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The Beauty of Art Dolls

The National Institute of American Doll Artists, NIADA, founded in 1963 with the purpose of promoting the art of the original handmade doll, is hosting its annual Conference and Dollmaking School this week in Old Town Alexandria. Today (Saturday, July 23) and tomorrow there are events open to the public, including Artist Demos at Torpedo Factory Art Center and an Exhibition and Sale. We’ve welcomed some NIADA attendee shoppers this week, and in honor of their event, and our own class next month, Mermaid Art Doll with Leslie Brier, we wanted to share some art dolls that we have on display in the shop, have been made in our classes, or have been shared with us.

Mermaid Art Doll by Leslie Brier

Mixed media artist Leslie Brier’s Mermaid Art Doll class is suitable for both beginning and experienced doll artists. You’ll cover your own soft-bodied doll (Leslie has dolls you can purchase to use if need be) with your choice of a vintage or batik provided kit, plus your own treasures of fabrics, laces, embellishments and trims. See more of Leslie’s art dolls below.

The below mermaid art doll by Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula should be familar to many, as she graces our business card!

Mermaid art doll by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Art doll by Kathlyn J. Aviles

The above was created by Kathlyn J. Avila-Reyes. In 2009 we wrote about hosting an exhibit/sale of Kat’s work…take a look at the wonderful photos from then! Judy couldn’t resist adding the beauty pictured here to her own collection, and she has been a much-admired resident of the shop since then. Look at the amazing detail!

Detail, fiber/beaded art doll by Kathlyn J. Aviles

Earlier this year Kat held a very successful show at the Art League of Alexandria; over time her work has moved away from pure fiber to ceramics but remains absolutely stunning. Visit her website for to view her gallery.

Mary, Star of the Sea by Sharon McDonagh

The above is by Artistic Artifacts staffer Sharon McDonagh. She began with an unadorned store bought Santos figure and altered it from head to toe to become Mary, Star of the Sea (Ave Maris Stella).

Items used to create Mary, Star of the Sea by Sharon McDonagh

This was Sharon’s submission for a recent Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs) challenge. Members each gathered 10 items in a paper bag, and the bags were randomly exchanged. Participants could use any mediums and techniques to create their resulting piece of art; the only rule was that at least some of each of the 10 items had to be used. The assortment (pictured right) Sharon received consisted of small sea shells, blue braid trim, blue feathery yarn, a magazine page altered with Citrasolv, translucent printed map tissue paper, blue handmade fiber paper, a piece of woven grass trim, an upholstery fabric sample, painted foil and a silver color Gelato.

Figurative work often results from classes we host here at the shop. In early May we welcomed Leighanna Light of Taos, New Mexico. Leighanna calls herself a “Thingmaker,” and oh, such beautiful things! One of the classes she taught was titled Faux Etching/Surface Design on Metal, and one of the attendees was Linda Morgan, a member of JAMs who is known within the group for her amazing mixed media fiber and assemblage work:

Art dolls by Linda Morgan completed in Faux Etching/Surface Design on Metal class with Leighanna Light

Above, Linda’s work from the Faux Etching class. Below, additional art dolls by Linda.

Mixed media assemblage art dolls by Linda Morgan

Mixed media assemblage art dolls by Linda Morgan

Below, Jello Mold dolls by Linda Morgan.

Jello mold assemblage art dolls by Linda Morgan

As promised, more art dolls from Leslie Brier, from the small, a multi-beaded figure pictured below…

Beaded art doll by Leslie Brier

…to the tall, Leslie’s “Machine Age Santos.”

Machine Age Santos by Leslie Brier

Mixed media art doll by Leslie Brier

Above, “Sugar” by Leslie Brier.

A student at this year’s Art & Soul Creative Retreat in Portland shared the below cloth doll with us: it made us happy to see what she had done with our Hand Dyed Fiber Collage Kits! Art & Soul Virginia Beach will take place this fall, September 26 – October 1. Take a look at the workshops available, which include a number of art doll classes.

Art doll created with Judy Gula's hand-dyed textiles by Art & Soul creative retreat student

Now go play with your dolls!

Posted in Art & Soul, Beads, Classes and Workshops, Fiber, JAMs, Judy's Altered Minds, The Annex | 1 Reply

About Judy

I am a fiber person. I have been involved in fiber art since elementary school. After graduating college with majors in Fashion Design and Business Marketing, I have since learned to weave, sew, dye, stamp, quilt, bead. All those experiences and contacts have bought me to fiber art and mixed media through art quilts and my fiber jewelry. And I inherited the collector gene too - I enjoy hunting and gathering really cool stuff which the casual observer would think has outlived it's usefullness and use it in my art.

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