time to make

30 December 2008

I love to make dolls.  Actually it’s more a compulsion than a “like.”  I am compelled to look at them.  I’m fascinated with the role they’ve long played in cultures everywhere, and the therapeutic benefits they can offer to the maker.  When I go to art galleries, I get hung up on ancient displays of figures, dolls and masks.  When I am participating in expressive arts activities, almost everything I produce is some sort of doll or puppet.  I love to make soft dolls for children as much as I love to make abstract dolls from collected materials. 

When I was a young girl and I loved to draw, I made portraits more than anything else.  Collages turn into dolls or masks.  I find faces in old pieces of driftwood, in the snow collected at the bus stop, in the morning reflection on the wall.  I’m not exactly sure where this compulsion comes from, but I think it has something to do with the idea of the ‘outside’ as a window on the ‘inside.’  Goodness knows I’m famous for wearing a mask over the ‘inside’ my entire life. 

I haven’t made a doll in more than a year, and recently decided to remedy this blip.  In my notebook I have been writing down ideas.  At home I’ve begun to collage dolls to generate ideas.  I have spent some time getting inspired by browsing the blogs and websites of doll and puppet artists.  And with each small step comes further inspiration and motivation, sometimes it seems out of nowhere.  Somewhere else on this website I wrote, “If you seek inspiration you’ll find it.”  I’ve most certainly learned that lesson again. 

I’m in a news shop and a Puppetry magazine I had never heard of pops out at me.  Carly finds a rag doll I had made a few years ago, thinking it looks like the little niece of her friend.  On receiving it, the [thrilled] friend agrees.   I’m looking for a new journal for my own niece for Christmas and the next shelf just happens to hold several new books on art dolls. 

And it all continues to snowball.  Each new idea spins off three more from that.  I see pictures of a gorgeous studio and all I can think of is myself there making dolls. 

Artist’s Way author Julia Cameron likes to talk about synchronicity:  if you take the smallest step in the direction of a dream, things start to happen to help you along the way.  Or maybe it’s just a heightened awareness.  Whatever – at this point, it all sort of feels like I’m doing what I should be doing, even if I have no idea where it will go.  In the meantime I think I’ll keep on daydreaming about that beautiful studio.

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