Brigitte B. Doerner invites you to join us in
Who doesn't know them - Ophelia, Romeo and Juliette, Tristan and Isolde, Cleopatra, just to mention a few?
Hello ADO fans, it's once more time for the New Member Spotlight and today the light shines on
Debbie Smith of DebiDesigns. Debbie is a doll artist who says that she came into her creativity in her late 30's and is trying to "catch up"!
I just love that quote! She says her "creative mind is never in rest mode." After checking out her work, I have no doubt about it! In addition to art dolls she also works in fiber arts, florals, quilting, embroidery, and jewelry making. Her beaded fairy imp pins are particularly charming!
Get to know Debbie and check out all the wonderful work she does by visiting her Etsy shop, blog, website, flickr stream, and twitter feed!
Welcome to the team, Debbie!
Originally posted on Much ADO About Art Dolls, ADO's team blog.
Join Abi Monroe
4th Quarterly Challenge 2011
October 5, 2011 at 6pm to December 31, 2011in
Gothic art, the painting, sculpture, and architecture characteristic of the second of two great international eras that flourished in western and central Europe during the Middle Ages. Gothic art evolved from Romanesque art and lasted from the mid-12th century to as late as the end of the 16th century in some areas. The term Gothic was coined by classicizing Italian writers of the Renaissance, who attributed the invention (and what to them was the nonclassical ugliness) of medieval architecture to the barbarian Gothic tribes that had destroyed the Roman Empire and its classical culture in the 5th century.
Today's spotlight is on Haley Monster, the owner of the shop Girls and Monsters. Haley creates some pretty interesting dolls that are both fun and a tiny bit dark at the same time. I particularly like her two-headed girls with their sweet yet spooky expressions. Haley is still working on her Etsy shop, but you can see some of her other work in her previously sold section ( she does take custom orders), and in her blog. Welcome to the ADO team Haley!
An Interview with Cynthia Toy of The Fairies' Nest by Sy (Youngish)
(originally appeared on the ADO blog)
Please tell us about yourself. What is your name? Where do you live? What makes you tick?
My name is Cynthia Toy (Yes.. really. My parents named me after Cinderella but that's another story) and I live in Greensboro, North Carolina..right now a very hot and sticky spot. I'm mother to 3 young men, wife to an amazing and patient man, an avid gardener, devourer of books, believer in fairies, knitting enthusiast; and owner of 3 cats, 2 fish, and an ancient corgi...or maybe they own me. I'm not sure what makes me tick but I do talk to trees and crows so it must be something odd.
When did you start making dolls? Why did you start making dolls?
I grew up in a family where sewing was second nature. My maternal grandmother was a professional seamstress and my mom was always making or altering clothes for us...with 4 kids that sort of frugality was a necessity. So I learned to sew at my mother's side and made my first doll when I was 6, a simple cookie cutter shape with yarn hair that my sister and I started playing with before she was even finished. The poor thing never did get more of a face then one button eye.
Many years later when my sons were small I started making little dolls for them to play with; knights, kings, princesses...fairies. It was so much fun that I just couldn't quit. Later, I tried a few patterns by other doll makers, but I couldn't find a style that fit the dolls I saw in my head. It was after reading Suzanna Oroyan's wonderful book, Anatomy of a Doll, that I was inspired to develop my own designs. Making dolls lets all those characters that have been living in my head find their way into the world...good thing 'cause it gets crowded in there! It's been very much a process of trial and error, but it's certainly been fun along the way...and there's still so much to try and learn that I don't think it will ever become routine.
Who or what influences you? Inspires you?
I have always loved all things Fairy. As a child I spent hours reading the Andrew Lang fairy tale books and in the world around me I believed I saw the work of fairies everywhere. Dandelions in the spring grass were put there by fairies, the twisted roots of trees were fairy houses, and the frost patterns on the winter windows were obviously fairy work. To this day I find Nature to be one of the greatest inspirations for my art, there is nothing like a walk in the woods to bring out visions of fairies... and the occasional two headed rat. There are also many wonderful artists out there now whose works are very inspiring; Brian Froud and his wife, the amazing doll artist Amy Froud, are two of my all time favorites.
Tell us a little about your dolls and your process for making them. Materials, preliminary sketches, inspiration, etc.
Well I can't draw worth a hoot so my preliminary sketches are pretty much stick figures with lots of arrows, instructions, and squiggly lines that would be completely meaningless to most people. My materials are as natural as I can possibly find. I use cotton knit extensively as well as silk, wool, and other cotton fabrics and I mostly stuff my dolls with wool. Both my small and the larger dolls have a steel wire armature inside but the smaller ones are made from the inside out with no patterns so they are a bit different. I do use a small amount of poly fiberfill for difficult areas like hands, ankles, and knees and also use polymer clay in small amounts...though I've been switching to paper clay recently. Natural fibers like silk, cotton, and wool are not only better for our environment because they are renewable resources, but they are also lovely to look at and wonderful to touch!
Do you have a favorite doll? It can be handmade by you, handmade by someone else, or even (gasp) mass production.
Now this may be a seem silly, but remember I am a bookworm extrordinare, so I'd have to say that my favorite doll is probably Miss Hickory from the book of the same name. I adored this book as a child and I still love the thought of the tiny hickory nut doll living in a forest nest. I think she may be the inspiration for all my tiny dolls.
Besides making dolls, what do you do? Job, other creative pursuits, hobbies, etc.
I've been a stay at home mom raising my sons for the past 25 years, the youngest will graduate from High school next year and I will be out of a job! I am very big into gardening and spend most of the time that I'm not making dolls playing in the dirt.
What are some of your favorite: movies, books, websites, magazines, foods, tv shows? (Any or all!)
I love wine, roast duck, and chocolate, don't watch much TV or read many magazines, can listen to Alan Stivell's "Ys" over & over, and I LOVE to read. I devour books of all types but particularly history and fantasy. My favorite authors are too numerous to name but Guy Gavriel Kay, Patricia McKillip, Michelle Sagura West, Elizabeth Bear, Alice Hoffman, and JoAnne Harris are a few I always enjoy.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I live in the hot and sticky Southeastern US, in the middle of a city and I dream of living in the mountains where I could walk out my door and be quickly in the wild. I lived in a place like that as a child and I still miss it.
Where do you see yourself in one year? Five years? Ten years?
It's kind of hard to know what I'll do next, I have a tendency to go where my inspiration takes me and try to figure out the techniques I'll need along the way. I've wanted to do some fantasy beasts lately and I'm always trying to achieve a greater level of detail in my dolls. I'll probably end up combining the two in more mixed media type dolls.
This year's Traveling Doll Project is almost finished, with many of the dolls back with their original makers.
Dolls Crafter and Costuming magazine has published an eight-page layout of Bonnie Jones' fantasy pieces in their August 2010 issue which is now on newsstands. She also had a tutorial on mosaic bases included. Bonnie says, "This is probably one of the best interviews and articles done on my work recently."
Anna Zueva is a featured artist in the September Doll Collector magazine (which has recently changed its name from Contemporary Doll Collector). She is quoted in the magazine as saying, "As a child, I even wanted to become a fashion artist and dress real people. Now I dress my dolls and, have to say, I like it even more. My house is occupied with rags, tiestrings and beads. I just can't pass by a beautiful piece of cloth, even if I don't know how I will use it."