Monday, October 14, 2013

Alter Egos Part 1 - Creating Doll Heads from Paperclay

Join me on November 9, 2013 at Yema Gallery, 540B Freeman Street, Orange, New Jersey from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm for Alter Egos Part 1 - Creating Doll Heads from Paperclay. Students will learn basic head sculpting techniques for doll heads or assemblage work using Creative Paperclay, an air dry medium. $50.00 class fee includes materials.Wear messy clothes - paperclay can be messy - and come ready to play and explore your creative vision. RSVP.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Art Dolls & Blackeyed Peas. The Kitchen is My Studio.

I found fresh picked cowpeas (aka blackeyed peas) at Cheesequake Farms yesterday! up early this morning, i shell the cowpeas, bring to a boil. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil, add tomato paste and cumin. Add peas. Kosher salt, black pepper to taste. Finish covered on low heat until tender.

It seemed right that I should have Aunt Hawsie in the kitchen to supervise. I never met my Great Aunt Hawsie, sister of my Mother's Mother. She passed long before I was born, when Mommy and Aunt Deenie were young. Rumor has it I look more like her than I do anyone else. Aunt Deenie say she was very kind.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Return to Dollmaking

I've been away from dollmaking nag blogging about it for quite some time. Two years ago, I got a promotion on my "day job". I love my work buts it's been a whirlwind. Between work and home, something had to give. But more and more I find making space for creativity is essential to my wellbeing and sanity, no matter how much I love my work.

Last week I went to the seventh annual Day with Dolls where area dollmakers from NJ and NY gather. Ive bee feeling inspired ever since.

Here are some dolls in progress. I'll show you more as they evolve.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Alter Egos Class at Cultured Expressions Studio

Thank you Lisa Sheppard Stewart of Cultured Expressions for hosting the Alter Egos Doll Class! I had a blast and I hope my students did too. Thank you Joan N, Joan "Always", Josie, Sondra, Tanya MontQ, Diane, Jackie and Nathasha for making it such an enjoyable experience! And don't forget to email me photos of your finished dolls!

Opening Night - Embracing the Orishas at Yema Gallery

From the top: Artist/Drummer Geraldine Gaines; Jody Leight; Shirley Panton-Benjamin; Rahmon Olugunna (artist not shown); Toni Thomas (artist/curator) with artist/drummer Mansa Mussa; Lynn Presley; Bisa Washington (artist not shown); Janice Anderson; Adrienne Wheeler; Toni Thomas with son, Justin; Yemaja Altar (Janice Anderson); Elegua/Esh Elegbara (Janice Anderson)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Embracing the Orisha at Yema Gallery, 540B Freeman Street, Orange, New Jersey. Opening April 29 6-9pm through May 28. Curated by Toni Thomas

Embracing the Orisha

Elegua (Esu/Elegba)
Fiber Art Dolls& Mixed Media Installation
20” (cloth, paperclay, wire armature, mixed media)

At a crossroads in the history of the gods, when each wished to find out who, under God, was supreme, all made their way to heaven, each bearing rich sacrificial offerings. All but Esu-Elegba, who wisely honored the deity of divination beforehand and had been told what to bring with him to heaven – a single crimson parrot feather positioned upright upon his forehead to signify that he was not to carry burdens on his head. Responding to he fiery flashing parrot feather, the very seal of supernatural force and ashe, God granted Esu the force to make all things happen and multiply. Outward signs of submission and material bounty were no match for wisdom and humility. Once granted his powers of dominion, Esu instead of arrogantly subordinating everyone to himself, did the “cool” thing – he agve a vast feast to share his newfound prestige and to honor God for the priceless treasure of ashe.

He is the guardian of the crossroads and messenger of the gods, the ultimate master of potentiality. Favorable, he modifies the worst of fates; hostile, he darkens the most brilliant of happenings.

- from Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art & Philosphy by Robert Farris Thompson

Yemaya (Yemoja)
Fiber Art Dolls& Mixed Media Installation
20” (cloth, paperclay, wire armature, mixed media)

Yemaya-Olukun is the Mother of the Sea, the Great Water, the Womb of Creation. She is the Mother of Dreams, the Mother of Secrets. She is natural wealth, the mother of pearl and Veiled Isis. She is the mermaid, the full moon; and intelligence beyond human comprehension. She is envisioned as a large and beautiful woman, radiant and dak; nurturing and devouring; crystal clear and mysteriously deep. Yemaya rules the house, nurtures the child in the waters of the womb; and has jurisdiction over the affairs of women. Gaze upon the waters of Yemaya for your own self’s sake. Perform rituals on the ocean at sunrise and midnight for your healing. Watch Her shimmering in the light of the full moon and be renewed. There is no mountain of trouble that Yemaya cannot wear down; no sickness of heart that She cannot wash clean; no desert of despair that She cannot flood with hope.

- from Jambalaya,, the Natural Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals by Luisah Teish

Embracing the Orishas, Yema Gallery, 540B Freeman Street, Orange, New Jersey. Opening April 29, 2011 6-9pm through May 28, 2011. Curated by Toni Thomas.

This exhibit is a continuation of Yema Gallery's recognition of the 2011 UN Resolution 64/169 designating this year as the year for people of African descent by paying tribute to the culture and traditions of the African people. This exhibit will be presented along with an exhibit of the work of Nigerian artist Rahmon Olugunna. Also featured are Adrienne Wheeler, Bisa Washington, Janice Anderson, Jody Leight, Joya Thompson, Shirley Parker Bejamin, Lynn Presley and Geraldine Gaines. The artists were asked to present work that reflects their interest in a deity (orishas) associated with Yoruban spirtual practice.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Alter Egos - Creating the Doll

I will be teaching my first dollmaking class at Lisa Shepard Stewart's Cultured Expressions Studio on April 30, 2011. For those of you who do not know Lisa, she is a quilter, crafter, author, designer, instructor extraodinaire, who sells and teaches us to use and incorporate African textiles in our art/clothing projects. I credit Lisa with being the instructor who taught the first quilting class I ever took several years ago, which got me hooked on crafting with dollmaking soon to follow. The rest is history.

The class, Alter Egos, is a workshop about telling our stories and expressing ourselves through the magic of dollmaking. Together we wil explore such issues as body image, self-esteem and ancestor appreciation, in a safe, fun and supportive environment - a judgment-free zone - while learning dollmaking skills, unleashing creativity and developing a narrative (whew!) Come, silence your inner critic, and give yourself permission to play!

I will be teaching my technique for creating a wire-armatured soft-sculpted doll to decorate and embellish at will.

Skill level: Beginner and up (if you can sew on a button, you can do this!)

For more information go to events calendar.