Valentines and Flowers


I had an internet conversation with a fellow Texas Tech graduate last weekend while watching a basket ball game.  At some point the conversation veered towards food and I decided I would bake cupcakes.  I had bananas ready to go into banana bread, but what fun is banana bread heading into Valentine’s Day?  So, I decided to make cupcakes with the bananas. 

The result, after I tinted the cream cheese frosting with red food coloring, was sort of heart shaped cupcakes, which accompanied me to work Monday.  My co-workers are often the beneficiaries of my baking.  They are most appreciative and the upside is that I get to bake without having to eat much of what I produce.


February is the month in which we get to experience three seasons, sometimes in one day here in central Texas.  We get warm days at 85 degrees, followed by cool days in the 50’s or 60’s.  It confuses the plants, especially if we are above 70 for 4 days running as we were last week.  This is happening more, it seems, and I end up doing my spring cleaning in the yard sooner each year.  I got all of my pruning done weekend before last and last weekend got my front flower beds composted.  I planted a few new plants and bought a few more which are still awaiting homes.  The plants I pruned are budding out and I have an enterprising daisy that is covered in blooms. 

All of this leads me to think of flowers.  I’ve been buying myself flowers at the grocer store each week and they are starting to get Star Gazer lilies in which I love so much!  This weekend, I got my fabric club in from Treasures of the Gypsy and what a surprise!  It’s spring flowers!  I have the body and head of the doll I intended to make an angel from.  Now, I think she’s going to be the flower fairy and here’s the start of the collection of fabric and trims for her wardrobe!


The next All Dolls Are Art Newsletter comes out tomorrow morning.  You can still sign up to receive it by visiting the website and signing up for the mailing list.  This month, I have a survey on doll making and an article written by Michele Lynch, one of our ADAA faculty.  If you have ever wondered about quitting your day job for your artistic journey, you’ll enjoy Michele’s thoughts on the topic.

There is still plenty of space in all of our classes for ADAA 2013.  I hope that you’ll consider joining me and sharing your creative journey!

All Dolls Are Art 2013 Faculty Interview: Angela Jarecki

Angela Jarecki is an illustrator by profession and an accomplished artist. She is a member of Original Doll Artists Council of America and the Texas Association of Original Doll Artists, where she is currently president. She has taught various online classes through Dollstreet, and I am pleased to have her back in 2013 as part of the All Dolls Are Art Faculty. She creates unique and beautiful dolls which are constructed from paper clay and covered in cloth. Her work has been exhibited in Houston, TX, at the International Quilt Festival, in Japan, and at Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts and at various galleries in the greater Houston, TX area. She has also been published in Art Doll Quarterly.

Angela is teaching two classes at ADAA 2013, Pod Baby and Madame Mori.  To find out more about Angela’s classes, visit  To see more of Angela’s work, visit her website:



AnLiNa Designs: How did you discover doll-making and sculpture?

Angela: A friend invited me to her doll making group, but I had no idea what kind of dolls she meant. I pictured toilet paper cozies or the like, so I politely declined. But a while later I ran into her in a bead shop….she was purchasing beads for a lovely doll she was making. I was smitten! I went to the next doll meeting with her, no questions asked!

AnLiNa Designs: What media do you like to work with and why?

Angela: I love working in paper clay and cloth. I like paper clay because it’s very versatile and forgiving. And as to cloth, well, what’s not to love! All the colors and textures of different fabrics make it so easy to see millions of possibilities.


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

Angela: I am an illustrator by trade, so I have been a full-time artist my entire career. I do sell my work either through shows or email inquiries.

AnLiNa Designs: When you start a new project, how do you start?

Angela: I usually start by doing a series of drawings. I’ll have an idea and want to see what it would look like spatially, so I will draw it first. Then, I will usually spend some time pulling together fabrics to get a "feel" for the colors I want the doll to be.


AnLiNa Designs: Where do you get your inspiration from?

Angela: That’s a hard question…I would suppose that at times when I feel like I have no ideas, the best places for me to go to be re-invigorated artistically are probably museums or botanical gardens. I don’t know what it is about gardens that make me so excited to work. Maybe it’s knowing that I’m a lousy gardener….so I should quickly find something I can do!

AnLiNa Designs: Who is your favorite artist and why?

