Friday, November 29, 2013

Exploring Creative Passions with Art Doll Quarterly Magazine

I'm an artist who works in many mediums. From Painting to Assemblage to Gourd Art (each speaking to my creativity in their own ways), I would have to say that creating within the world of Art Dolls is the most freeing. Historically dolls have been made for thousands and thousands of years. Replicating our  human condition brings a sense of awe.
Their focus can be on Expressions, an homage to a historical figure, or maybe to recognize our complex spirits as they go through levels of personal growth. 
When I am creating them, my focus is typically to portray our diversity as women, to inspire, and to empower. I find this form of art "forgiving". Their imperfections become their Perfections...their  uniqueness is their Beauty.

The inspirations can come from anywhere, perhaps a luscious colored piece of silk, a uniquely shaped gourd, a quote, a poem, or a sketch. We also get inspiration from other artists. Gathering together, sharing stories, and new techniques  motivates us to explore and deepen our own artistic talents.
While there are many doll artists in the world, they don't seem as plentiful as other types of artists. Here in my region, having  participated in many art shows over the years, I have only personally met possibly 25 to 30 doll artists. So one of my greatest joys is receiving my Art Doll Quarterly magazine from Stampington and Company.
November/December/January 2014 issue of Art Doll Quarterly

This gorgeous magazine is eye candy, reminding one of possibilities yet to explore. But more than that it features interviews with doll artists, the business of art dolls, a show and tell gallery, listing of events, offers new techniques, and engages the artist with upcoming challenges.
(You can find the new issue of Art Doll Quarterly here)
After we got moved into our new home I finally had a chance to sit down with the new November/December/January 2014 issue that was lying on my desk enticing me to come and read.
Heeding its call, I made myself  a latte and got comfy as the winter storm was blowing outside. 
A perfect afternoon with a Latte and Art Doll Quarterly
The first delight for me was the article "Sea Whispers -  Using Plants to Create Natural Dyes". This wonderful piece shared techniques for creating natural dyes and a tutorial for the Sea Whispers Doll from artist Sharon Matthews from Tasmania. The article truly resonated with me because of my love of using earthy materials and the naturalness of the process.

I browsed through the business tips on selling your art dolls, which always has useful information. Halfway through my latte, I then became enchanted with the feature "Felted Nativity" by Briege Connolly. She shared such sweet little felted characters for her Nativity scene, with a detailed tutorial and wonderful close up progression photos.
Cheryl Lommatsch offered an article on assemblage techniques she used in creating her "Chattering Birds and Flying Babies" creations.
"Answering the Call: Song Characters"  and the "Show and Tell" showcased doll artist submissions from near and far.
And as I sat and watched the snowflakes blowing by the windows, I read about Michelle Lynch's "Adventures in First Time Doll Convention Teaching".  I always enjoy hearing about how someones art brings them to travel additional avenues with their craft.
You can get a peak view at the newest issue and subscribe here

The magazine was as usual packed with inspiration and new learning. As I went to rinse my latte cup out, I stopped to place the magazine with the others in my collection. I save them all, for those days when you need to try something new and ignite your creative fire.
Art Doll Quarterly Collection
Now I sit and I have enough time to create a piece of magic for the "Mermaid" Challenge that is due on December 15th?
Or maybe I will try the new technique I learned with natural dyes in the creation of this work in progress. It is paper clay sculpted on to an antique bed post topper.

Happy Creating !

Friday, November 15, 2013

Selu the Corn Mother - Gourd and Clay Art Doll Sculpture

This week I was inspired to create Selu, in honor of our upcoming show this weekend, The Selugadu Festival. Each year the Hagood Mill Historic Site and Folklife Center  holds this festival in November for Native American month.
Selu is known as the Corn Mother, or First Woman of the Cherokee. In legend, she was the First Woman who came to be when emerging from a corn stalk.

She represents the Feminine, Agriculture, Sustenance, the Ability to provide for oneself, and Preserving the ways of the People.

I sculpted her from Gourd and Clay which is attached to a wooden base. The trunk of her body is painted like multi colored corn. When sculpting her face, I wanted to bring a sense of balance between Strength, Wisdom, and that of a Mother. She is emerging from dried corn husks.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Butterfly of Happiness an Asian Themed Cloth Art Doll with Pink Wings

She floats through the sky on the back of a Crane, fluttering with a smile and singing with the songbirds. When she arrives for a visit she brings a bounty of happiness. Her glittery wings wiggle when she laughs, and her smile is infectious. 

She knows all about the negative impacts of worry and stress. She chooses to immerse herself in Happiness. The Laws of Attraction are on her side. Even on the darkest of days, everything she touches turns to gold.

I was inspired to create this little beauty, by the fabric. I love the bamboo leaves and origami cranes printed on the fabric,and from there she became who she is. The butterfly wings were an afterthought....they came into the creating near the end. I re-purposed them from an old Christmas ornament.  I felt she needed more, you know, that one more thing. They give her the uniqueness that she is deserving of. 
Butterfly Happiness a Cloth and Clay Art Doll by Jeanne Fry

Monday, November 4, 2013

Inspirations of an Art Doll

As an artist, I delve into many forms of art and technique, depending on where the source of my inspiration comes from. 
Wisdom Keeper Art Doll by Jeanne Fry

My paintings are often inspired by Nature, Animal Totems, my own Personal Growth, and Color. When the creative fire is lit, and my hand feels the urge to pick up the paintbrush, I can already envision what will come to life on the canvas - the sketch appears in my mind and quickly wants to be be transferred to the canvas. 

My Mixed Media work, creating Shrines, taps a different part of my creativity that is inspired by quotes, phrases, and the written word. This creative fire lives within my more "poetic" self, and seems to happen more during the Winter season for me. This is my contemplative time when I spend more time writing, reviewing where I have been and where I want to be.

But the creation of my Art Dolls - this is most freeing form of art. The inspirations can come from anywhere; they can come from history, ancient culture, a found object, a skein of fabric, a glimpse of a woman and our phases of life. Wherever the inspiration comes from, there is no predestined thought in mind. That raw fire is left to its own devices to become whatever it is meant to become. Sometimes they go in a much different direction than I would have thought. Art Dolls are diverse and allow the artist to use one or many forms of art in their making, whether it be sculpting with clay, bead work, fiber art, wood carving, assemblage, felting, or using natural materials. The more diverse they are in the creation, the more complex their artistic value. Each art form allows for yet another aspect of the inspiration. 

Work in Progress - Gourd and Clay

Hand stitching cloth body

Clay Sculpted Faces

I have always felt that being an art doll artist deserves more value and understanding in the art world. No matter the materials or techniques used, this creative form is depicting figurative sculptures of our human identity, and can be a part of our history and culture as they have for centuries.
My art dolls are called "Wisdom Keeper Art Dolls", and are created as an empowering form of art for women. They come with short stories that focus on reminding us who we are and being supportive in our personal growth. They are meant to bond us as women and celebrate our diversity.

This week I acquired some beautiful fabric and some wonderful vintage assemblage pieces that are calling me to the work table where my creative spirit can run wild.

If you are an art doll artist, I would love to know what inspires you. If you are an art doll collector, I would love to know what attracted you to this art form.

You can learn more about me and upcoming art doll workshops on my website here

You can also see my current artworks in our online Etsy Shop here
Jeanne Fry Art on Etsy