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All Dolls Are Art 2015 is cancelled

I regret to announce that ADAA 2015 is cancelled.  ADAA is near and dear to me, and I sincerely want to make it successful.  Unfortunately, the Art Doll world is changing.  There are more opportunities to learn online.  Teachers and students make choices on where and how to engage and a three-day in person event is much less popular than it has been in the past.  The demographics for doll retreats are not encouraging either.  Fewer and fewer young people (and I count myself in that camp) are drawn to a retreat.

I will think hard on where to take ADAA next over the summer.  I hope to hear ideas from the Art Doll community.  What is it that you want and need as a Doll Artist?  Do you want variety? Do you want intensive, immersive instruction?  I want to hear your thoughts.

Finally, I want to express my appreciation and gratitude for all of the teachers and students who have blessed me by attending ADAA over the last 4 1/2 years.  I have made wonderful friends, met the friendliest and most creative people and have learned so very much from all of you.  There will be a new beginning and I’ll be sure to include all of you in the journey.

Happy creating,

Amy

AnLiNa Designs

Posted in ADAA News

ADAA 2015 Faculty Profile: Myriam Powell

I met Myriam through an ADAA 2013 Faculty member:  Michelle Lynch.  Myriam became a vendor at ADAA that year and her dolls were so eye-catching and had such a sweet but creepy aesthetic that we started talking about her becoming a teacher.  I have had the pleasure of seeing Myriam’s work more frequently as we are both Etsy shop owners and in the Austin area, so we cross paths at Etsy Local events.  This is Myriam’s second stint teaching at All Dolls Are Art.  This year, she teaches a 1-day cloth and paper clay class:  Lucy The Halloween Devil.

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Myriam introduces herself by telling me:

“Hi, my name is Myriam. I’m from Colombia, South America. I moved to the United States 17 years ago. Since I was a little girl I’ve always been surrounded by art and handmade. My mother and brother are artists, so I was always connected with art. I discovered art doll making and needle felting about 6 years ago and have been hooked ever since.  My work has been exhibited in E11even2 Gallery’s Halloween show in Cleveland Ohio.

I have been teaching for 2 years. I love seeing the student connect with his/her inner creativity. I think we all have the capability to create. We just need to let our imagination fly and lead us.”

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Hi Myriam, I know that you have had your work featured in Prims magazine, but how about you tell my readers what type of dolls you like to make and what drew you to this type of sculpture?

Myriam:  I was featured in Prims in 2014 and will be included in the Summer 2015 issue!  I was also published in Better Homes and Gardens 2013 and 2014 Holiday Crafts editions. 

I create Gothic art dolls with a touch of whimsical. I’m drawn to this by my love for Halloween, Gothic, Victorian and Steampunk art. I try to combine a little bit of everything in my creations. I’ve always been fascinated by the unknown and the dark side of things.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Congrats Myriam!  Tell me where you started your artistic journey and did you always want to be an artist?

Myriam:  I started my art doll journey here in Austin about 6 years ago. I started experimenting with paper clay and love it. I get excited when I find a cool fabric, a cool material, etc. I’m a pretty sensitive person. I always connect with emotions. I use those feelings to come up with my creations. Although my degree is in Business Administration I’m happier following this creative path.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Are you a full-time artist?

Myriam:  Yes, I’m a full time artist. I work from my home studio. I also opened an Etsy shop in 2011 where I sell much of my art.

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

Myriam:  I find my artistic inspiration in music, emotions, people, cool materials and life experiences. All my dolls in some way represent a special event in my life. I don’t keep a journal. It’s all in my head.

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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?

Myriam:  My process for starting a new piece usually comes with an idea either manifest by a cool material or feeling. I don’t know exactly how it’s going to turn out. It’s like puzzle pieces in my mind that start to come together as I work. As the doll starts taking on personality the other touches fall into place. Sometimes I make changes to the original idea to suit the doll’s esthetic needs.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Do you think you have a muse?  What happens if you ignore her?

Myriam:  I don’t have a muse per say, but music plays an important role when I’m creating my dolls. I strongly believe that music helps my creative process and opens my imagination.

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Describe a day in your studio when you have no other obligations.  How do you make time for your art?

Myriam:  A day in my studio starts around 8:00 a.m. I organize my day by customer orders or a project I’m working on. Depending on how much work I have, I start sculpting, selecting colors, fabrics, laces etc. and then take and edit pictures to show my work in progress on my business Facebook page. My Facebook page allows me to promote my work and connect to fans. I work until 3:00 p.m. then break to pick up my kids from school.

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It’s hard to create when I have other obligations that need my attention. It’s important to find a balance between family and your work. I noticed when I’m overwhelmed with my other responsibilities my creativity fades away. It doesn’t flow easily and I don’t enjoy the process much. The key is to find balance then it all falls into place.

