I love the magazine Art Doll Quarterly. I have every issue, right back to the very first one, published in the Summer of 2003. Recently, it's been a little less inspiring for me, primarily because I felt the submissions for the Show & Tell section were a little less abundant, a little less exploratory and joyful. There also seemed to be a hint of staging for the "professional" dollmakers. (Does anyone else think Marilyn Radzat does NOT belong in the Show & Tell section?)
Don't misunderstand me - I can appreciate those who make and sell dolls; those who make glorious confections; those who move me with the spirit of their creations. I don't particularly understand those, however, who churn them out with dollar signs in their eyes.
I also appreciate those who teach and are willing to share techniques. Though my exposure to those who teach is somewhat limited, I've found teachers often fall into one of two camps - those who are teaching to make money and self promote, and those who are sharing the joy. Some teachers want you to make a doll that looks exactly like their class sample; others are thrilled when you spring off in your own direction, inspired by what they have shared. For my money, those who share the joy are the classes I desire.
I came to make cloth dolls, or art dolls, or soft sculpture (whatever you want to call it, as long as it differentiates from making Raggedy Ann for your grandkids) as a kind of therapy. When I was going through an especially difficult point in my life, entailing a nasty divorce and teenage children, I felt an internal desire to express what I was feeling through a cloth doll. I didn't know such things were being done - it was, I thought, all internal to me. Though it took several years, and the beauty of online friendships, I ultimately found what I needed. (An online course with Barb Kobe on healing dolls broke the log jam for me.)
But back to the magazine known as ADQ. I was thrilled to find it in my mailbox yesterday - another cold and dreary day. I was intrigued to see that elinor peace bailey had written an article on The Doll as a Tool. Then I read the letter from the editor, and was disappointed to see that there's a new, regular column on marketing your dolls. I experienced an instinctive sinking in the gut as I remembered myself a few short years ago, paging through and finding far more inspiration in the submissions for the "Bendy Doll Challenge" than I did with the perfect pieces, loaded with rare materials, and owned by the rich and famous. If I were to pick up my first issue of ADQ today, would I put it down, thinking "I'm not worthy"? (Hopefully not, if one gets far enough in to see articles like "Ladies in Waiting," "My Peeps," and "Misfit Art Dolls.")
Me? I don't want to create marketable dolls; I want to express myself. Thank goodness for the last paragraph of epb's article that read "I make art for myself. If you want to buy it, or award it a ribbon, that is your choice, but what I make is art that contains an abundance of myself in it."
Joy, soul, exploration, creativity - for me, that's what it's all about. Put the marketing articles elsewhere.