All Dolls Are Art 2013 Artist Interview: Lauren Vlcek

I met Lauren when she attended the first All Dolls Are Art in 2011 as an instructor and discovered in the course of working with her in the months leading up to ADAA 2011 that I knew her mother!  It is certainly a small world, and I’m extremely pleased to have Lauren back for ADAA 2013.  Lauren is teaching a 3-day class, “Tragedy Ann”, at ADAA 2013.  To learn more about her class or to sign up, visit www.alldollart.com.

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AnLiNa Designs:  Hi Lauren, please share a bit about your background and how you discovered dolls and sculpting.

Lauren:  Hi Amy!  I have been cloth doll making for many years. I followed my mom into it about 10 years ago and we have enjoyed it together. I grew up in a house exposed to art. My mom was a middle school art teacher during her early married life. My siblings and I had a corner in the basement dedicated to art supplies and projects.
My educational background is in design. I have a BS degree in urban design and landscape architecture; although it has been several years since I have practiced professionally.

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I am a sucker for a challenge and I have enjoyed entering doll shows and fine art exhibits. I have taken best of show in many of these including having a winning doll on the cover of Doll Crafter. I was honored to be asked to judge the Hoffman Challenge dolls a couple of years ago. It was a blast to see the behind the scenes process. I authored a book with 3 other women a few years ago, Fabric Embellishing the Basics and Beyond. We have enjoyed tremendous success with the book.  It has been through several printings and is now going global with its first international printing in French! I am in the very beginning steps of authoring a second book, solo this time. The book will be entirely about cloth doll making.

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AnLiNa Designs:  That’s really exciting Lauren!  What else have you been up to since ADAA 2011?

Lauren:  I had a unique opportunity recently that has been by far the most fun! I taped my own episode for The Quilt Show, www.thequiltshow.com. My episode will air in early March of 2013. I got to interact with industry icons, Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson. I also have a face drawing classroom that will be available on the TQS website in April 2013.
All those quilty people fell in love with cloth dolls!!

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AnLiNa Designs:  What is your favorite medium and why?

Lauren:  I simply love to sew! Fabric is by far my favorite medium. I love the ability to put together pieces of material in all kinds of ways.

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When stitching fabric in an art piece you never have to worry about “blank canvas syndrome”!

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When I do a 2 dimensional painting on canvas, I even add fabric to that!

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But, of course my true love is in the embellishments! I adore specialty threads, hand stitching and beads, glorious beads!

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I get pretty excited about ribbons too!

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AnLiNa Designs:  Have you made the transition to full time artist?  Are you selling your work anywhere?

Lauren:  I teach online and have some of my work in my Etsy shop.  I recently completed an online embellishments class on the Quilt Shows™ website. It was a 6 week class including all kinds of embellishment stitching, beading and applique. In connection with the class I had packs of the specialty supplies available for sale in my etsy shop, www.laurensfiberart.etsy.com.

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I will be teaching another online class on face coloration in April for TQS; again there will be kits available in my Etsy store that correspond to that class.

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AnLiNa Designs:  Where you do you get your inspiration?

Lauren:  Inspiration for any project that I take on comes from my daily life, books that I am reading, funny things that my kids say, the beauty of nature that is so prevalent living in Colorado.

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AnLiNa Designs:  Who is your favorite artist and why?

Lauren:  I love collecting small pieces of art from contemporary artists and combining it with my own through out my home. It would be very difficult to pick a favorite artist. Although I really do love Andy Warhol!! Ever since I saw his giant Campbell’s™ soup cans as a teenager, and thought, “What is up with that?”

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In my studio I combine my own artwork with others like elinor peace bailey and Mary Lynn Benning (a local painter). They make me look really good ;-)

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AnLiNa Designs:  What are your favorite materials to work with?

Lauren:  I dearly love to combine fabric art with face drawing. Here is a series of fairies that I did some years ago.

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AnLiNa Designs:  Is there a famous work of art you would like to interpret in your art?

Lauren:  I am attracted to whimsical subject matter. Quite a while back I made fabric art journal pages of the characters in Wicked from Emerald city. I think it would be great fun to interpret them as dolls some day.

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AnLiNa Designs:  What do you think makes retreats a valuable experience?

Lauren:  I think attending conferences and retreats is one of the most delightful ways to surround myself with a variety of personalities that’s why I love what I love!

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Sharing an experience with people of such various backgrounds, knowledge bases and life experiences is always inspirational. And the fact that we share a common interest gives us a foundation to build friendships on. I am stretched by artists that work in mediums other than my own. And I totally dig discovering new products to buy!

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AnLiNa Designs:  Describe a day in your class room and your favorite part of teaching.

Lauren:  I am super excited about a new way that I am approaching my classroom and teaching! It has completely changed the experience for my students. I love it and they love it!!! I am using a video camera and projector to demonstrate. Students have an up-front view of the details from their individual work stations. No more “gather around” and try to see over the person in front of you. This approach has proved to be much more comfortable, relaxed and the lessons are amazingly clear!

My favorite part of teaching is simply showing others how to do something FUN!

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