Studio Art 5

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Art Dolls

After searching for several years for ways to meld my studio work and my digital art work, in the year 2005 I began to find just the vehicles I need to accomplish the task. Art dolls and art paper dolls provide the necessary opportunities for wide open creativity in which I can utilize my studio skills as well as my computer art skills.

Art dolls are unique. They are not traditional baby dolls, fashion dolls nor necessarily beautiful exhibition and collectors' dolls. An art doll does not even have to have a human shape. They are not judged as more traditional dolls have been judged, although they require good craftsmanship and the use of the principles and elements of design just as a good painting does. The primary characteristic on which art dolls are judged is whether they evoke an emotional response in the viewer. Does the doll make you smile? Does it make you wonder? Does it make you feel sad? Does it make you uncomfortable? Does it cause you to ask a question? Do you love it or hate it on sight? Does it delight you for some reason? If so, it is an art doll!  The doll's purpose may be to elicit a response in the viewer, or it may be made just to express an idea, emotion or thought or whim of its creator. Similarly, art paper dolls are nothing like the traditional paper dolls one may be familiar with from childhood. They can be flat, three dimensional, rigid, have limbs that will move, have twigs added, or beads, or thread. but they should be made primarily of paper products such as paper clay, found paper, foil, fibers, even cloth can sometimes be added. Again, the principles and elements of design come into play and the opportunity for creativity is wide open. You can see some of my three dimensional art paper dolls on collages here. On the present gallery page I am displaying some of my art dolls and one art paper doll. Generally, I confine myself to art dolls made of fabric.

I design the dolls by sketching on the computer in Painter. I often draw the pattern for the doll in Painter and print it on paper to use in cutting out the fabric for the doll's body. Sometimes I use Painter to paint a face "from scratch" using a photographic reference or I modify an ancestor's face from an old photograph using Painter's many techniques. I print these on specially prepared fabric and adhere them to the doll's head. Another way I use the computer in making my dolls is to select a fractal that I have created, bring it into Painter and size it, add embellishments (such as a poem) and print it to fabric to make a one-of-a kind fabric from which I make the bodies of my line of fracTalisman dolls. Sometimes the dolls are stitched by hand, the beading designs if used are derived in the studio and are sewed on by hand. Almost anything can be used as embellishment, even printing pictures on fabric and adding the images to the doll's body. I hope you enjoy these dolls and that they inspire you to think of new ways to combine your digital and studio art.

Click on the thumbnails to see a larger image.

art doll

art doll

This art doll's face was digitally painted in Painter, printed on fabric
 and adhered to the doll's head.

Close view. I added a nose bead.

facTalisman doll

fracTalisman doll

The fabric from which this fracTalisman doll is made is a fractal image
modified and enhanced in Painter and printed to fabric, then embellished with beading..

Another doll made with fabric
printed from a fractal

fracTalisman doll

art doll

Another fracTalisman doll. These are dolls drawn from the rich history of healing, fetish, magic
or just-for-fun dolls that I gave the name fracTalisman to show the history and the fact
that the fabric is one-of-a-kind made from fractals that I have made on the computer. I make no claims
for these dolls, but I do give them to others occasionally as one would send a card to let the person know
he or she is in my thoughts for whatever reason.

This art doll has a face  taken from an
old photo of one of my ancestors and modified
in Painter, printed to fabric and adhered to the doll.

art doll

wrapped art doll

Art doll Crazy Alice has a story. She recalls an incident from my past
in which a neighbor hacked her hedges down with a hatchet because she was tired of
trimming them, earning herself the nickname of crazy Alice. I made her of a
remnant of an old crazy quilt found in my great grandparents' house, chose
a batik fabric of leaves to depict the decimated bushes, and deliberately
made her disproportionate to enforce the craziness of the concept. She
is a good example of the power of doll making, for as I created her and contemplated
the shredding, fragile cloth of the quilt fabric and her lost, confused expression,
the doll transformed herself into a symbol of a disintegrating personality, a totally different
concept than my original one. Surprisingly, she is often a favorite with viewers!

This is a simple doll made by wrapping batting and fabric and embellishments around a dowel. Fabric, beads, weavers yarn, wire, a molded paper clay face, threads and knitter's yarn were used in her

art dolls

dolls for Rainbow Room

Green Girl is an art doll made
from a pattern by Patty Culea. She sits on my living room mantle. To the right is
another example of a wrapped art doll. They can look like anything!

These are not art dolls. They are the first dolls
I ever made, earlier this year. They were donated to
our local temporary shelter for abused and neglected
children. Couldn't resist showing them, they are so sassy!

art paper doll

This is one example of a self-portrait
art paper doll. The design of her bodice
and the head were both done on the computer. Also included
are found objects and paste paper.
I call this "She Creates as She Likes and Lives Happy," a play on the
title of a book of Henry Miller's paintings  called Paint as you Like and Die Happy.
My interests are shown by the Painter Can, art brushes, and beading, fabric and needle and thread.


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Last Revised: July 17, 2005

Copyright 2001-2010 Rheba Kramer Mitchell. All rights reserved.