Ten years ago I taught myself to sew from scratch. I had never done any sewing before. None! All of my formal art training was in 2D design, but I felt a powerful calling to get into fibers. My obsession with natural fibers and textiles goes all the way back to my childhood. I was very particular about the fiber content of everything I owned, and weaving was my therapy. My artist mother introduced me to all kinds of textile artists and I particularly loved the textures of hand-woven Native American rugs and tapestries.
But, I hit a snag when I started to sew.... I wasn't particularly good at it. Sewing did not come to me naturally or intuitively like other art mediums did, and it was frustrating. I had to practice practice practice!
When I first started, I knew so little about it in fact, that I started with the hardest thing to sew of all! TOYS. I LOVE toys. I'm so glad I have kids so that I can bogart theirs from time to time. I was a doll collector as a kid, and to this day, I treasure my grandmother's antique doll collection. I had a thousand ideas and wanted very much to make dolls myself. Dolls however, are misleadingly complex, and far more challenging to make than say, a pair of baby pants or a skirt. They are detailed. They are small and tedious. They require a lot of TLC if you want them to have that special something that every doll lover is looking for. I threw myself into some projects and failed pretty miserably right out of the gate. I could not bring my visions to life. Eventually I figured out that simpler projects might be better suited for a beginner. One thing lead to another over the years..... I clocked in thousands of hours practicing, and eventually I was the owner of Lovely Lyra, a line of handmade organic cotton and wool baby clothes. I've made a few thousand pairs of baby pants now, and learned a few things about sewing along the way.
One day my young daughter inspired me to attempt toys again, so I cut up an old sweater and tadah, I made her a fox. I was frankly shocked to discover that something had clicked. I could do it! 10 years after I set out to make toys, I was ready. My basic design for the wolves evolved over the course of several months, and it was a fantastic journey.
These dolls are the absolute culmination of everything I've ever learned or loved. Creating them has been a little bit galvanizing, as each one stretches me to the absolute max of my technical abilities, while simultaneously tapping into the world of my own super-introverted imagination.
Why wolves? I guess I feel a certain kinship with them, as does most of mankind.... They are shy and elusive, yet fiercely devoted to their families, and that is the only way I know how to be. Making wolves was never really a decision I made, it just happened. I wanted to make dolls and the Wolves of the Wood are what flowed out.
This feels like it is just the beginning of something, but I am very excited to see where this new artistic adventure will take me.