I became a doll artist at an early age, probably 8 or 9. I have always felt that dolls have souls. My sister and I thought our dolls came to life at night and we would try to stay awake to experience their magic but we were never lucky enough. I loved any doll, no matter how ugly or life worn. I remember bringing a dirty, old doll home that I had found in the snow and nursing her back to life.
I grew up in Detroit Michigan but spent my happiest times with my grandmother in Mississippi where I was encouraged to create whatever I wanted no matter what medium. I made dolls out of coke bottles with hair of corn silk among other things. The last doll-making venture of my childhood was at 16 when I was told I had to grow up and think about going to nursing school. No art school for me, I needed something to fall back on. I have; however, been able to take art classes through the years and everything I have learned goes into the making of the dolls.
Doll making came back into my life about 15 years ago when I started with Cabbage Patch dolls. Then I discovered the Lenci dolls of Signora Elena di Scavini. These pressed felt beauties won my heart. I knew I had to work in cloth. Not just play dolls in cloth but realistic, collectable, art dolls. There is something quite organic about cloth. It breathes. Inspiration for my work comes from many areas. I can see a picture, or a person on the street. I can hear a phrase or a name. It might be from a T.V program or a play. Maybe a dream or a feeling. I prefer to create dolls that “say” something. I don’t like to do dolls that just stand there.
I love creating women and children. I will sometimes have an idea in my head that the doll does not share. I once made a doll, intended to be a bride. She hated being dressed in lace. She told me who she wanted to be and ended up becoming Hagar holding her son Ishmael. I find if I listen to the dolls they will tell me when the work is right. I am a Registered Nurse, married and have two children. My husband and I enjoyed the “empty nest” until our son moved back home.
My dolls have been shown in several doll shows. I am most proud of an exhibit I participated in with NIADA (National Institute of American Doll Artists) at the Chicago convention 2000. Hagar and Ishmael were nominated for Dolls of Excellence award for 2001 and are featured in Dolls of Color 2001 calendar. Kwanzaa Couple is featured in the book “Here Comes the Bride Dolls”.
I hope I never create the perfect doll. I will look for her forever. Each doll is a learning process. Each an instructor for the next