Angela: I will have to list a few artists…no way I can pick just one! I love Maxfield Parrish, Thomas Mcknight and Vermeer. They are all artists that though they do very different types of work. They all manage to convey a presence in their work that seems to suggest that you have landed right in the middle of story that you need to know how it will proceed. I look at their work and I find myself wanting to know more about what is going on in the environs they have painted. They have a way of capturing a mood that I find to be so exhilarating! I would very much like my work to convey that type of emotion.

AnLiNa Designs: Is there a famous work of art (visual, performance or musical) that you want to interpret in a doll?

Angela: This isn’t a famous work of art so much as a part of a story. I have always wanted to do the Mad Tea Party in a very detailed and somewhat larger scale. I have drawings…just haven’t started it yet!image

AnLiNa Designs: What do you think makes a retreat a valuable experience to participate in, both as a teacher and as a student?

Angela: I think working retreats are so important for artists because it makes you focus time and energy on your creative ability. The excitement around you is contagious! You find yourself able to experiment and expand your knowledge base, and this is for both teacher and student. Retreats are just a win-win situation! I would highly recommend them!image

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

Angela: I love seeing people realize how talented they are. My favorite part of teaching is coming alongside someone and encouraging them to stretch their comfort zone. In class, I usually have a set of accomplishments that I would like for us to get through in a day, but I’m flexible. I think it’s more important for students to feel invigorated and capable than to do something "just-a-certain" way.

All Dolls Are Art 2013 Artist Interview: Joyce Cloutman

I’ve had the privilege of being in the Central Texas Art Doll Sculptors group with Joyce for the last 3 or 4 years.  She is talented, creative, generous and has a wicked sense of humor.  She never fails to make me smile and, what is more, she has gifted me with one of her creations!  Joyce is teaching “Bella Dona”, a mixed media, 2-day class at ADAA 2013.  To see more about her class, visit


I asked Joyce to describe her background for you.

Joyce:  As far back as I can remember creating art has been a part of my life. I have no formal training, being mostly self taught. In the 70’s I taught painting for about 12 years and enjoyed it, but felt I was missing something. I discovered polymer clay, like so many others, by watching Carol Duval show. I played with polymer clay many years before I was able to take a class. Learning on your own is important, but taking a class with an experienced teacher can push you years ahead. I really have enjoyed time spent with polymer clay.  I love the versatility of this medium!  I’m a member of 3 polymer clay guilds in Texas (Houston Polymer Clay Guild,  North Texas Polymer Clay Guild and Austin Polymer Clay Guild) and am also a member of Central Texas Art Doll Sculptors.

AnLiNa Designs:  How did you discover doll-making and sculpting?

Joyce:  I picked up Art Doll Magazine for the first time about 5 years ago. It showed how to make an elf, and I thought I would give it a try. That’s when I discovered I had a knack for sculpting and haven’t looked back.  I love sculpting heads and have many containers full of heads of different sizes and shapes.


One of my first attempts at an art doll:


AnLiNa Designs:  What media do you like to work with and why?

Joyce: Primarily polymer clay, but lately I’m branching out to other media and enjoying mixing my art supplies to achieve the look I’m after.

AnLiNa Designs:  Have you made the transition to full-time artist?

Joyce:  No, I’m at a point in my life where I have more free time to create than I used to but life does get in the way.

AnLiNa Designs:  Do you sell your work anywhere?

Joyce: No, just started selling a piece here and there. Marketing and selling is such a mystery to me.

AnLiNa Designs:  We’ll have to fix that!  When you start a new project, how do you start?

Joyce:  Sometimes I sketch out an idea.  I try to always keep a journal with me to jot down ideas as they come. It’s fun to go back through old sketch journals and see how many ideas actually worked out. I’m surprised by how many of those sketches I end up creating.

AnLiNa Designs:  Where do you get your inspiration from?

Joyce:  Lately words or quotes seem to spark my imagination.

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

Joyce:  Polymer clay hands down. Polymer clay can be sculpted into almost any shape and size you want.

AnLiNa Designs:  Who is your favorite artist and why?

Joyce:  Kate Church is my favorite artist right now. I’ve had the privilege of taking a class with her and she is the kind of teacher I hope to be. She doesn’t stay in one place artistically but keeps evolving. Below is a Kate Church inspired art doll.


AnLiNa Designs:  Is there a famous work of art (visual, performance or musical) that you want to interpret in a doll?