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Balance is one of the hardest things for me.  Describe an idea that you have that is yet to be born.  What is keeping you from starting?

Myriam:  I would like to submit my work to more galleries and be part of more art shows. I haven’t been able to pursue this due to lack of time and my family commitments.

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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?

Myriam:  I don’t participate in a regular face to face art gathering but I have been able to meet wonderful doll artists through art shows and Facebook media. I would love to find one someday, but right now it is a bit complicated because I have young kids and they require a lot of my time.

My advice to people who want to find/start a group is to pursue it if they have time. It’s a great way to relate to, and learn from other artists, and also find support. If time is an issue for some people like it is for me, there are a lot groups online and in FB to join.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Myriam, thanks so much for taking the time to share your journey with me!

Myriam is teaching the 1-day class Lucy the Halloween Devil at All Dolls Are Art 2015.  You can find more information by accessing her page in the workshops section of the site.

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Posted in ADAA Faculty

ADAA 2015 Faculty Profile: Donna Moore

Donna Moore is a very talented sculptor who works primarily in clay but has dabbled in gourds as well.  This is not Donna’s first ADAA!  She has attended the previous retreats as a student, but this will be her first stint teaching at the retreat.  Donna is teaching a fantastic 2-day class:  Basic Santos Cage Dolls.  I’m super excited to have Donna teaching this class at ADAA this year.

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Donna has been a doll maker for the past 18 years. She started by taking classes to learn to make porcelain dolls which she also collected. That pursuit led her to Marilynn Huston, who was exhibiting her Native American and Old World Santas at a doll show in Austin.

Donna says of that first experience with Marilynn’s dolls:

“I was so intrigued by what she was doing with polymer clay that I signed up to take one of her classes. She was so inspirational and from that point forward, I fell in love with the one of a kind art doll in polymer clay.“

There were several “followers” of Marilynn Huston that shared a common interest in sculpting dolls in polymer clay.  They formed the Central Texas Art Doll Sculptors (CTADS) in 1998, where Donna has been a member and doll maker ever since. Donna has exhibit her dolls in galleries in Austin, Georgetown and Salado, Texas as well as exhibits at the Kansas City Doll Expo and at All Dolls Are Art!  Her work has been published in Dolls Magazine and Contemporary Doll Collector.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Hi Donna, please share with ADAA readers what kind of dolls you create.  What draws you to this type of sculpture?

Donna:  I have sculpted dolls primarily from polymer clay. I began with Super Sculpey and went on to find that I liked working with ProSculpt. I liked the way it appeared after it was baked. Recently I have started using paper clay and have really enjoyed working with it. The Santos Dolls I have been doing are in paper clay. My sculpting has included caricatures, realistic as well as fantasy characters. When I first started I did a lot of fairies and went on to make and sell numerous Old World Santas. Our doll club has a doll-in-a-year challenge annually. We come up with a theme, which gives us the opportunity to do different things and work outside of our comfort zone. I have enjoyed doing all types of dolls and learning new techniques. I have not done anything miniature and do not know if that is something I would enjoy, but I guess it could be worth a try. Recently I have been adding elements of mixed media and found objects into my work. I would love to try a piece made entirely of stuff I find in a junk store or antique mall.

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

Donna:  I have always had art in my life. I was lucky to have grown up with artistic family members and friends. I remember taking art beginning in elementary and junior high school, expanded my endeavors in high school and college. My first head sculpt was done with a wax and sawdust mixture poured into a milk carton. It was strictly carving the wax, but was the most fun I had in that high school class. I took sculpting with clay in college, but mostly constructed bowls, cups, plates and vases. I enjoyed the class, but remember the bulk of the clay, the wetness, the mess and the equipment that could only use while in the class. I have always had exposure to art of some form in my life. Art is just something automatic, like reading, eating or breathing.

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

Donna:  Up until two years ago I did work in the business world outside of the art world. I was an employee benefits specialist for 25 years. It was a very stressful job as I worked in public education where we had a huge employee turnover yearly. Some days were extremely draining and stressful, but I found if I could always be working on something artistic, that it helped to relieve some of the stress. I would find myself working on my doll sculpting way into the wee hours of the morning, which made life difficult at work the following day. Luckily, I was fortunate to be able to retire two years ago and can basically create all day long. I enrolled in oil painting classes and have been able to attend several workshops in the area (Art-Xscape and Living Felt) where I did some mixed media and needle felting work. I love to decorate my home, work in the yard, keep my studio somewhat clean, cook and play with my dog. My husband and I also enjoy going out for dinner and seeing movies as well as travel in our RV. I find when we do travel, there is always something interesting to see and I find my mind opening up to lots of ideas. Funny what sitting alone in a chair next to a creek or stream can do to open your mind.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  I can totally relate to art saving your sanity from the stressful day job!  Where do you find artistic inspiration?  Do you keep an idea book or journal?

