Thank you for taking the time to read about my artwork. I create one of a kind folk art dolls from cloth & clay. Each doll is designed and created entirely by me from conception to finished product, including clothing & all accessories. I design, sew, stuff, hand-sew, paint, photograph, package and market each & every piece. Each piece of art involves many hours of sewing, hand-stitching, tedious painting & needle-felting. The result is a beautiful heirloom to be treasured by family for years to come. My cloth dolls come signed, named, numbered & dated, with a Certificate of Authenticity. Because my dolls are OOAKs (original, one of a kinds), they will never be reproduced. Although I may do several dolls with a similar theme, each doll is unique & will not be duplicated.
“They look like wood!” “What are these made of?” I hear these statements quite often. I agree, many of my cloth dolls do appear to have been made from wood. They are not, however. They are made from high quality muslin fabric. The ‘wooden’ appearance is due to my painting process & the layers & layers of paint applied with light sanding between each layer. Although they appear to be wooden, a light touch reveals a softer, more supple texture, much like worn, broken-in leather.
“How long does is take you to make one?” This is a question I hear quite often, too. An average, standing 14″ doll takes 15-20 hours of hands-on time to create. This estimate doesn’t include drying time. This means that my hands are tinkering with your doll for at least 15-20 hours. Larger & more intricate dolls can require 30+ hours.
“Do you use a sewing machine?” I use a sewing machine to sew all the basic seams of my dolls & their clothing. I assemble each cloth doll by hand & sew much of the clothing by hand. I needle-sculpt many features of the dolls including the nose, lips & fingers. I hand-hem each skirt & try to incorporate visible hand-stitching or embroidery when possible. Being a quilt collector, I appreciate the beauty of hand-stitching & try my best to make my stitches even, small & beautiful. You’ll only find haphazard, chunky stitches when I’m trying to incorporate that look.
Many of my smaller dolls are made from a material called paperclay. Paperclay is an air-dry clay that doesn’ t have to be fired. All of my paperclay dolls are hand-sculpted without the use of molds. They are primed, sanded, hand-painted & sealed in a process similar to that of my cloth dolls.
Inspiration for my dolls comes from many sources—nature, the changing seasons, memories of growing up in Appalachia, vintage postcards, antiques, stories read as a child and the people and scenes surrounding me. I try to create pieces that elicit a smile, that make the viewer remember childhood for a moment or evoke pure, unadulterated joy, if only for a few seconds. When possible I reuse as many items as I can in my art and try to employ the ‘make-do’ attitude which is prevalent in this area and was instilled in me growing up as a young child in eastern Kentucky. I use vintage buttons, often stuff my doll torsos with rags (similar to the way dolls were made so long ago) and incorporate local found objects when suited to the work.
I take special pride in the quality & appearance of my artwork and strive to simply make the best folk art that I can make. Each piece in an original, one of a kind & will not be duplicated. I currently sell my artwork both online & locally. My folk art resides in the homes of collectors in 31 states and four countries.