Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Playing with Dolls by Lynn Wartski
Sometime at the end of last year, I started sketching ideas for Hillborough Gallery of Arts’ January themed show “Artists in Wonderland”. I created two pieces for that show: “Blithe” is a joyous child figure wrought in copper, aluminum, and concrete, and “No Rag-doll” is a seated mixed media rag doll with a brass foil face, and pigtails created from a copper scouring pad.
I don’t know exactly where the line between playful figure sculpture and art doll is, but I’m pretty sure that I’ve crossed it. Figure pieces have always been part of my sculptural catalog, from a tiny dancer that came to rest within a mixed media painting of a fellow artist, to a life sized garden club president who stands sentry over flowers and shrubs.
The doll piece sparked a flurry of activity in my sketch book. I find that I enjoy working in extended series, sometimes playing with and exploring possibilities of an idea or subject theme for a year or more. This may be one of those cases, or perhaps it is a whole new direction for my art work, but it doesn’t seem to matter either way.
Working with the basic design I developed for the first doll (a wire skeleton covered with padding and fabric with a metal face), I have tweaked it a bit and a specific style is starting to emerge.
The faces of each subsequent doll were hand hammered out of 16 oz copper stock, which has allowed for greater shaping and depth to the features. I’ve experimented with the materials for the eyes using glass beads, flame enameling copper headed nails, and metal paper fasteners. The first stuffed hosiery head has been replaced with wooden balls or fabric covered foam. I am surprised that the quilter in my family (my Mother-in-Law, Maureen Wartski) searches out just the right fabrics in which to dress my pieces. (If you know quilters, they are always fabric collectors.)
To put it plainly, I play with dolls, and look forward to where they take me next.
Lynn’s show at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts begins May 28th and runs through June 23rd. The Opening is Friday, May 31st.
You can see more of Lynn’s work at her website.