Monday, 15 April 2013

The Healer

I recently did a demo for the lovely members of the Montreal Polymer Clay Guild on basic armature and how it can be used for sculpting with polymer clay in various ways.  I have a love for sculpture and fairly recently delved into creating art dolls.

 I think many people have the wrong idea about art dolls and don't really give them a chance.  Often, images of barbies, cutesy characters, rag dolls, teddy bears, and other...well...dolls come to mind.  Most people don't think of them as a means of expressing feeling and emotion.  But this most certainly does not have to be the case, and IS not the case.  There are many wonderful artists out there using various materials to create some fantastic art dolls that truly move me emotionally (Neal Gwaltney comes to mind - Love, love LOVE his work). 

As an artist, I make two very distinct types of art dolls.  Some are whimsical characters that have an accompanying story.  I know when I've created one of these types of dolls because upon completion, and sometimes during creation, a name will come to mind and their story will begin to unravel in my brain about where they came from and what their personality is like.  Usually, when I start off making a doll, this is the type of doll I set out to make. 

Sometimes, as I begin creating, feelings will creep in and the clay in my hands will seem to have a life of it's own.  Instead of a cute, fantastical character, it will develop into something a bit more raw.  During these periods of creation, it's a form of therapy.  Emotions that I would have difficulty expressing in other ways are imbued into the clay, and communicated in a sculptural way.  To me, expressing these feelings in doll-form feels easier...safer.  Upon completion of one of these dolls, no name will come to mind so I give them a title instead.

One of my first of such dolls was "She's Contaminated".
 And, instead of a story, I felt she needed an explination:
"What were you thinking?

Such an odd statement used often with venom and sarcasm to cause one to second-guess their minds.

"She's Contaminated" represents that feeling that nothing you can do or say is right. Nothing comes out the way you planned. People keep looking at you out of the corners of their eyes, avoiding direct contatct at all costs.

It's that feeling of isolation when you just can't seem to connect to others...or others simply refuse to reach out and connect with you."
My latest of such dolls, "The Healer", pictured at the start of this post, is another case of my emotions taking over the creative process.  Over the past few years, our family, just like most families these days, has endured our loved ones having to face terrible things.  Diseases like cancer (some at a very young age), and the heartwrenching loss of an unborn child, to name a few.  Things that tear me up inside but that I don't want to talk about.  When I was done with the creation of The Healer, I just felt she helped me to deal with it.  She's carrying my feelings, displaying them in a window for people to see, but not touch.  While she may not be able to heal my loved ones, she can help me to heal.

So I guess the slant of today's post is to encourage others to see art dolls as another valid form of artistic expression and maybe even give it a try.  You may find a new and wonderful way to express yourself.

Stay tuned...

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