Donna:  Artistic inspiration can be found anywhere. I get inspired when I travel and look at new things, places and people; I get inspiration from reading books and magazines, visiting museums, shops, looking at fabrics and trims, even visiting junk/antique stores. I spend way too much time on Pinterest, looking at EVERYTHING and wanting to take each tutorial out there. I am inspired by the other members of our art doll club. We have very talented members who I admire and enjoy learning from.

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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?

Donna:  I never know when an idea may hit me. When it does, I do try to jot the idea down as I do tend to forget sometimes. Generally I don’t sketch anything out ahead of time. I like to lay out all of my fabric and trim, find the right items for the doll I am doing. That gets me in the mood for that project. I then decide the size of the doll I will do and the way the doll will be positioned. I work on the wire armature first, then I begin the sculpting of the head, arms, legs, hands and feet. Sometimes the doll just creates itself. As I go, I may take the piece in an entirely different direction than how I initially envisioned it. That is the MAGIC part! That is the part that I love. I do create somewhat of a mess in this process, but it seems to work for me. I enjoy and need the freedom to be able to just go with it. I saw a tee shirt the other day that kind of sums it up with the saying, “I am an Artist. That means that I live in a crazy fantasy world with unrealistic expectations. Thank you for understanding.”

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  I saw that tee-shirt too!  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?

Donna:  I don’t know if I have a muse, but I get inspiration from all things around me and the people who keep me challenged to do better.

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

Donna:  A day in my studio is a perfect day! I turn on my favorite music, gather my supplies around me. My buddy Oscar is at my feet under my work table. I do try to get things in order in my home and love to throw something great in the crock pot so I can be free to work and don’t have to stop when I am on a roll. I do try to get up and move every thirty minutes or so to stretch my legs. Sitting at a desk job for so long did a number on me. I do have a tendency to get so mesmerized that the day goes by before I know it and I lose track of time.

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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?

Donna:  I want to do a doll that is entirely needle-felted. I am still watching tutorials and have an idea in mind, just have not taken the leap.

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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?

Donna:  I have been a member of a Central Texas Art Doll Sculptors since 1998. We meet on a monthly basis where we demonstrate techniques, share ideas, encourage one another and have fun. If there is not a club in your area, just start by finding others who are also interested, regardless of their skill level, share ideas and work together when you can. Set up a table or booth at a doll show or local craft show to pass out information on your group. Word gets around.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  What is your favorite part of teaching?

Donna:  I’ve only taught one other workshop and it was our club’s annual weekend retreat. I enjoyed the experience and those in attendance expressed their enjoyment as well. I enjoy the pre-work and putting all the supply kits together. It is so much fun to have everyone start out with the same basic supplies, but all come up with their own unique and individual creations. We all work to help each other, critique each other and it is amazing that someone always has in their stash something that absolutely makes someone else’s doll. We are a very sharing group of ladies. I love seeing everyone’s ideas come to life and how happy they are with what they have created.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Thanks so much Donna! 

If you would like to investigate Donna’s class, please visit her page in the Workshops section.  She is teaching the 2-day Basic Santos Cage Doll class.

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Posted in ADAA Faculty

ADAA 2015 Faculty Profile: Paula McGee

I first discovered Paula’s dolls on Face Book.  Her pieces have a distinctive, detailed and ornate style.  I reached out to her and asked her if she would submit to teach at ADAA 2015 and was thrilled when she accepted!  Her work is available for sale in her Etsy shop and 2 real-world galleries:  Fantasy and Stone Gallery in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and Gallery 307 in Russellville, Arkansas.  Her work has also been featured in Art Doll Quarterly, Soft Dolls & Animals and Doll Collector. 

Paula is teaching two 1-day cloth classes for all skill levels at ADAA 2015:  Razzberry Blue Garden Elf and MerFairy.

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Paula introduces herself this way: 

Hi there, I’m Paula McGee. My handsome beast and I live in an itty bitty house in Dover Arkansas (an itty bitty town) AND also in an even smaller home, on 18 wheels! A big rig I’ve named Big Red Beaulah. Hubs is a truck driver and I’m a doll maker. I love doll making so much and my husband is so supportive of me doing it that he makes room for me to bring a little bit of studio with me on the road.
I made my “Mobile Art Studio” out of a thrift store find of a sturdy old black suitcase. Of course I painted it bright colors and stuck some pretty trim on it! It holds everything I would need for a week on the road, three shoebox sized plastic boxes and a box of embroidery flosses, beads and a lot of presewn body parts!

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Hi Paula!  Let’s start by you telling me what kind of dolls you create and what draws you to this type of sculpture. Do you focus on realism, fantasy, caricatures or some other type of figure?

