Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More Opinion on the "Magazine Art Doll Quarterly"

This is a long rant, just to get it out of my system. I don't expect anyone to read it all, but I have to vent.

Last January, after I wrote my opinion here about being disappointed in certain aspects of the magazine "Art Doll Quarterly" I decided to write a letter to the editor of the magazine, also expressing my disappointment. As a matter of fact, this is what I wrote:

Today I was rewarded for bundling up against the weather and walking to the mailbox – the Feb/Mar/Apr issue of Art Doll Quarterly was snug inside! I made myself a cup of coffee, snuggled down in front of the fireplace, and prepared for a delicious afternoon. I couldn’t help but reflect on what doll making has done for me – I came to it as a means of self-expression, a healing tool, after a difficult spot in my life. I couldn’t help but think of all the late-blooming artists who may be approaching dolls for the very first time right now, and thinking of this publication’s past Show & Tell galleries of dolls from “regular” doll makers; so encouraging to one just starting out.

There was just a bit of concern when I saw the number of big names contained within, especially when I read the paragraph in the Letter From the Editor announcing Adele Sciortino’s “The Business of Art Dolls” column. If I were just beginning doll making, seeking inspiration, I would wonder if this magazine would meet my needs.

Thus, elinor peace bailey’s wonderful article on “The Doll As a Tool” was even more significant. Her premise, that society does not value an item as art unless it can be assigned a monetary value rings true. And, when I read her last paragraph that states “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,” well… I wanted to stand up and cheer. (Actually, I did holler a bit, and managed a small fist pump, despite being home alone.)

So about that column on the Business of Dolls? I won’t be reading it. I think it’s best suited to a different publication.

As you can see, I didn't state flat out that I don't think artists like Marilyn Radzat belong in the Show & Tell Section, but I believe that quite firmly. The new issue arrived over the weekend, and all letters to the editor but one were complimentary. There was one letter that stated more succinctly what I was trying to say, that she wished the Show & Tell section could be saved "for the rest of us who are not professional. Professionals have the rest of the magazine and advertising opportunities to market themselves."

The editorial response made sense in one aspect, stating "The fact that a non-professional artist could be published next to a more well-know doll artist means that, in our opinion, the caliber of both the dolls is top-notch!" I have to admit, if one of my dolls were published next to someone very well known, I'd be pretty proud. HOWEVER, the statement "...when we meet as a committee to select dolls for the Show & Tell gallery, the name of the artist is hidden. In fairness to all submissions, we look objectively at each doll and base our decisions on the quality, workmanship, details, techniques used... "

I find that statement incredible, if not an outright lie. Most of the nationally known artists' work is so distinctive, so much their very own look, that whether the name is hidden or not, if those editors don't know whose work they are viewing, they don't belong on the staff of the magazine. Again, not to pick on Marilyn Radzat, but in the winter issue there was an article in the magazine about her work, and one of her pieces in Show & Tell. Come on.

Perhaps it's all explained in this issue's (dull again) Letter FROM the Editor. There's a picture of the editor with the triple divas of dollmaking - elinor peace bailey, Barbara Willis, and Patti Culea. The editor states that she finally met these three for the first time in January. Again I say, come on! I'm sitting here in suburban CLEVELAND for heaven's sake, and I've met these three...and she's the editor of the magazine?

I guess I'm just ticked off. I realize all magazines have staff changes, peaks and valleys, and so on. However, this just is not the magazine it used to be, and I'm thinking a lot has to do with an editor who writes dull columns and hasn't met the best know teachers and pattern designers in the business prior to taking the job.

Every issue from the very first one is on my shelf. However, I may not be renewing this expensive publication, unless things improve soon.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spirit Dolls

We made little wrapped spirit dolls at Cloth Souls this past Thursday evening (fetish dolls?). I wrapped three (over painted driftwood) during our meeting, then brought them home to finish. Now I need a source on small pieces of driftwood! They are:

Spirit of Joy:
New Spirit:
Spirit of Spring:
Here are the three of them together... the tallest is only about 4" or so.