I started doll-making about three years ago when my husband and I moved to rural Maine to live in a trailer in the woods. I couldn't work because I'm Canadian (we weren't married then) and I couldn't drive 'our' car because it was a standard and I was a city girl and as far as I was concerned it was a miracle I could drive at all. So. I was stuck in the (very beautiful) woods for a very looong winter. (This is not where we actually lived, but the zendo nearby.)
Very beautiful indeed, but a girl cannot live on pastoral delight alone. I had always loved Dame Darcy's comic books, and that same year my husband gave me one of her dolls as a birthday present. I loved her so much - rather obsessively in fact - that I carried her around from room to room with me for days because so that I could look at her whenever I wanted. So began my love affair with handmade dolls. I had always loved dolls, but this was the first one had I owned as an adult that was hand-made and I was determined to try it.
My first attempts were pretty wretched, but with the help of Susanna Oroyan's lovely books, I slowly got the hang of it. At first I gave them as gifts, but then I discovered Etsy and opened my little shop, and to my surprise, people started buying them. This is Phoebe, the first doll I ever sold:
But this post isn't only about me! I wanted to feature some of the artists who inspire me, and so here is some of their beautiful work.
This is by Jenny Bird Alcantara, who does incredible things by painting on fabric. I love the huge, crazy hair (mohair, I suspect) and one of these days I'm definitely going to try some bunny ears...
Because I can never get enough pink, here is a lovely, spooky albino girl by Beth Robinson, whose work is frightening and beautiful and unique.
And now an artist who is so lovely I have to include a picture of her as well as one of her dolls - she looks like a visitor from another era, and as I often feel like I'm from another era myself (although I don't quite have the nerve to wear bonnets) that always appeals to me. The divine Ms. Lateefah Wright (and how brilliant is that name?)
Lateefah has a kiln and makes actual porcelain dolls!! Oh, how I dream of the magic of kilns... This piece is so ethereal and haunting, I had to show it three times:
And finally, to that mad fairy who started it all, Dame Darcy. It's hard to find pictures of her dolls on the web, but I did find
Golden Shoes, a lovely little animated short she did which stars one of her scary-sweet creations (and some great music.)
Well, I'm off to work one of my own little ladies. I should be doing school-work, but my brain is still recovering from reading/ thinking about/ writing about/ talking about Ulysses for eight hours yesterday. I don't think I could muster a single coherent thought if I tried!