‘She’s Artsy!‘ is my latest wee dollwork, 6″ tall and 6″ wide with barely any depth to her. She was created as an example to share with others as I continue to promote the upcoming all day ‘Art of Doll Making’ workshop at Places des Arts Art Centre, Coquitlam, BC, on Saturday, November 23rd. She was also a way of letting off a little steam after someone in my family suggested I ‘give up art’ and do something else with my life. It is extremely curious that no matter how old I get (55+ now) or how much history I have as an artist and art teacher behind me (35years and counting) – in my economic dry spells I continue to be told to get a ‘real job’. Art making and teaching art is my ‘real job’ so it was in the light of my reaction I created ‘She’s Artsy’.
This small mixed media work has a wealth of stories attached to every object or piece of material in her and it is this connection to others and working these connections into visual storytelling when I make my wire and wrap dolls that I enjoy so much. For example:
Hair: My first visit to Granville Island, Vancouver BC, in the 1990’s led me to discover the Silk Weaving Studio (www.silkweavingstudio.com) and to buy a bit of silk thread. Since then I’ve never visited Granville Island without making a stop at the studio and buying a bit of their beautiful yarn or thread. Thursday I was there and the hair on ‘She’s Artsy!’ came from my latest visit.
Face: Catherine Dumaine a textile artist and fellow teacher at Place des Arts had shown a group of fellow fibre artists (of all types) how to hand felt small balls to be used in jewelry. This purple felted ball is one of my pieces from that day. All of the fun and fellowship of that day is present for me in that small felted piece.
Body: In 2011 I was on the East Coast enrolled in a truly wonderful fibre art workshop with Jo-Ann Van Reeuwyk (www.jo-annvanreeuwyk.com) and one afternoon we went together to the Eric Carle (children’s illustrator) gallery in Amherst, MA where I purchased this spotted material that comes from his end-paper designs for his book. By using this material the magic of that day is also woven into this wee dollwork.
Left Hand: A tip of a Chinese brush is used for her hand, a skill I learnt many years ago from Teresa Chow, a Chinese brush painter in Calgary and whose lessons on ‘Art as Dancing on Paper’ made all the difference for me in how I view and created my art from that time forward.
And I could go on; arms, base, dried paint for clothing… So many stories attached to such a small piece but what they all have in common is to celebrate that I am part of an artsy community and it is my experiences with other artsy types that define me and give my life colour and beauty and meaning and have helped form me into who I am today.