Paula:  I mainly make cloth soft sculpture because this medium has always fit into my life. I can take it with me wherever i go. I love using natural and luxurious fabrics. I draw and paint stylized faces on my figures and dress them to the last detail mainly because I am influenced by, and always have been, my collection of exquisitely illustrated fairytales and storybooks and mother goose nursery rhymes…. I’m certain even my dreams are stylized! 

I love folklore as well, it tends to be a bit more creepy than storybooks for children and someday I want to get more into that theme. With creepy witches and the pretty ones too, Shakespearian tempests and ghosts and other characters draw me in as well.  As for what type of figure I focus on, it’s always fantasy with me… everyone should have wings and pointy ears!

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

Paula:  I’ve sewn and created as long as i remember. I always made things I wanted to wear because I couldn’t afford the ready-made prices as a teen. I made dolls and toys for my children then I found that premiere issue of Soft Dolls & Animals which got me thinking a whole new way and I began designing.

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Are you a full time artist or do you have a day job?  If you are a full-time artist, when did you make the leap?

Paula:  Full time artist (unless you count that my husband is also a full time job, LOL) I’m kidding! We’ve only been married 5 years and between the two of us, we have 6 kids!

I’ve always, usually been self employed with jobs mixed in here and there when i needed a regular paycheck. I’ve been a sous chef, deli girl, small grocery store clerk, a tailor, and seamstress for a local university theater production. I owned my own custom sewing and alterations shop for a few years but just closed that last year. It was very successful but good steady help is so hard to find. I dreamt of designing new art dolls but was just so overwhelmed with clothing alterations and stress that my health was becoming a problem. I needed rest and art dolls had to get born! My hubs took up truck driving again and after it was safe for us i closed the shop and got our last child graduated from high school… Now we’re almost free spirits!

I’m back into the swing of being doll maker, designer and teacher again! I go on the road with the handsome beast and love taking my work with me, though I still need to get a few things to make the business run smoothly.  Such as rogue pirate internet WiFi service… LOL! Soon my pretties, soon it will be perfect!

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Where do you find artistic inspiration?  Do you keep a journal?

Paula:  My mind is never still, ideas all the time! I find inspiration in everything, in people, in nature, in my children (who all happen to be various ages of 20 something’s). I keep sketchbooks everywhere and always have one with me. Except for occasions when I resort to drawing on a napkin.

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

Paula:  Hmm, my process… because I work in one main genre, fantasy, its easier for me now than in my beginnings…. when I couldn’t focus on one theme because i wanted to do too many!

Recently in my process I work on several dolls of the same size and style at a time. Changing details and little things about each one such as thinness/thickness of body and limbs, leg length and such so they look like a little family or tribe of fairies or brownies. I only do this with the very small dolls.

When i begin a larger doll (18 -43 inches), I will begin with some costume research OR research a fairytale character OR an object such as a ship. And incorporate that ship into the doll at some point. I’m loving Marie Antoinette at the moment because I’m creating a scene in the hairstyle.

I don’t know how the doll will turn out before I start.  The doll usually takes on her own personality. And i love to create and build everything for each doll. I make little custom chairs, stands, and even the tiny wooden houses, ships, and bird nests for their “head-scapes”.

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Do you believe you have a muse?  If so, how does she express herself?  What happens if you ignore her?

Paula:  I’m not certain I have a muse but I love that whole theory! I have recently begun meditating, sort of…. and taking better care of myself. Wait, I’m getting to the muse part… Meditation helps me to ignore stress and when this happens my art thoughts seem to flow more steadily. Instead of too many ideas all the time I’m actually able to focus on fun glittery projects and how i want or need to get them accomplished….

Just through writing this answer I can see my little bright sparkling muse sitting atop my frizzy curly bun of a hair-do… I shall name her Sting!
I imagine without “Sting” around stress comes back…. yuck. And now the answer to “do I believe I have a muse?” Is “yes” I believe i have one now, LOL!

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Describe a day in your studio when you have no other obligations. How do you find time to create when you do have other obligations?

Paula:  I look forward to days when I have hours to myself… Create! Create! Create!
I have boycotted housework (as my family does the same to pursue better activities). So too am I on a quest for more art time. Besides, I want to be remembered for that awesomely colorful fairyful studio… Not for having a spotless house, wink wink…

OOAK - Vintage Wedding Lace Valentine Mouse - Miss Mousey - Sculpted Cloth Art Doll - Magical Fairy Fantasy - Paula McGee paulasdollhouse

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  You are making me giggle, as I just spent half of my winter vacation from my day job purging parts of my house, including my paint studio.  Describe an idea that you have that has yet to be born.

