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© 2019 Original Doll Artist Council of America

Esther Manso

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I think of art as an expression of my soul. I find inspiration in everything I see throughout my day. The process starts with a lot of research on the subject and many sleepless nights just thinking about the different stages and what the figure itself will finally look like at the end. Deep in my heart knowing this is senseless as when the figure is finally completed it looks nothing like what I envisioned from the start. It’s almost as though my soul wants to keep it secret. I know this and then again, I go through the motions each time.

I love how the figure will fight me each step of the way with a certain color of hair or fabric on a beautiful dress. We play together for days and I get so lost in this world feeling blessed that I can enter each time.

It is such a beautiful process and at the end, my soul surprises me once again with the different emotions I can portray in my dolls. Each has a story to tell and a secret that is divulged without words.

Esther was born in Cuba and immigrated to the US in 1962 as a child. Her background in art comes from her mother who worked for a photo studio manually retouching and enhancing negatives of photographs for the “Social” section of the newspaper back then.

Although Esther’s career was in the field of finances, she always found time for art, especially painting in oil. In 2010 due to a catastrophic illness which left her disabled she was forced to retire and move to a small town in Florida. It was there that Esther found her soul. Refusing to give up she began taking online classes in quilting, sewing and anything that would keep her busy. She first started making cloth dolls and then moved on to polymer clay. This medium allowed her to express her emotions and through these dolls her soul and body began to heal. Today, her wish is to be able to inspire people and to help preserve this beautiful form of art for generations to come.

Esther has received many prestigious awards such as Doll’s Magazine Industry’s Choice Award and the PDMAG Gold Award for four years in a row. She has also received IDTS Outstanding Artistry Awards. Her work has been published in several magazines; Art Dolls Quarterly, International Doll Artists Magazine, Dolls Magazine, Aforartistic and Pretty Toys. She is a member of the Professional Doll Makers Art Guild, International Art Doll Registry and Original Doll Artist Council of America. Esther attends various shows throughout the year. Esther has five grown children, many grandchildren and currently lives in Central Florida with her husband.