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 www.alldollart.com/jarecki.html.  To see more of Angela’s work, visit her website:  www.whimsymoon.com.

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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.

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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.

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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 www.alldollart.com/cloutman.html.

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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.

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One of my first attempts at an art doll:

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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.

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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:

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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 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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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.

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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 www.michelelynchart.com, on my blog http://michelelynchart.blogspot.com/ and in my Etsy shop:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/michelelynchart.  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. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michele-Lynch-Art/177238942307655?ref=hl

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!).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

All Dolls Are Art 2013 Artist Interview: Peggy Wilson

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Peggy Wilson is a sculptor and designer from Canada who creates characters.  I say this with the utmost admiration.  Having had the privilege of taking a class from Peggy, I can attest to her ability to convey very complicated techniques to a wide variety of skill levels.  She is also a lovely person who I feel very privileged to know.  Peggy is teaching a 3-day class “Pernickety, the Supercilious Elf”.  I’ll let Peggy introduce herself. 

Peggy:  My introduction into doll-making in 2000 came at the urging of a close friend.  "You have to join our group!  I know you will LOVE it!"  Well, I was more than a little skeptical, imagining Raggedy Anne and Andy.  As lovely as they are they are not my style!  The first workshop offered by All Dolled Up, Ottawa was a Lynne Butcher gumnut elf.  Definitely my style!  And, being clueless but never lacking in imagination, when asked to make a set of witches a few weeks later and not finding any patterns in the sewing catalogues, I designed my own. They turned out very well and that was the beginning of my design ‘career’!

Over time I have designed many ‘odd’ fellows and gals, taught both specific dolls and techniques, including several design classes, in Canada, the U.S. and Australia as well as on line. I have belonged to the Canadian Doll Artists Association (I was on the board of directors for several years), in addition to our 50+ member All Dolled Up, Ottawa doll club. 

I have been honored to receive quite a few first place awards within the CDAA as well as internationally.  One of my favorite creations, "The Mother In Law" was awarded Best In Show at the Enchanted Doll Artist Conference in Albuquerque New Mexico.

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

Peggy:  My preferred media is cloth.  I love taking a (virtually) 2 dimensional object and give it life, indeed character and emotion, by sewing, stuffing and needle sculpting!

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

Peggy:  Doll making may not be a totally full time occupation but I do teach internationally and have sold a number of my creations. Some of my figures reside across Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Indonesia, Japan, and Australia.

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AnLiNa Designs:  Where do you get your inspiration from?

Peggy:  My new work is the result of an idea; a word, an image, an emotion.  I have always had an active imagination and it got me into some trouble as a child!  Once an idea pops into my head a full blown story is often not long to follow and after that the figure forces itself upon me!

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

Peggy: I typically use either Doe (deer) Suede®  or Craft velour ®, both being very slightly stretchy without being overly so.  They allow me to create the expressions that I enjoy.

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AnLiNa Designs:  Who is your favorite artist and why?

Peggy:  I do not know!

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

Peggy:  When my children were small, a friend took them to the dress rehearsal of the Alberta Ballet’s ‘The Firebird’.  My daughter, who was 2 at the time, was both fascinated by and terrified of ‘Kostchei’, the evil character in the story also known as "the deathless".   The costume for this character was truly remarkable!  Rather than the typical  black and white ‘skeleton’ style normally used to reflect his persona the Alberta Ballet’s version was shades of grey.  Something I find much more frightening!  I plan to recreate this feeling sometime in the future!

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

Peggy:  I love the opportunity to explore ideas and techniques!  As a student I have experienced some inspired teaching that, hopefully, I am able to pass on to my students as well.  I love the interaction between all participants, both in and out of class and viewing each person’s interpretation of the classes and or techniques being introduced.

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

Peggy:  My wish for all participants in any of my classes is to learn some of my techniques in order to utilize them, when appropriate, in future works.  I go out of my way to ensure that each student gets as much out of each class as possible.  I include a ‘Cloth Doll Making Primer" with all pre-class work as well as inviting dialogue prior to the class and during the homework stage.  Indeed I often offer a ‘free’ homework session the evening prior to the class to help everyone to start on the same page.  This can be in a class room set aside for the purpose or indeed in my room in the hotel as has happened many times. 

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I often come equipped with extra ‘body parts’ just in case there is a problem with the students materials.

The class will begin with needle sculpting one of the two heads each student has been asked to bring to class.  Because I sculpt expression and emotion into my faces this can take longer than a simple ‘pretty’ face.  The students will learn the effects if directional sculpting as well as stuffing as you go.  After this we will progress to creating the armature and stuffing the body, arms and legs.  I usually leave the ‘face painting’ until the beginning of day 2, when students are fresh!

Through the day students are encouraged to ask questions – the "what if" that I love so much as well as "Could you show me that again?".

My favorite part of any class, aside from the "Ah Ha!" moment when a technique works for the first time is the reveal at the end when everyone shows their own individual interpretation of the figure we have been working on!  As I have said, I love experimentation and I hope that each of my students will have gained the expertise and feel the freedom to play about with expression, posture and costuming to create their own individual.

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AnLiNa Designs:  Peggy, thanks so much for taking the time for this interview!  Happy Holidays!

Peggy:  Thank you!