ADAA 2015 Faculty Profile: Fran Parrigan-Meehan

I’ve known Fran for a long time and she has been a teacher at previous ADAA retreats.  Fran has such a warm, bubbly personality and is such a generous teacher!  She is a pattern designer, a teacher, and has been published all sorts of places, but I will let Fran introduce herself to you:

Hi, I’m Fran Parrigan-Meehan. I live in Wylie, Texas with my husband Ken who supports my Doll Creating 100%. We moved to Texas almost 3 years ago.  I am so dedicated to my doll creating. I have two studios in my house and I love working in both of them.

I have had my work published in Patti Medaris Culea’s “Creative Cloth Explorations” book, Soft Dolls & Animals, Doll Crafter & Costuming, Doll Crafter and Art Doll Quarterly. I had a doll that traveled overseas to Lithuania to be displayed in a Museum in Lithuania.  It was exciting to see pictures of my doll displayed in Lithuania Museum.  I was so proud.  I have displayed my dolls in various doll shows in the USA for many years. I was auxiliary member of ODACA and served as the auxiliary chair person for 3 years. I am founder of Las Vegas Silver Doll-ers Doll Club when I live in Nevada. The members have kept the Doll Club active in Las Vegas, NV.

Fran is teaching two mixed-media classes at ADAA 2015:  Believe and Dream and Blu Rose.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Hi again Fran!  To start, tell me what kind of dolls you create and what draws you to this type of sculpture?  Do you focus on realistic figures, fantasy figures, cartoons, caricatures or some other unique type of figure?

Fran:  I create cloth dolls and polymer clay dolls. I love the feel of the cloth, clay and other mediums I choose to work with.  I enjoy creating lots of different types of dolls.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Where did you start your artistic journey?  Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?

Fran: I starting making dolls when I was a little girl.  My Mama taught me how to cut out one piece dolls and sew them on the old Singer sewing machine she had.  She taught me how to do hand sewing also.  I always knew I wanted to create all types of dolls.

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Are you a full time artist or do you have a day job other than your art?

Fran:  I’m a full time artist.  I took that leap years ago when we lived in Las Vegas, NV.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Where do you find artistic inspiration?  Do you keep an idea book or journal?

Fran:  Where do you find artistic inspiration?  I find inspiration all around me, including in my head. I have lots of dolls in my head that want to be created.  Yes, I keep an idea journal.

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Describe your process for starting a new piece.  Do you know exactly how your pieces will turn out before you start sculpting/painting or do you allow your creation to develop as you work?

Fran:  I allow my creation to develop as I work.  I already have in my mind what my sculpt is going to look like whether I use cloth clay, wood or whatever medium I choose to work in is going to look like.  If it wants to go in a different direction while I am creating it…I Go For It.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Do you believe you have a muse?  If so, how does your muse express his/herself?  What happens when you attempt to ignore your muse?

Fran:  Yes, I have a muse.  She wants me to create whatever I’m working on the way I want it to look like.  If I try to ignore her, she keeps bugging me until I get my way or she gets her way.  I have had to change creations while working on them because of my muse.

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Describe a day in your studio, when you have no other obligations.

Fran:  I spend the day and sometimes the night working on whatever I’m creating at the time.  Sometimes I create more than one piece.  I stay up late sometimes working on a piece.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Describe an idea that you have that is yet to be born.  What is keeping you from starting?

Fran:  I have this little boy from the Victorian days wanting me to create him. He has been bugging me for a long time to create him.  I have his pattern ready but just never got to make him yet.  Seems something more interesting wins and he goes on the back burner.  I will get to him and create him soon.

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Do you participate in a regular art gathering, crit group, or other face to face meeting for the purpose of discussing your sculpture or creating it?

Fran:   NO! I haven’t found any doll groups here except porcelain and I’ve done that and don’t want to do porcelain anymore.   I do go to a get together once a year at Halloween.  It’s fun and it’s about an hour from me.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  And last, but not least: What is your favorite part of teaching?

Fran:  Listening to the students having fun creating their dolls.  Giving them help when needed.  Teaching the doll step by step and seeing and hearing the wonderful fun they had in class creating their doll.

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Thanks so much Fran!

Fran is teaching Dream and Believe and Blu Rose, a 1-day and a 2-day, mixed-media classes at ADAA 2015.

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