Making a three-dimensional creature from fabric is a creative challenge, but creating a person from fabric is perhaps even harder. We’re quick to judge the beauty of a doll. You have to get the proportions and the features just right to make an appealing fabric human, don’t you think?
When I come across an artist who can do it uniquely well, an artist who makes dolls like nothing I’ve seen before, it’s so exciting. I’m thrilled today to bring you four artists, all of them women, who are making creative, original fabric dolls that excite and inspire me. I think you’re going to love what they’re working on.
When Orlando, Florida-based artist Valentina Felce was a kid she would cut the hair off of her dolls and cover their skin in Sharpie tattoos. “That’s basically what I still love doing today!” she says. Valentina makes edgy dolls. They look urban and off-beat. She sews each one in white muslin and them and then paints and draws all over them so that they’re almost like illustrations come to life.
I love her series of famous figures. Here’s Van Gogh:
She’s done Frida Kahlo, Picasso, and Dali. Valentina has a unique take on doll-making and it’s one that I enjoy very much. Catch up with her on Facebook and treat yourself to one of the dolls available in her Etsy shop.
Paola Colombo is an Italian artist from Verona. She sees her sewing as a way to bring dimension to her drawings. She’s been blogging since 2010 and from the beginning she’s made wonderful plush faces. These are like portraits without frames, or maybe they’re like busts. Either way, they’re wonderfully expressive and they make me smile.
3. Evie Barrow
Evie Barrow is an Australian textile artist with a graphic design background. She does a terrific job creating boy dolls that are masculine and fun and always seem to remind me of particular people I know.
I love how each piece is so clearly handmade. Sometimes when we strive to make a professional product we forget how special it is to see the little stitches that make up an eyebrow. In fact, the evidence of the maker’s hand is why handmade dolls are so special and I see that in Evie Barrow’s work.
Nadya Sheremet is a Ukranian doll-maker who now lives in Russia. She beautifully incorporates embroidery into her dolls. Her work feels natural and relaxed, while being highly detailed.
Nadya’s dolls are a visual delight and I love the way she poses them in little narrative vignettes. She also makes embroidered ornaments that are tiny works of art. Her work is fresh and original and delightful. Nadya blogs in English and you can follow her here.
Perhaps some of these doll makers are new to you? I hope you find inspiration in their work. I certainly do!