Meet the Artist…
|Name:||Floyd Bell (2006 ODACA Artist)|
|Address:||4572 Don Felipe Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90008
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Floyd Bell is a busy, successful wood doll maker. In April 2009, Floyd retired after 33 years of service teaching woodworking at Westchester High School in Los Angeles, CA.
It was during one of his woodworking classes in 1978 that his first attempt at doll making occurred - quite by accident. While trying to show his students that they could create objects of beauty from wood without spending much money, he carved his first doll. ‘I used a peg-jointed doll in McCall’s magazine as my subject matter,’ said Floyd. ‘The challenge was to create a sculpture from scraps of wood. It had to be beautiful and desirable, thus giving the creation value.’ He added that although some of his students were doubtful, others eagerly watched every step of the process.
Floyd is largely self-taught, although he did learn some of his woodcarving skills in college. His preferred medium is wood, but occasionally he works in polymer clay, porcelain. resin and even bronze.
He says he focuses upon the creation of ethnic and historical figures to portray strong black characters, real or imagined. His inspirations are drawn from pictures, photographs and his own imagination as he ‘strives to reflect the dignity and resolve of a people who have endured.’
Floyd produces approximately 12 dolls a year, with each taking from one to three weeks to complete. If the doll has a fabric body, as some occasionally do, that time factor is reduced. Floyd also carves miniature pieces, which also require less time to complete.
Although Floyd makes many of the cloth bodies, clothes and accessories needed to complete his dolls, he also collaborates with Charlotte Semple and other designers on their costuming. In addition to ODACA, Floyd is a member of UFDC, NIADA and IDMA.
In 1993, Floyd established the Floyd Bell Scholarship Fund to help deserving students pay the college expenses, with many noted doll artists contributing their work to be raffled off to raise funds.
Floyd has earned a multitude of major awards during his doll-making career, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Black Doll Festival. His dolls are housed in museums worldwide, including the Lourve in Paris; the Wanke Museum in Germany; the National Black Doll Museum in Ohio; the Philadelphia Doll Museum in Pennsylvania; and the White House Collection.