Thanks to my good friend Manon,whose birthday gift to herself was a doll-making class this past October- I got to meet doll artist and teacher Lillian Alberti. Knowing my long-time interest in doll-making, Manon told me about the class at Boces and invited me to tag along with her and share in the experience. I am very grateful to Manon or I would have never met Lillian and learned about her accessibility via workshops.
Unfortunately, the class at Boces was only three Saturday mornings long and I had to travel out of the country (to Oaxaca, Mexico) during the very last session, so I was left to complete my doll on my own. As you will see I only got up to stage two with my class and teacher.
Nevertheless, meeting Lillian Alberti was SUPER inspiring and the two short classes I had were enough to ignite and unleash a pretty palpable creative firestorm inside me.
About Lillian, she graduated from Parsons School of Design with a BFA in Fashion Design, and worked extensively in the fashion industry as both a designer and illustrator, before beginning her venture into Art Dolls. She has a wonderful story of being so affected and lured into art doll-making by a moment in time when she passed by Van Craig sculptural dolls and his art in a Tiffany window display while walking around NYC. Now if you have never seen Van Craig work - you are in for a super treat and should click here: VAN CRAIG. Furthermore, like me, Lillian is a LATINA! So on so many levels she was her Van Craig to me!!
My mind was set from the beginning that my doll would be a sad, sullen girl - this I knew.
So check out my early stages and as my students told me all along the way the images can be freaky...
So having made dolls before and truly enjoying the spirit of allowing a narrative to develop between me, the process and the matter (which in this case of art-making is the doll), I allowed much to be developed intuitively as I went. I also based much of my artistic design choices on where my heart was at that moment.
So right around stage three (painting the doll) I decided (or she decided) that the surface treatment of an antique wooden puppet doll would suit her best and that she perhaps made her living in a Cirque du Soleil kind of way- performing for others and wearing a daily covering of clown make-up...and that maybe there had been a build up. As a former clown, she at one time or another had done a lot of smiling before everything went sour. The way I imagined that her life had come undone and gone black of course was in matters of the heart. And so I used some glazing and inks,stains, and shellac instead of paint to get the effect I wanted. I also couldn't help noticing that the tears were doing a real number on her makeup and that her current outward face was a fusion between that old life and this new one.SO COME BACK here this week to see the finished doll..she has been soul-gutted has had her heart ripped out (and is living somewhere else in another vessel of sorts) with only a clock works of time existing in her chest now...AND HELP ME NAME HER!!!!! I will be asking in the next blog post for help as you get to know and see her - I would love your ideas, comments and when I finally have it narrowed down to top five we will take a vote!! So I hope to see you back here!