Paula:  Picking just one idea? To talk about? There are so many in my head, maybe that’s the problem!  I do have a new one that I work on, then put away, then work on when I get more thoughts about her. She’s very detailed and jointed at ankles knees hips. And of course she will need arms, so i just work on her as the ideas come to me. Sometimes it’s not all there for me to grasp right away.


Plus i have three big boxes of files of dolls I’ve made. I work on making those patterns  available (but i very much dislike the instruction process) as i can get to them. Maybe I’ll write a pattern book!

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

Paula:  I don’t. But i do have several artist friends (painters, writers, sculptors and art instructors), and we do like getting out of our studios to air and have coffee together. It’s a fun way to see creativity through a different perspective.

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  What is your favorite part of teaching?

Paula:  Sharing with those who love the art of the doll, smiling and having fun and always learning from each other!

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Thanks so much Paula! 

Paula is teaching two 1-day cloth classes at ADAA 2015:  Razzberry Blue – Garden Elf and MerFairy.  You can see more details about both classes by selecting Paula’s page from the Workshops menu.

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Posted in ADAA Faculty

ADAA 2015 Faculty Profile: Joyce Cloutman

Joyce and I are members of the same doll club, The Central Texas Art Doll Sculptors, and I’ve admired her whimsical, “twinkle-in-her-eye” ornery style from the beginning.  The first ADAA in 2011, I pressured Joyce to put some of her pieces into our Show and Tell and I oohed and awed over her miniature Halloween witch that was anything but witchy.  Much to my surprise, Joyce gifted me her creation at the end of the event and it’s now a prized part of my October decorations.

Joyce is teaching two 1-day classes at ADAA 2015:  Fireclipper Shrine and Stars in Her Eyes.  Both are polymer clay classes with a bit extra!

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When asked to introduce herself, Joyce states:

“I’m a wife, mother, grandmother, and creator of whimsical fantasy beings.  My family is my heart and a huge source of encouragement and support for my artistic passion which is primarily sculpting.  I feel very fortunate to have found and become a part of several polymer clay guilds and CTADS (Central Texas Art Doll Sculptors), a club of talented artists. In fact, my first teaching experience was an elf workshop for the North Texas Polymer Clay Guild, and I have had the honor of teaching and demoing at the other guilds.  Last year, one of the guilds I belong to, The International Polymer Clay Association, held a contest. I entered in the sculpting section and one of my woodland elves won 1st place!  An international contest!!! I’m still a little stunned.”

I am not the least surprised by Joyce’s accomplishments! 

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Describe 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?

Joyce:  I will try to sculpt about anything but I’m really drawn to whimsical fantasy characters such as elves, dragons. pixies and angels. Creating a little unknown being is such fun because they can be whatever floats through your imagination. Purple elves, pink dragons, farming pixies or snails with butterfly wings!  The pool of ideas are endless.  On a side note, I have tried to make edgy, dark art dolls and they always turn out whimsical and lighthearted so I’ve learned that’s just not where my heart lies.

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

Joyce:  I can’t remember a time when creating hasn’t been a part of my life.  As a small child I wove pine needles into mats, dug clay out of the ground for sculpting my first heads.   They dried in the sun and my kiln was a big flat rock. I’ve never run across an object that could not be turned into a craft/ art supply or tool. Did you know a couple of pencils make great knitting needles in a pinch? Years ago when I taught tole and decorative painting, my family would tease me and say, “Don’t leave anything in her reach.”, because it would end up painted. The sad part is – they were speaking the truth.   They still have to watch their stuff!  Don’t you just love mixed-media? 

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

Joyce:  If by full time job ,you mean having the freedom to sculpt whenever the inspiration hits, well then, I’m full time. I’m also a full time grandmother of three of the most delightful,  imaginative, inspirational kiddos I know. They pose for me, entertain me with their magical interpretive dancing and the plays they write and perform are mind boggling … no really, your mind is boggled after one of their plays but in a very good way. So both of my full time jobs go hand in hand.  The grands provide ongoing inspiration with their unabashed glee and cuteness overload.

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

Joyce:  For me, ideas and inspiration are everywhere – nature, words, colors and quotes.   In fact, one of my classes this year was inspired by a little saying “she has stars in her eyes”.  I try to keep a sketch book with me so I can get an idea recorded before it drifts  way. Sometimes the ideas are just words on the page, other times it’s an elaborate  sketch. I have several books now filled with ideas.  It’s fun to look back through them and see how many sketches I’ve sculpted. The sketch books also helps when I’m stuck because leafing through them always sparks my imagination and gets me back to work.

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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?

Joyce:  Sometimes I just grab a wad of clay and go for it.  Other times the idea comes from a detailed sketch mapping out each step. I start a project usually following a sketch or have an idea in my head.  Sometimes the little being comes out just as planned – other times they take on a life of their own and boss me around until they come out the way they want. Either way it’s always a hoot!

