Fellow Featured Artist: August 2015
"Don't ever let anyone tell you that magic doesn't exist, for it is always alive in your heart". Jeanne Fry, Contemporary Folk and Visionary Artist
Of course, I fell in love with her gorgeous and moving Spirit Dolls which she aptly calls, "Wisdom Keepers," that explore modalities in Cloth & Clay, Gourd & Clay, Painted Muslin, or All Clay sculptures. Her Wisdom Keepers Art Dolls Blog is a veritable treasure trove of inspiration, techniques and creativity that I've been feasting on for weeks.
Her other artistic endeavors include Original Paintings in acrylics and watercolors, Gourd Art, Sculpting, Mixed Media, and Assemblage AND, to add to all that creativity, she also works in tandem with her husband John at Conscious Art Studios.
With that impressive and, quite frankly, daunting biography, I didn't know whether she'd return my call or not. However, when I contacted her through Etsy, she immediately wrote me back and despite a very hectic schedule agreed to be featured and asked what I needed. I was going to conduct an interview but after reviewing all of the material she's made available I asked if I could simply use some quotes and images. I'm honored to present excerpts from her blog along with examples of her Wisdom Keeper Art Dolls.
"When I began creating the Art Dolls with Gourd & Clay, my creativity went wild...My senses evolved, feeling like the Cloth & Clay art dolls are symbolic of inward processes and soul work, while the Gourd and Clay art dolls are more reflective of our outward projections of being a woman."
But the creation of my Art Dolls is the most freeing form of art. The inspirations can come from anywhere; they can come from history, ancient culture, a found object, a skein of fabric, a glimpse of a woman and our phases of life.
Wherever the inspiration comes from, there is no predestined thought in mind. That raw fire is left to its own devices to become whatever it is meant to become. Sometimes they go in a much different direction than I would have thought...The more diverse they are in the creation, the more complex their artistic value.
No matter the materials or techniques used, this creative form is depicting figurative sculptures of our human identity, and can be a part of our history and culture as they have for centuries. My art dolls are called "Wisdom Keeper Art Dolls", and are created as an empowering form of art for women. They come with short stories that focus on reminding us who we are and being supportive in our personal growth. They are meant to bond us as women and celebrate our diversity."
"One of my greatest joys in the creating, is expressing myself through my Art Doll Miniatures. I call mine, "Wisdom Keeper Poppets", because they carry bundles of inspiration in each little Art Doll.
Each of these Art Dolls are based from cloth and clay. I hand-stitch each of them from batik, cotton, or one of the many fabrics I have collected over time. Their faces are crafted from Art Doll Clay, and then hand-painted with layers of acrylics, sealed with a satin or gloss finish.
Once I have stitched the body and attached the face, the possibilities are endless in how they evolve. I add hair using fleece, fibers, or silk mohair from alpaca or sheep that has been hand-dyed, or knitting yarns. Sometimes I even just bead their hair using seed beads.
Once she has formed, I begin embellishing her with lots of different seed beads, glass beads, clay beads, and beaded trim. I attach small metal charms, ribbon, organza, paper flowers, dried botanicals.....the list is endless. (This would account for the countless boxes, bins, and jars of embellishments that fill my studio)
For those that will be Ornaments, I sew a small leather loop on their back. Some have pin-backs so that they can be worn on a coat lapel, attached to a tote bag, or even to a curtain.
Many of my collectors carry them in or attached to their purse of tote bag, others hang them in their car or on their office wall."
I want to thank Jeanne for being a never-ending source of inspiration, hope and endless creativity!