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.

Shrek and Fiona, Maybe

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I spent the majority of my New Year’s day doing what I enjoy most – creating!  I finished up the gifts for my friend and co-worker Ken who’s birthday is Thursday.  He’s getting these tomorrow though.  They really aren’t Shrek and Fiona, but until he names them, those are the nick names I gave them.

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I spent the morning after a late start due to a sleepless night because of fireworks in the neighborhood.  I am NOT a fan of the concussive sounding fireworks.  They reverberate off of the windows and when they go on until 2am, I’m a very unhappy camper.  So, good thing I didn’t need my brain to sew on Shrek’s sleeves.  Once I got caffeine and lunch, I figured out his hat.  The fabric I picked for his shirt wasn’t intended to look like camouflage, but that’s what it looks like in the photos.  That is SOOOO appropriate for Ken.  <giggle>.

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After finishing Shrek’s hat, ,I made Fiona’s arms and then started her bloomers.  They took a while, as the body shapes on these dolls are challenging to fit.  Skinny legs and very chubby bodies.  On first construction, they were a little tight, but luckily, I could make them work!  Her jumper was easy-peasy, and then I just had to attach her arms and head and give her hair.

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After taking photos of Shrek and Fiona together, I decided she needed a bow.  And now, they are complete and ready to give to Ken tomorrow!

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Today is my brother’s birthday.  He came to Austin the day after Christmas, went to Houston with me for the Texas Tech bowl game and went home yesterday.  He texted me to let me know he was home at 11:40pm last night.  He’s 11 years and 1 week younger than I am, which means my birthday was a week ago! 

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Andrew and I attended the Viva the Matadors tailgate.  I made up the banner from a VTMer’s avatar.  Andrew insisted on getting a picture of the two of us.

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He’s an Aggie, in case you can’t tell from the “gig ‘em” sign.  At least he didn’t wear maroon!  Happy birthday!

I gave myself a couple of birthday presents, not including the trip to Houston.  The first was a new stove.  The second was a new patio!

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The weather hasn’t been warm enough to put anything out on the patio yet.  I’m so eager for it to warm up!  Happy New Year everyone!

Happy New Year!

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It’s been a bit of a lazy weekend after my trek to Houston for the Texas Tech bowl game.  I’ve been watching some football and working on a birthday present for my co-worker Ken.  This birthday present is a year late, but better late than never!

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Shrek, the doll on the left, is almost done.  He’s completely assembled and I lack sewing on his sleeves and making his hat.  Fiona still needs her arms and her head is just pinned on, plus – no clothes yet.  But that will get done tomorrow.

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These are the heads that elinor peace bailey made from my hand-dyed fabric and sent me.  I just love the heads, but Ken wouldn’t be denied.  Since I hope to exchange a dragon for a potting bench, I figured I should finish his belated birth day present first!

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On Christmas day, I took pictures at my parent’s house.  That’s where the Okra pod at the top of the post came from as well as this poinsettia.  The cats had a wonderful time outside while I snapped photos of the plants.

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This is Bugsy, the only sway-backed cat I’ve ever known. 

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And Daisy, sunning herself in a sheltered spot.  It has been cold this week and today was rainy and foggy, a perfect day to stay inside!

All Dolls Are Art 2013 Faculty Interview: Ellen Kelsey

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Ellen Kelsey is a new teacher and past attendee at All Dolls Are Art.  She and I spoke this evening and she told me about her journey into the world of sculpting.

Ellen:  I was a frustrated artist until my mid-thirties when I was introduced to polymer clay. I had tried drawing, painting, crochet and sewing, but none clicked with me. Then in the early 1990s, my sister gave me some Fimo polymer clay, and I was hooked. In the beginning I was mostly self-taught using books and videos. In later years I took classes from various polymer clay artists.

I was a member of the North Texas Polymer Clay Guild from 2001 through 2011 and I held several offices during those years. I don’t have a blog, website or Facebook page; in that area of my life I haven’t entered the 21st century yet.

Last year I began taking mixed-media classes to expand my mind and creativity. I’m really enjoying this new direction and have interpreted a couple of the mixed-media techniques in polymer clay. I’m also interested in encaustic wax.

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

Ellen: It was a gradual transformation. I started with polymer clay with the intention of becoming a jewelry artist and my favorite things to make were pins. I resisted sculpting at first, thinking that I wasn’t capable of it. I then realized that I was already sculpting when making pins. Each one was a little sculpture. I then started to make my pieces larger and larger. Now sculpting has pretty much replaced jewelry-making.

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

Ellen: Polymer clay, because it is extremely versatile and very forgiving.

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

Ellen: No, but I sell my work at Ladybug’s Christmas Collection, a Christmas Arts and Crafts fair in the Dallas area, which I’ve been doing since 2000 or 2001. 

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

Ellen: Usually I think about it for a few days and then dive right into it. It is rare for me to plan my projects. Sometimes I make a few notes and try to draw a sketch (I can’t draw, though); but most of the time I just sit down with the materials I need and start.

AnLiNa Designs:  What projects are you working on now? Christmas presents?