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

Joyce:  I am blessed that I have a creative space knowing that I can walk out and close the door. For me the door is very important.   When I get tired or stuck, I can walk away from the mess and not have to clean up and put things away. Then, when rested or the mood hits, I can walk through that door and pick up right where I left off.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  My studio space has a door, but it has a LOT of paper hanging off of it on pants hangers so I can’t close it!  Describe an idea that you have that is yet to be born.  What is keeping you from starting?

Joyce:  Time! I have more ideas than I could ever make in this lifetime. I’m not a fast sculptor – that’s just not me. I work best when I take on one project at a time and work on it till I feel it is complete.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  What is your favorite part of teaching?

Joyce:  Sharing creativity is so important for … wait for it …. more creativity. I enjoy the whole process of teaching and learn so much each time I have the opportunity. I try my best to come up with a piece that can be made differently from the original.  This allows the students to go home and make another one and really make it their own. Then at the end of class it’s always a treat to see everyone’s dolls all lined up and see each person’s personality shine through.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Joyce, thanks so much for sharing with us at ADAA again this year!  I can’t wait to see what your students come up with in your class.

Joyce is teaching two 1-day polymer clay + mixed media classes at ADAA 2015:  Fireclipper Shrine and Stars in Her Eyes.  See the supply lists and class descriptions on Joyce’s page under Workshops.

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ADAA 2015 Faculty Profile: Kat Lees

I first ran across Kat on Face Book when I joined the Cloth Doll Artistry group.  Kat is a prolific artist and the part owner and moderator, along with her friend Connie Johnson, of the online doll club Cloth Doll Artistry.  Through this club, Kat and Connie offer regular challenges  and encouragement to cloth doll artists of different types and skill levels.  Kat has been teaching online for years, and I’m pleased that she is taking the plunge into in-person teaching at ADAA 2015!  Kat is a member of ODACA and the International Art Doll Registry.  Her work has been published in “Soft Dolls and Animals” and “Australian Dolls and Bears”.  Her work has previously been exhibited in Virginia and now is viewable through her website and the CDA group on Face Book.

Kat is teaching all three days at ADAA, with a 1-day class, The Pumpkin Coach, that can be combined with her 2-day class, Halloween Witch and Stanley the Cat.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Hi Kat!  Describe for 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?

Kat:  I started creating about 35 years ago, during the cabbage patch craze, when I couldn’t get a doll for my daughter, so I took a class and made one.  Then I made 100’s for quite a few years.  That began my doll journey! 

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I wanted to be a cartoonist growing up, but it wasn’t in the cards.  My love for this style shows in my earlier work.  I enjoy creating fantasy and whimsy dolls because there are no limitations.  I started working my way into the clay world the past 13 years or so.  At this point, my clay of choice is paper clay.  I cannot make friends with polymer clay to save my life!

I am very inspired by glitzy, blingy, theater costume type styles and would like to do more of that in the future.  My strong points are portraiture, embellishment, and details no matter the style.

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

Kat:  As I mentioned, my daughter wanted a cabbage patch doll.  I had always played with paper dolls, made houses, etc.  My two passions are painting and interior design.  I have been drawing from comics since grade school!  Even though I didn’t get to art school, I didn’t let the dream die.  I have succeeded in using my talent in my doll making.  I have always known I wanted to be an artist, but at the same time have been a creative DIYer!

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

Kat:  I am full-time when life doesn’t get in the way.  I was full-time in-between jobs, but I have been a full time artist, oh, for about the last 12 years, I would say.

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

Kat:  Everywhere! Going out to dinner, lunch, people-watching, television, plays, toys… especially toys for me!  From artists’ works I admire and will never do.  So many things can trigger an idea.  My biggest and best come from just brainstorming with someone – pure magic!  I keep several notebooks and sketch pads going at the same time.

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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?

Kat:  It depends on what it is, if it’s for a challenge then the subject matter is decided ahead of time.  I get an idea, but creativity lends itself to letting my pieces evolve.   I have to say I never know how the piece will turn out, but I sure do have a lot of lucky finishes! 

If I am developing a pattern or online class, then my mind goes in a completely different direction.  In this case, I’m teaching technique, design and encouragement.

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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?

Kat:  I’m not sure I would say I have a muse.  If I do, it’s brainstorming with someone.  The ideas just flow, the triggers that touch a note of inspiration are amazing.  I absolutely love doing graphics, logos, cards, invitations, etc.  Just give me one word or an idea and I can run with it completely… things just pop into my head.

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

Kat:  A day in the studio without obligations is gold.  As I have aged, I am finding I do not want to multi-task, I want to do one thing at a time.  So, If I am in the studio, I do nothing else… no interruptions, thank you very much!  I am not a fast worker.  I do admire fellow artists who just crank out 3 and 4 pieces a week.  I spend too much time on the details, love the details.  If I have other obligations, then very little gets done if anything.

