Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Art Dolls of the Obama family

Here is a wonderful article about art dolls that I hope you will find as interesting as I did. These are incredible dolls. She is a remarkable artist.

GH woman creates First Family dolls for ArtPrize competition
Wed, Sep 23, 2009

The subject of Nancy Tassin's ArtPrize entry may be presidential, but she insists it's not at all an expression of her political views. The Grand Haven woman created dolls of President Obama and his family for the Grand Rapids contest with a $250,000 top prize.

Tassin, 63, says the piece respectfully captures the humanity and hope that lies at the core of who the Obamas are and what they mean to the country."At any time, taking on the role of president is a sacrifice," she said. "But in these troubled times, choosing to run for president strikes me as a truly selfless act."

Tassin is one of 26 Northwest Ottawa County artists who have entered ArtPrize.The contest period began today and runs through Oct. 10. ArtPrize has no formal jury, curator or judge; instead, the public will decide who wins the prizes by voting, using mobile devices and the Web. Voters must be age 16 or older. The entries are scattered around different Grand Rapids venues. Tassin's dolls can be seen at Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St. N.W.

To see the list of area artists entered in ArtPrize, click here:

Tassin said she chose the Obamas as the subject for her "An American Family" piece because she is in awe of the sacrifices they are making for our nation."As I've watched the president and his family, I've been struck by the poise and determination with which he and his family have taken on this burden," she explained. "Their closeness and the support they provide to one another, seems to embody the hope our nation needs at this time. Whether or not one agrees with his policies and ideals, I feel like the Obamas as the First Family represent America's best qualities."

Each doll body is soft-sculpted out of fabric over a wire armature. The hands, feet and faces are sculpted out of polymer clay; the eyes are glass and the hair is mohair; and the costumes were made out of wool, silk and cotton.

The four subjects range in height from 10 inches to 20 inches."I am fascinated by the intricacies of people," Tassin said. "I love to study their expressions, moods and physical features. When I began working with polymer clay, I found that I could capture the essence of an individual and allow people to study a personality more intensely than they could when viewing a live subject."

In her youth, Tassin said she discovered that the visual arts allowed her to convey ideas, emotions and dreams in a way that mere words often failed to achieve. She said drawing, painting and sculpting were the vocabulary of a visual language that allowed her to share her unique view of the world with those around her.

Today, Tassin is the mother of three grown children and grandmother of five. But her art has always remained a passion, and recently she found inspiration in sculpting art dolls. Some of her dolls were recently featured in Contemporary Doll Collector Magazine.

However, Tassin said she normally does not sell or even display her work. In fact, she said her family pushed her into entering the ArtPrize competition."It's more just something I like to do," she said of the doll art.

Once she agreed to enter the contest, Tassin said she decided to make something new for it — rather than something from her collection — and it took about three months to create the Obama dolls. Her daughter, Danielle Fogel of Spring Lake, assisted her in entering the contest and setting up the display at its venue in the past few days.But Tassin said she isn't really in it to win."Winning would be wonderful, but I'm just happy to have this whole experience," she said. "I'm sorry the creating process is over. I worked on it everyday and I feel kind of empty now that it's done."

Tribune Writer Marie Havenga contributed to this story.

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Let me introduce you to BoneHead Studios

I told you before that I have become enamored of Art Dolls, but I have to say that this blog Bone Head Studios has to be my favorite of all time. Her work is nothing short of miraculous!

What I especially love is that when you visit her blog, you get to see how she makes these pieces. She takes photos as she works, so you see the process from the original sketch to the finished product.

Here are some of the pictures of finished art dolls from her blog. Please visit her and leave her a comment if you like the work. I find new ideas and new details every time I visit, and I visit often.