Ellen:  I just finished a Christmas present for a work friend, and I need to make a Christmas present for my sister for Last Christmas!  I may start on her Christmas present for this year in January.  I made her a mermaid a year ago, and my sister asked for a sea serpent to go with her.  My sister is an artist too, except she works in ceramic clay and casts her pieces in bronze. 

I used to say I would never sculpt anything, and now, that’s what I do.  I took a class and saw a dragon and, when I saw it, I thought I’m never going to do that!  And now I make dragons.  How things change!  What I like about the dragons and the fish and the frogs is the faces don’t have to look like anything specific.  You can get expression in those faces without being precise, that you can’t do in the same way on a human face.

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AnLiNa Designs: Where do you get your inspiration from?

Ellen: Mostly from nature, especially the ocean and beach. Also, from art exhibits especially ancient art. 

AnLiNa Designs:  What types of cultures?

Ellen:  Ancient Egyptian and a year or so ago I saw a Mayan exhibit that was very cool.  Not so much Roman and Greek art because it’s too realistic.  I like more abstract art forms.

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

Ellen: Polymer clay, alcohol inks, beads, mica powders and paints.

AnLiNa Designs:  Do you work with colored clays or do you work in white?

Ellen:  It’s mostly white clays.  It’s easier to work an entire piece in white and then color it. 

AnLiNa Designs:  I love the look of the alcohol inks and the colors you use, but I can’t use it paper clay, which is what I use.

Ellen:  I use a mix of Premo and Ultra Light polymer clays, because the Ultra Light gives it tooth and holds the color better, but the Premo makes the Ultra Light stronger.  One of the reasons why I started using the Ultra Light was I wanted to make fish that could hang so they look like they are swimming.  I used to  make fish that stood, but I started making the fish using a glass ornament so they are hollow and started using the ultra light to make them even lighter.

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AnLiNa Designs: Who is your favorite artist and why?

Ellen: Vincent Van Gogh. Impressionist art is one of my favorites and I have always loved Van Gogh’s work because of his use of colors and the energy – or serenity – he could put into his work.

AnLiNa Designs: Is there a famous work of art that you want to interpret in a doll?

Ellen: I have one piece that was inspired by the movie “The Court Jester”. In this classic film, there is a scene in which some of the characters are discussing whether the “pellet with the poison” is in the “flagon with a dragon”, the “chalice from the palace”, or the “vessel with a pestle”. That inspired me to make a flagon with a dragon on it with another dragon poised to drop the poison pellet into it. It was a lot of fun to create and is one of my favorite pieces.

AnLiNa Designs:  Your dragon with a flagon is very cool.  Did you make the flagon out of polymer clay or is it a glass? 

Ellen:  There is a glass that I covered in polymer clay.

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As for a doll, someday I would like to create a beach-comber doll because beachcombing is one of my favorite activities. It is inspiring and peaceful. I get a lot of ideas while walking on the beach.

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

Ellen: I can’t speak as a teacher yet, but as a student I think retreats are most important as a place to meet fellow artists, beginning and expert. I remember how exciting it was when I attended my first polymer clay retreat. It was exciting to see what others were doing with polymer clay and to know there were others who loved it as much as I did.

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

Ellen: I have only taught one previous class, but it was successful and a lot of fun. I am easy-going, and the class should be relaxed, but I plan to keep it structured so that everyone will be able to finish their dragon during class time. I will show my students how to create a dragon, but I don’t expect their creations to look exactly like mine. Each student’s imagination and creativity will shape their creation. My favorite part of teaching is seeing all the different personalities that emerge from the students’ hearts, minds and hands.

AnLiNa Designs:  Thanks Ellen! I really enjoyed learning more about how you work!

Ellen:  Thanks Amy.  Have a great Christmas!

AnLiNa Designs:  You too, Ellen.

To see Ellen’s class, visit www.alldollart.com/kelsey.html.

Some Clay and All Dolls Are Art

I’ve had fun this weekend working in my garden.  I flat wore myself out yesterday.  I got up early and mowed and picked beans and 2 cucumbers, got the yard watered in the back and the flower beds watered in the front.  I went to the farmers market where my favorite veggie booth had yellow squash and zucchini!  I also got my first beans of the season… had to get some since my bushes are only producing a small hand full every couple of days right now.  After the farmers market, I headed to Round Rock Market Days where I got myself a very nice present.  It won’t be unveiled for a couple of months though, because it has to wait for my back patio redo.

Anyway, today I slept late after a late night thunderstorm and rain into the early morning.  I have been toying with an idea, possibly for my table favor dolls for All Dolls Are Art 2012.  I finally tried it out this afternoon. 

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Meet the snail!  I sculpted him out of paper clay this evening over tin foil. 

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Isn’t this a great face? 

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This is my butterfly I was working on and have set aside as I don’t know how I want to paint it yet.

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I have also been playing with faces.  I want some flat faces I can mold, which I decided I was going to do with these today.  I read on Fran’s Blog how she molded a less than perfect face and used the mold to create another face which she added clay too and remolded.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find my mold material.  I know I saw it in the last few days, but I’ve moved it and can’t remember where.  Oh well. 

ADAA is coming up soon! We still have plenty of space in classes.  If you are curious, you can visit our Facebook page or our website:  www.alldollart.com.