shadow box on the wall in the print room where along with cards and prints, a visitor to HGA can find an example of work from each of the member artists and handy bio-cards that describe the work of each.


art doll Steam in gallery


Steam is in the same pedestal grouping of art dolls as Nobody’s Fool.  She looks commanding as well.


art doll Ziggy in gallery


Art doll ZIggy adds a bit of sparkle to a pedestal by the wall.

There are a few more of both my art dolls and other sculptures around the gallery, but I guess you’ll have to stop by to see the rest.








Three Dolls Going to a Garden Party

If you been following along with my progress on some outdoor figure pieces, your patience can finally be rewarded.  I will be installing three “garden dolls” at the UNC Botanical gardens tomorrow in the annual Sculpture in the Garden invitational show.  But, before they take the trip to Chapel Hill, here’s a few shots of them in my own garden.

Garden art doll figure - Sow


garden art doll - Tend


garden doll - gather


The reception for the Sculpture in the Garden show is Saturday from 4:30 – 7pm. The show will be on display throughout the fall. There is always a wide variety of media, styles, and sizes of work represented.

Hillsborough Gallery of Arts Juried Show – Resolutions 2015

I’ll get right back to telling you about what I am creating in the gallery, but first I wanted to post a reminder for North Carolina artists. The application deadline for the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts inaugural juried art show, Resolutions 2015 is 5 days away. If you are an NC artist working in 2d or 3d, 18 years of age or older, you have until midnight on September 15th to submit your application.

Full show prospectus and application can be found at OnlineJuriedShows.com.