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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?

Kat:  For 13 years now, I have wanted to do this piece in my head I call “Mommy, can I keep him?”.  I love giraffes, and in a dream, this piece came to me.  A little girl sitting on a baby giraffe, hugging him around his long neck.  I can see this piece so clearly.  What is keeping me from beginning?  I had to give myself time to learn how to create an animal the way I see it.  I needed to grow in skills.

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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?

Kat:  I belonged to a fantastic doll club, “The Stitchin Sister” up until two years ago with Rose (Kat is friends with Rose Portman, another of our ADAA 2015 teachers).  This was a very active club which was so fantastic for 8 years.  After our friend passed on, the club folded.

Now a local United Federated Doll Club I attend at times.  I used to collect, now I collect only very special pieces from fellow artists.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  What advice would you give someone thinking of trying to start up or find such a group.

Kat:  I would say go for it, just do it.  I was a leader of a club my friend and I started in Virginia for 10 years.  Here are some things to think about before starting:

  • IMPORTANT – LEARN TO DELEGATE RIGHT OUT OF THE STARTING GATE!
  • Decide what type of doll group you want ahead of time.
  • Take an ad out in the local newspaper, a blurb about the first meeting which includes:
    • The date and time you are having the meeting
    • The location
  • Pick a neutral place to have the meeting, we chose the local library
  • Be open to change of venue in the discussion as to what you want as a group.
  • Your first meeting will weed out the ones that are not serious right away.
  • The serious ladies that want your type of club will stay.
  • Decide if you want a formal club with dues or a relaxed club.  (Here in Florida, our dues were $60.00 a year and every year the club had a teacher come and members dues paid for the class.)
  • Decide if the club wants to include lunch.  Do you want to bring a bag lunch, or go out to eat or order in. This would be based on how long your meetings are held.
  • Decide on the frequency you are going to meet, once a month or more often.
  • Board members – even if it is an informal club, you need someone to take notes, if you collect dues, you needs someone trustworthy to do the banking.
  • Decide on programs, do you want to be active each month creating, or do you just want show and tell and a have a speaker or lecturer come.
  • It’s not hard to run a club, but it does need structure.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Thanks for being so thorough with that question Kat!  You have some great pointers.  My last question is:  What is your favorite part of teaching?

Kat:  It has to be my fellow artists.  I absolutely love people, everyone has a story to tell and it is so interesting.  I love watching the joy in the artist’s face when they achieve that finished doll in class!

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Thanks so much Kat!

Kat Lees is teaching The Pumpkin Coach and the Witch and Stanley the Cat.  These two classes can be taken together for a complete project or you can take one or the other.

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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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ADAA 2015 Faculty Profile: Michelle Lord

All Dolls Are Art is pleased to have Michelle Lord as a new to us teacher in 2015!  Michelle started making dolls after discovering a cloth doll book in 2006 and has had the pleasure of being first a student and then a mentee of Mary Tressler.  Michelle has taken what she has learned in her journey with Mary to create her own unique dolls, submitting them to and winning ribbons for them from the State Fair of Texas, and exhibiting them in gallery shows in Texas and Pennsylvania.  Michelle loves the creative outlet that art dolls and fabric provide her.  She feels at home because it is possible to keep adding layers until she achieves what she wants.  Michelle says “Fabric is very forgiving and you can do just about anything you want with it.”.

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Michelle is teaching The Gaudy Angel, a two-day cloth doll class for all skill levels. 

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Thanks for taking the time for this interview Michelle!  First, tell me what kind of dolls you create and what draws you to this type of sculpture?

Michelle:  Thanks Amy!  I do eclectic cloth dolls.  I enjoy being able to sculpt fabric with thread and stuffing. My dolls are fairly realistic, but are caricatures of interesting people I have seen on TV or movies, people I think it would be fun to be, or just the character the dolls decides she wants to be.

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

Michelle:  I was an artist when I was younger, but was told by an art teacher I had no talent, so stopped doing art until my 30s. I tried everything from painting, stained glass, ceramics, etc., but then in 2006 I found a book on cloth doll making and I was hooked. The next year I took a class with Mary Tressler and have been making dolls ever since. I loved how I could use several of the art techniques I enjoyed, sewing, painting, quilting, etc., to make one piece of art.

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

Michelle:  Watching movies and TV are great resources to find inspiration. I also have an art journal, but do not use it as much as I would like to. I also keep an idea book in my purse so when inspiration comes to me I can write it down before I forget, which it seems the older you get the less you remember…

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  I can certainly relate to that, but in my case, I call it work-related A.D.D.  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?

