Tag Archives: one of a kind

Anthropomorphic Art Dolls Moving On?

…But they’re not gone!

This week is the last Friday of the month. A new featured artist show, Construction, is going live online for HGA. But, Three Narratives isn’t really going anywhere. My anthropomorphic art dolls will remain available both within the gallery featured sales pages, and here on my Available for Purchase page.

Multitasking anthropomorphic art doll
Multitasking 12″x7″x12″

At the Gallery

Those same anthropomorphic art dolls are now at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts awaiting our controlled reopening. As you can imagine, a space where patrons linger, converse, and touch objects is rife with contact concerns. The HGA owner artists are carefully considering all the angles we can think of to safely start to welcome visitors back. The current plan is to offer private appointments one weekday, and open a few hours with precautions on Saturdays. Details on both options are still being finalized. I will share all that information with you here, as soon as I can.

High Fashion anthropomorphic art doll
High Fashion 7″x18″x10″

Not Just Anthropomorphic Art Dolls.

Even with the move towards careful reopening, we are building and refining HGA’s online sales offerings. As you might imagine, something that required building on the fly has experienced a hiccup or two. The experience of the past few months has taught us that we need to develop this side of our gallery further. Keep checking in with me here. I will continue to share new developments. In the mean time, take a second look at our special Art Under $100 show. This show features pieces donated by the HGA member artists, and all proceeds go to maintaining the gallery.

Blue Butterfly Bag
Blue Butterfly bag 8″x11″x1/2″
Flower Necklace -purple and turquoise needle felted flowers on leather chord
Flower Necklace

Multitasking and an Emu

Different types of multitasking

There is always a fair amount of multitasking to do as an art show opening approaches. This time around that requires changes and additions to my task list. Launching this year’s show online necessitates that I expand my online communication and keep up with regular sharing of my newest work. This is the only way that new artwork will be seen. No one will be walking through the door of the gallery and discovering my sculptures. I need to make sure my images are all ready to go, and I needed to update, and reorganize my site. This is because I hope I will be successful steering new and increased traffic here. Also, after I write each post, I need to do increased followup social media posting and sharing to try to expand each post’s reach.

Multitasking anthropomorphic art doll
Multitasking 12″x7″x12″

A Multitasking Sculpture

My piece titled, Multitasking, is an octopus who is busy fixing a cup of tea. Multiple arms make this an easier task I imagine. This sculpture is one of those that was fully formed in my mind before I started. The scale and presence is a bit larger and bolder than most. He commands attention be payed, and also invites the viewer in to take in details. The china pattern embroidered on the cup and tea pot, and the arm raised grasping a tea spoon are a couple of examples. I actually think that I might add some others. A sugar cube on the spoon, and some tea flowing into the cup, perhaps? I’ll share new images if I do.

Emu on the Run

Emu Incognito anthropomorphic art doll
Emu Incognito 8″x16″x13″

This sculpture is “based on actual events”, as the saying goes. There was an emu nicknamed Eno that gained quite a bit of notoriety in this area and beyond this past summer. Eno got loose, and evaded capture for several weeks. The emu sort of became our very own Yeti for a period. Sightings were reported all over the county. Unfortunately, the tale ended tragically during the final attempt to capture was made. I wanted to honor the smile Eno provided during its time on the run. There was just a bit of the absurd to the idea of a fugitive emu evading captors for weeks. As you plainly see, my Emu Incognito is taking extra measures to make sure she escapes undetected.

One last bit of Multitasking

First, a reminder that all of my new work will go live on the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts online shop on April 24th. But, you can check them all out now right here on my Available for Purchase page. I just updated all the new offerings with dimensions and prices.

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

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.

 

"Learning to Defy Gravity" art doll figure sculpture

Imagination, and Good and Evil in Art Doll Sculptures

Canvas on canvas

I have two new figure sculptures to share with you this week.  That must mean it has been a few weeks since I last posted.

I have been thinking a lot lately about my pieces in which I’ve incorporated text or images onto surfaces of the sculpture.  There is an additional level of play and thought that this can bring to a figure.  As with the last art doll sculpture I wrote about, “Local Star”, my  two latest art dolls continue to explore this.

Ode to Elphaba

“Learning to Defy Gravity” is my interpretation of Gregory Maguire’s main character Elphaba from the novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.  For those not familiar with the book, or the award winning Broadway musical adaptation, it is a retelling of the Oz story.  In Maguire’s book the “Wicked Witch” isn’t so really wicked, nor is the “Good Witch” all she seems to be.

art doll "Learning to Defy Gravity"

Learning To Defy Gravity

I captured my Elphaba just as she is first getting her broom to rise from the floor.  This art doll sculpture is a mixture of papier-mâché and paperclay over a wire armature. The color and clothing on this piece were sculpted in place using tissue paper.  The magical elements of the figure, her hat, broom, and boots (shoes are always magical) are adorned with excerpts of text from the book.  I chose passages from Wicked that question the nature of good and evil, and our preconceived notions of each.

"Learning to Defy Gravity" art doll figure sculpture

Elphaba portrait

A Boy Dreamer

My second art doll sculpture this week is titled “Imagine“, and yes, he is inspired by John Lennon’s song of the same name.  My young figure is laying on his back watching the clouds go by.  Is he my version of a young John, thinking such thoughts?… Possibly.  I just like the posture of the figure and the positive message, so decided to create a doll that captured that feel.

 

"Imagine" art doll figure sculpture

“Imagine”

Art doll figure sculpture Inspired by John Lennon's "Imagine"

“Imagine” portrait