Joyce:  No not really, I enjoy looking at James Christensen and Daniel Merriam.

AnLiNa Designs:  What do you think makes a retreat a valuable experience to participate in, both as a teacher and as a student?

Joyce:   Getting together with other people who enjoy creating is so important!  You learn so much; not only from the teachers but others attending.  Everyone brings some info about something, so if you are having trouble in a creative area, someone attending will have the answer. Below are my latest elves inspired by a clay retreat I attended in October:


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

Joyce:  First I want everyone to relax and enjoy the process, if it’s not fun why bother. Second I try to build in time for each person to use their creativity to make the project their own. My favorite time is at the end of class when we line up our project, and, even though we have used the same art supplies and followed the same instructions, each piece will be unique to that person.

AnLiNa Designs:  Thanks so much Joyce!

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


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.


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.


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, 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!!


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.


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


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


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


I get pretty excited about ribbons too!


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,


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.


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.


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?”


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 😉


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.


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.



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!


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!


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!


All Dolls Are Art 2013 Artist Interview: Michele Lynch

Michele Lynch is a talented artist who is teaching two classes at ADAA 2013, her large and small Steampunk Souls.  She is new to teaching, but not to the creative process.  I’m thrilled to have her as part of the ADAA faculty!  Michele has been published in Art Doll Quarterly (Fall and Winter 2012) and in Sommerset Studio (Fall 2012).  She describes her background for me as a circuitous path.



AnLiNa Designs:  Hi Michele, please tell me how you arrived at this point in your creative journey.

Michele:  I’ve been experimenting with different mediums for as long as I can remember, trying to find my own style. It wasn’t until I took a job in management in a stress-filled corporation that I allowed myself to just create exactly what my heart told me to create. When I did that, my heart sang with creativity. All of the different mediums I had experimented with came together into the artwork that I create today. My work is available on my website, on my blog and in my Etsy shop:  I will admit that since Facebook has come around, I’m more active on there then my blog or website! I love interacting with people and I think that it fills that need for interaction more than a blog or website. Look me up on Facebook! Either my personal page or I have an art page.

AnLiNa Designs:  How did you discover doll-making and sculpture?

Michele:  I discovered doll making years ago when polymer clay was new and when the internet became available (yup now I’m really dating myself!).


AnLiNa Designs:  What media do you like to work with and why?

Michele:  I work with a 2 part epoxy, called Aves Apoxie Sculpt. I like the strength it provides and that it does not have a negative reaction to any paint or varnish that you use on it.

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

Michele:   Yes, I have finally made the leap to full-time artist. I sell my work online and at galleries both in the US and internationally.


AnLiNa Designs:  When you start a new project, how do you start?

Michele:  I usually start with the idea and sketch it out, then I plan out what mixed media pieces I will be adding to the doll. Next I build some kind of armature.

AnLiNa Designs:  Where do you find your inspiration?

Michele:  I get inspiration from thrift stores, antique stores, fairy tales, dreams, movies,…really just about anything. I keep a sketch book that I jot down ideas or a quick sketch. My family tells me, it’s a scary place inside my head, LOL.


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

Michele:  Other than epoxy and paint, I don’t have a particular favorite material. I love all materials! When I see a vintage object that I love, I try to figure out how I’m going to incorporate that piece into the next piece of artwork.

AnLiNa Designs:  Who is your favorite artist and why?

Michele:  This is a tough question; there are so many wonderfully talented artists out there! I would say Mark Ryden, Tim Burton, and Kathie Olivas top my list.


AnLiNa Designs:  Is there a famous work of art (visual, performance or musical) that you want to interpret in a doll?

Michele:  Wow good question. I had never really thought of that…now you have me thinking! I have seen Wicked several times and think that could inspire a doll.

AnLiNa Designs:  What do you think makes a retreat a valuable experience to participate in, both as a teacher and as a student?

Michele:  I think there is nothing better to fill the well of your creative soul than meeting new people and sharing a creative experience, very inspiring!


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

Michele:  I’m new to teaching so I can only say what I wish for, and that is an abundance of creativity. I don’t want students to make a doll exactly like mine (of course if you want to that’s fine too), I want everyone to think outside of the box, because I think that is when creativity is at its highest. That’s when the magic happens and the unique artist in the student shines through.


AnLiNa Designs:  Thanks so much Michele!  Have a Happy New Year!