Michelle:  I normally have a pattern that I start with, but they never seem to turn out the same way. I have a way of getting started and then the doll tells me what she wants to wear or be, so then I have to make her happy. I have never been one that enjoys drawing a straight line.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Yes, I think many of us artists are color-outside-the-lines types.  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?

Michelle:  I believe everyone has a muse; we just don’t listen to them. There are times in which the ideas just flow but if I don’t listen then they stop until I give my muse some attention. A person just needs to take the time to figure out when their muse is speaking and then listen.

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

Michelle:  I pull out my different containers of lace, embellishments, fabrics, etc. and see what works or gives me inspiration. Once I have my materials out it is time to start working on the pattern, deciding which fabric for the body, and once that is decided it is time to sew. Most of the time though I have projects stacked up on my sewing table and end up working on those so I can get to the bottom of the stack.

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I keep a sketch pad and drawing materials next to my bed and in my purse I have a small travel art kit so I can draw, sketch, or work on projects at any time. If I know there is a project I am needing to work on I will work around my schedule to make sure I have time in the studio.

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  The sketch pad by your bed and in your purse is a brilliant idea!  Describe an idea that you have that is yet to be born.  What is keeping you from starting?

Michelle:  I have all sorts of ideas in my head, dolls I want to make, characters that need to come to fruition. One of the big reasons they are not started is I am trying to get to the bottom of the stack of WIPs.

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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?

Michelle:  I used to be part of a local doll club, but they disbanded several years ago. I have not found another one near me. I would love to be part of a group on my area, as I feel you need to have that interaction with others of like minds who understand what you are doing. Friends and loved ones try to show interest, but they don’t understand how the dolls talk to you, where the inspiration comes from, and what really goes on in that head of yours.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Yes, I completely agree!  Well, now for the last question!  What is your favorite part of teaching?

Michelle:  I must admit this is one of my first classes that I will be teaching in person. I have been teaching through the internet, how to books, and such for a while now. I know what I enjoyed best in classes I have been in is the interaction between teacher and students, the ability to help a student in person, let them watch over my shoulder, and the interaction.

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Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Thanks so much Michelle!  I’m very excited to have you at ADAA this year.  I know that you will enjoy yourself immensely!

For more information on Michelle’s class, The Gaudy Angel, access her page in the Workshops section of the website!

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ADAA Winter 2015 Swap: Paper Dolls

All Dolls Are Art is hosting a second online swap, this time featuring paper dolls.  Why paper dolls?  Because they are probably one of the first forms of art dolls that you saw as a child and were taught how to make.  There is a fantastic book on the subject, by Terry Taylor, titled “artful paper dolls, New Ways to Play with a Traditional Form”, if you would like some ideas!

The rules are pretty simple.  Design your very own paper doll and wardrobe. The doll and wardrobe should be no larger than two sheets of 8 1/2 x 11″ paper. You can use the traditional simple (ginger bread) shape, or can be as elaborate as you want! Once you have finalized your design, write your name, address and email address on both pages, and make 6 color copies. Keep one for yourself and mail 5 to AnLiNa Designs, PO Box 514, Round Rock, TX 78680-0514. Please mail no later than February 28th. Dolls will be swapped and mailed back out to you by March 16th. International participants are welcome to play!

Please note that by participating, your paper dolls will be published on the All Dolls Are Art Facebook page, here on the blog and will be featured in a future ADAA newsletter.

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ADAA: Your Art Doll Tribe

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It is quite chilly across North America this week as Winter settled in for a bit in Texas.  We tend to have mild winters to make up for our mind-bendingly hot and humid summers.  It’s a great time to be in your studio or art corner dreaming up art dolls!  ADAA provides you lots of opportunities to learn new techniques and stretch your wings a bit.

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I read the closing article in the most recent Sommerset Studio magazine about finding your Art Tribe.  The author described feeling isolated in her corner of the world until she attended an art retreat in Virginia Beach (Art and Soul).  There she met a group of like-minded people and they formed a group – she found her Art Tribe.  That’s what All Dolls Are Art is for me.  It’s my Art Doll Tribe. 

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I am lucky enough to belong to an art doll club here in Austin, the Central Texas Art Doll Sculptors.  We meet once a month during the year, with a retreat and a holiday party taking up 2 of our months.  We are a bit of an anarchic group, but we feed each other’s creative wells.  The majority of the group works in media that I don’t generally explore, as I work in media that they don’t care for, but we help each other grow.

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I started ADAA in 2011 to attempt to grow the Art Doll community by providing a time to get away from your daily life and stresses, to be with other similarly creative people to learn new techniques and to CREATE!  This year will be the fifth All Dolls Are Art and I hope, sincerely, that this tribe of people will continue to expand and that we can continue to explore the art form of the Art Doll in all it’s variations and possibilities together.  That is my wish for you and for ADAA as we enter 2015.

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