Last August, I was invited to participate in the Annual 100 Artists Show ( and auction)*at the Mary Lou Zeek Gallery in Salem ,Oregon. Each year a specific topic or idea is chosen and this year's theme is the Art of Communication. Each artist was paired up with another participant and given a piece of paper and envelope and asked to do two things: write a letter, word poem, whatever they wanted and send that to their partner and then use that letter as a starting off point for a new piece of artwork.
click images to enlarge
I was paired with artist Paula Joerling and received a letter that described, in great detail, a favorite memory of hers when she was a girl; an estate nearby where she lived that included a stone mansion, a lake with a swan and a tree that she would spend hours underneath, often imagining that she lived beneath this tree. As I read her letter I could picture this straight-out-of-a-fairytale place. I could hear the leaves of this tree rustling, I imagined running my hands through the smooth cool grass, and napping with a book nearby. What I tried to convey with my doll piece is how each of us has those experiences and special places that we can travel back to.. They are forever tied to our past and often our heart. But no matter how we describe them, no one can ever truly know what that was like for us. It's something that I find to be somewhat sad or melancholic and wonderful at the same time.
This year, all of the proceeds from the Auction will be going towards the Art of Communication Project that the Gallery will be putting together involving activity kits that reflect the exercise we just did in letterwriting and artwork. The kits will be available for teachers, after school clubs, senior citizen centers, and other various groups through out Oregon and beyond :) I already got ta sneak peek at some of the artwork and they are pretty amazing!
The doll's description is below and I will be back next week with another blog post and a link to the site's Silent Auction* . The show will be up from February 1st~ March 3rd I will also send out an email to those on my mailing list.
Paula is made of polymer clay and is 12" tall (all artwork in the show is 12" or less). She is painted with fine artists acrylics and coated with a matte finish that is UV protective. Her hair is made of black English Viscose, and she wears ivory silk cording in her hair. Her asymmetrical outfit is made up of vintage fabrics and lace andwas mostly stiched by hand in an intentionally patchwork shabby style with tattered edges. Though the fabric is aged, I also stained the back of her dress with coffee. Her stockings are made of an old linen like material and her shoes are made of black silk and, like the dress, both have been "treated" a little to give the look of the doll having been played with.
I printed Paula's letter, cut out parts of it and handstiched it throughout the muliple layers of skirt. On her bodice and back of her skirt are tiny handsewn glass beads.
Paula's legs are crossed and permanetly pinned together along with the suitcase to her hands (she also has a small pin from her left arm to the side of her torso. Her arms and legs are connected together with sterling silver wire and findings.
The traveling case is made of heavy cloth, balsa wood, and resin. Everything inside was handmade (except the bird). A smaller version of Paula stands by the tree holding onto red thread which circles the tree, goes through the ground and suitcase, wraps around her arms several times and ties to an embroidered heart on her bodice.
This doll is a hanging wall piece with a hook permanetly inserted into her back (partially hidden by her hair). Like my other dolls, she is very fragile and should be kept away from direct or indirect sunlight and up away from tiny hands or paws:)