Artist Spotlight Zoe Thomas Curious Boudoir Dolls

Artist Spotlight  Zoe Thomas Curious Boudoir Dolls

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT  ZOE THOMAS CURIOUS BOUDOIR DOLLS


Q. What kind of Art Dolls do you create?
A. I make one of a kind art dolls. My dolls have been described as Gothic, I think because often I use black and red fabrics. Or maybe because their faces look a little sad or thoughtful? It really depends on what’s inspiring me at the time, be it fairy tales, myths, Victorian circus, tattoos, conjoined twins or spider women. I really just love to create something unusual to entertain myself while I am making it!
Q.  Where did you learn to make dolls?
A.  My Grandma made reproduction, porcelain Victorian dolls. Then my Mum got hooked for a while. We had a shed with a kiln and shelves full body parts, wigs and jars of eyes. I found it enjoyably eerie, and although I never actually made one, I must have learnt without realising.
Q. Tell us a little about your first doll
A. The first doll I made was very large! About 4 feet! I wanted a doll to use for a series of paintings at the time. I remember so well the excitement of making her, and the strange feeling of her seemingly coming to life! I photographed her and then made paintings, it felt like a safe way to express my feelings and ideas without actually putting myself in the painting.
  
Q. How has your practice changed over time?
A. I used to make a lot of dolls with  fabric and painted faces, but have been using paper clay for about 5 years or so. It feels like I have come full circle with my art, from making dolls to photograph and paint. I stopped painting when I had my first child, and found doll making enjoyable and manageable in the limited time I had. I looked forward to one day painting again. But now that my children are at school and I have more time to create, I find that I am exploring my ideas more naturally through doll making and am bringing more elements into that. I am using more clay and paint in place of fabrics and hair and enjoying making doll sculptures that can hang on the wall.
Q.
What art do you most identify with?
A. I really love the new pop surrealism that I have discovered in the past few years. I am also inspired by classical renaissance art. But the two artists that I love and have had a direct influence on me are Paula Rego and Ana Maria Pacheco.
Q. Do you have a favorite doll that you have made?
A. My favourite is usually my most recent, or whatever I am working on. But I will choose my most recent twins, as I was really so happy with how their faces came out and it felt like a turning point for me.
Q. Where does your inspiration come from?
A. I have always been interested in dream symbols, fairy tales, myths and psychology.. I try to work intuitively and just have fun seeing what pops up!
Q. What are your favorite supplies to work with?
A. I think all artist will understand when I say I just love the feeling of getting a clay delivery! Oh, and new paints and paintbrushes!!
Q.
What is the most difficult aspect in your process?
A. Sometimes I find my favourite part, the face painting, is also the most difficult, because I want to get it just right! I usually paint at least four layers. If I find it becoming a struggle, I move onto a different aspect, or a different doll.
Q. Do have any doll artists that inspire you?
A. Scott Radke was the first doll maker to really inspire me, I love all of his work, but it is his earlier marionettes that really have my heart! I  love Klaudia Gaugier’s Horkadolls, but really there are so many amazing Doll Artists!
I live in a village just outside Cambridge, uk, with my Husband, two children and my cat.. after I drop my children off at school ,come home, make a cup of coffee and am grateful to spend most of the rest of my day  in the land of creation!
   
You can find Zoe and her marvelous dolls at:

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