Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Weaver stretches creative repertoire with dolls

 This is an article I found that talks about how this retired teacher went about becoming a doll maker.

I found her methods very interesting as I never really thought of the process one goes through to be creative and to make art dolls.

After reading the following article and looking at the pictures, I will have to try her method.  Maybe that will be the way I can jump-start my creative abilities.  I have always enjoyed being a student and learning, so her method may just work.

What do you think?



CHIEFTAIN PHOTOS/JOHN JAQUES -- The intricately beaded face of one of Anzlovar's dolls is shown in this close-up.

Anzlovar's small dolls and pins as well as her large art dolls will be for sale at the 25th annual Handwoven Holiday Sale.

CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/JOHN JAQUES -- Angela Sue McDowny, one of Anzlovar's dolls, is posed in the kitchen of her home.

This long-limbed doll, with body made from hand-woven fabrics, is one of Anzlovar's creations.

Janet Anzlovar shows a doll she's finishing. The doll's dress was sewn patchwork-style from fabric woven by Anzlovar.

Method meets creativity and whimsy in this weaver's art dolls.

Big-eyed and soft-bodied, the dolls made by Janet Anzlovar are detailed masterpieces - of weaving, sewing, embroidering, beading and more.

Anzlovar, who's retired from a long career of teaching in District 70, says she approached doll-making like she did teaching.

"I enjoyed making learning units when I was teaching, so I made one outlining what I would do to be a doll-maker. I set my goals, I listed activities like taking classes and joining a doll club, I listed the resources I'd use.

"I'd take two years out, travel around, read books, meet people," she says. "I would learn to make the dolls in conventional fabric, then apply what I learned to hand-woven fabric. I really did take an academic approach. I wanted to do it right." Anzlovar already was a master weaver with more than three decades of experience when she decided about four years ago to start making dolls. She says she was interested in them but wasn't a collector.

"I had one doll, Susie, as a child. I got married and left her behind but my mother gave her to me some years back. I love her dearly - she's in my weaving room."

From one doll, she's graduated to many, nearly all of them with bodies and clothing made from fabric she's woven. Their faces are hand-drawn with colored pencils, pens and chalk. They have yarn hair and finely embellished garments. They are small and large, they have names and they have pedigrees in the detailed notes and drawings Anzlovar makes as she creates them.

"I make mainly art dolls, though I have made some children's dolls that can

be played with."

Anzlovar says she's a "detail person."

"I love color. Making these dolls has been an outlet for my weaving. I give a lot away, I sell some, I keep some."

She mentions Leslie Molen of Denver and Lauren Vlcek of Colorado Springs as mentors, and says her husband Jim has been a big help: He builds props for her doll presentations, offers constructive critiques and lets her "bounce ideas off him."

Anzlovar has taken doll-making classes in many places and now has started teaching them herself. She's been invited back to New York to teach a class in making hats for dolls. After that she wants to try making dolls from clay and from woven wire.

"Doll-makers are like weavers in that they are very creative, very giving, very friendly people," Anzlovar says.

Janet Anzlovar's art dolls will be among the hand-woven goods, pottery, jewelry and Christmas ornaments offered for sale at the 25th annual Handwoven Holiday Sale, sponsored by Handweavers Guild of Pueblo, which runs Friday through Nov. 14 at the Historic Vail Hotel, 217 S. Grand Ave. Sale hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Guest artists will be Jill Larkin and Frank Grey. For more information, call 561-3762 or e-mail

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