I often get asked the question: “Why do you make dolls?” I used to bristle a bit when I heard this. I think it’s because when people asked me this question I inevitably heard, “Why don’t you make real art?” I eventually got over myself. Now when I get asked this question it makes me happy because I recognize it as an opening to share my passion for my art and to educate people about what it means to be an artist who makes dolls. One of the things I love about doll making is that it requires that I draw from multiple skill sets to bring a doll into being. There is so much you get to do in doll making. During a recent stormy evening in Atlanta I was huddled in an interior room of my house with a flashlight flipping through back issues of doll magazines (my version of calm before the storm). I read this quote in an article by Ankie Daanen:
The basis of doll making is craftsmanship, but it goes beyond this. Dollmaking involves expression and recognizing emotions, along with high-quality craftsmanship and materials, Dollmaking is much more than just sculpture; it encompasses the viewers total impression and experience. A good doll stays in the memory!
I couldn’t agree more. I try to evoke emotion in all of my dolls. I want people who see my work to not think “cute” (ugh). Instead, my hope is that viewers of my work feel a deeper connection with themselves and to their own creativity when they interact with my pieces. I know I have made a good doll when it makes me laugh out loud. Apparently the laughter is contagious. For the last several weeks I have been working on a commission doll. She has made me laugh and cry in the process of creating her. Last night I looked and realized that she was smiling back at me. I had to name her Ayo which means joy.