Art Dolls and Creatures- The Handmade Spirit

Art Dolls and Creatures- The Handmade Spirit
10/10/2016 Rachel
1980 Brazilian Hipie Fair, Puppets- Photo by Rachel Biel
1980 Brazilian Hipie Fair, Carver - Photo by Rachel Biel

1980 Brazilian Hippie Fair, Carver – Photo by Rachel Biel

Many years ago a friend of mine said he felt like he was being watched in my house…  He felt a bit creeped out by all of my art dolls and creatures. I have carvings, softies, masks and ceramics from around the world. Some came from travels, others were gifts and the rest were from running a handmade shop for twenty years. I feel the opposite! They comfort me and connect me to the world. I love how artists and cultures represent people and animals through their craft!

This interest started at a young age. I grew up in Brazil in the 1960’s and 70’s and we had “hippie fairs”, craft fairs with booths of artists and makers. I started selling painted t-shirts at one of them when I was 15 and met many fascinating people. I took these photos at one of those fairs in 1980. Thirty six years later, I still love the work and the people behind them!

 

1980 Brazilian Hippie Fair, Fishing - Photo by Rachel Biel

1980 Brazilian Hippie Fair, Fishing – Photo by Rachel Biel

My favorite art dolls are ones that show costume and an activity, usually a mundane task. Expressions also capture me, something pointing to a story that is going on.  I have a book about the Girard Collection and how he and his wife traveled all over the world, collecting figures, textiles and other folk art. A long-time dream has been to see this collection which was donated to the Museum of International Folk Art before his death.

 

Multiple Visions Exhibit at the Museum of International Folk Art

Multiple Visions Exhibit at the Museum of International Folk Art

 

If you like folk art and mixed media art like I do, then you will love our art dolls and creatures on Artizan Made! Visit our member shops to learn more about their work. I always love seeing what they will come up with next!

 

 

Botanic2Ceramic Frog Mugs

Botanic2Ceramic Frog Mugs

Botanic2Ceramic’s Shop on Etsy

Carla Trujillo Art Dolls - Wire Forms

Carla Trujillo Art Dolls – Wire Forms

Carla Trujillo’s Shop on IndieMade

Culturalpatina Vintage Native American Pottery

Culturalpatina Vintage Native American Pottery

Culturalpatina’s Shop on Etsy

Clay Lick Creek Pottery Unicorn Bowls

Clay Lick Creek Pottery Unicorn Bowls

Clay Lick Creek Pottery on Etsy

Jwrobel hooked stuffed toy giraffe on antique roller skate.

Jwrobel hooked stuffed toy giraffe on antique roller skate.

Jwrobel’s Website

Karen L Howard - Wood Child With Crow Mask

Karen L Howard – Wood Child With Crow Mask

Karen L Howard on Etsy

Laura Lee Burch Smiling Needle Felted Pig

Laura Lee Burch Smiling Needle Felted Pig

Laura Lee Burch’s Website

Majoleeka Majolica Cat Sculpture

Majoleeka Majolica Cat Sculpture

Majoleeka’s Shop on Etsy

Pea Pickle Farm - Howling Wolf Beeswax Candle

Pea Pickle Farm – Howling Wolf Beeswax Candle

Pea Pickle Farm’s Beeswax Candles on Etsy

Praire Mile Tile The Buzzard

Praire Mile Tile The Buzzard

Prairie Mile Tile on Etsy

Redhardwick Mixed Media Owl

Redhardwick Mixed Media Owl

Redhardwick’s Shop on Etsy

Sir Raffles Art History - Singha Carved Altar Post Bases, Pair. Wood. Antique or Vintage.

Sir Raffles Art History – Singha Carved Altar Post Bases, Pair. Wood. Antique or Vintage.

Sir Raffles Art History’s Shop on Etsy

Steel Goat Studio Vintage String Puppets -Marionettes - Mexico

Steel Goat Studio Vintage String Puppets -Marionettes – Mexico

Steel Goat Studio’s Shop on Etsy

Sue Canizares Ceramic Bird Whistles

Sue Canizares Ceramic Bird Whistles

Sue Canizares Ceramics on Etsy

The Loaded Trunk - Burmese Puppet Head with Hat

The Loaded Trunk – Burmese Puppet Head with Hat

The Loaded Trunk’s Website

Tija Crochet Art Bears

Tija Crochet Art Bears

Tija Crochet’s Shop on Etsy

Wassupbrothers Family of Art Creatures

Wassupbrothers Family of Art Creatures

Wassupbrothers on Etsy

Aren’t these wonderful? I find it so interesting to see how people can use different materials in so many ways! An endless source of inspiration and joy for me…

One of my personal challenges is how to keep these things clean. Wood, metal and ceramics are fine with the occasional dusting or even washing. But, other things are a pain. I have one carving of a folky woman, actually carved by a woman in Tennessee many years ago. I was on a road trip and stopped at this post which was filled with carvings. Some guy had become famous and collectible, so his whole family started carving. He was way out of my price range, but I also liked the carvings this woman made. They were crude but had a lot of spirit. She made clothing for the carvings and their arms can move up and down. I bought three and one of them had cotton for hair. Just glued on to the wood…  Over the years, it has become ugly and matted. I could replace it with something else, but haven’t wanted to mess with her work.

So, what to do with these works that are more fragile? Laura Lee Burch has displayed some of her needle felted creatures under fun glass domes and some people spray wool and other fibers with protective agents. Do you collect dolls or creatures? Tell us about them in the comments and feel free to post a link to show us how you display them.

See more Art Dolls and Creatures in our Artizan Market!

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