Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Handmade Dolls By Vanessa Brantley-Newton





Most folks know me as an illustrator, but I am also a crafter and doll maker. I have been making dolls for years. I love them and I enjoy the whole process of making a doll. I put my humor, love and spirit into each one. My very good friend Nancy Laboz of "The Parcel" in Montclair, NJ carries my handmade beauties. She has displayed both my paper mache dolls as well as my Soft Fairies. A woman came in to purchase one of my dolls and told Nancy," I swear these dolls have some kind of energy. You can feel it from the window." This made me smile so big because I don't want to create just any old doll, but something that makes you dream, imagine, or smile. Spiritually I need to be in a really good place when I'm crafting these dolls, because I don't know who will purchase one of them. It may be a parent with a very sick child or a crafter needing some inspiration or just someone who wants to collect something beautiful, so I want to confident that I have put the best of me into the treasure they choose. They are crafted from both new and old fabrics, notions and trims. I really love to create one right after I've read a children's book. It all helps in the creative process. I think my dolls come not just from my head, but from my pen and most of all my heart. I love to just give them away and watch the expression on peoples' faces. In the world we live in, so few people are kind and give freely. I don't give just because I'm a Christian. I give because I just love to see that look on a persons face that says, "Are you really giving this to me? For Free? Okay what's the catch?" I get the pleasure of telling them I just wanted to bless you today. In doing so, something good is released to me at the same time. More creativity comes and with that more ideas. I like to say it keeps my creative streams free. I get asked often by other crafters, "Why do you give them your resources and information? Aren't you afraid someone will copy your work?" Honestly I use to feel this way before I came to understand that there is a gift that only God can give that belongs to you. It is as unique as your finger prints. No other person before or after you will have the same. What I do as an artist is what I do. They can try to copy as much as they like, but ultimately my works of art will have my own brand of DNA. I'm not saying one should not be wise, but understand that there is only competition if you by into it. I refuse to tie myself down with other peoples thoughts. I have enough of my own as do we all. As always I leave you with this question. What is it that you do that you put your whole heart and spirit into? You know, the thing that makes other say, "I really feel this?" It only happens when we quiet the voices of the nay sayers and do our thing that we have been called to do. Have a wonderfully creative day. V

16 comments:

2 Geechee Girls said...

Well heck, now I'm all inspired and everything and I'm not even an artist or crafter. Thanks!

Roberta said...

Wow, you are one talented lady!

Lisa M Griffin said...

these are so lovely, they each seem to have their own unique personality and they have been photographed well on top!
You are such an interesting, creative artist... its always a treat to stop by your blog for a visit.
Thanks for sharing.

david santos said...

This is ART!!!
Congratulations.

Deborah Ross said...

Well, the answer to your question is, I put my whole heart and soul into my colored pencil drawings and my paintings.
Vanessa, I didn't know you made dolls. For years I've bought doll art magazines whenever I go to a bookstore. I just envy all of you dollmakers. What a gift! And you are such a talented artist, too. Wow. You're too much!

Bella Sinclair said...

Ok, the sound you just heard -- from all the way across the ocean and continents -- is my jaw dropping and hitting the floor. These are unlike any dolls I've ever seen! Just TRY to copy them. You can't. They even have such shapely legs! Oh, Vanessa, these are absolutely incredible and gorgeous and delightful and delicious and, and, and! You have a frightening amount of talent. Please put some of them on Etsy!

bonaska said...

Very beautiful dolls! I like much the first with red hair! Cute! In what kind are there made?

bonaska

Flying Colors said...

Vanessa this is so wonderful, these dolls definitely have your DNA all over them. What a lovely way to spread comfort, care and love.
I'm sure that who ever gets one these dolls, will always remember you with their heart! :) I will.

flower girl said...

WOW...These are adorable!!!soo beautiful! :)

aimee said...

these are outstanding, vanessa. do you create their faces, too? they're so expressive. and what a wonderful philosophy you have on creating and giving!

Fannie said...

Amen! Thanks for your words and for sharing your thoughts. I've experienced the same. I have given many of my dolls, bears and art away. And you're right, what returns is worth more than anything one can create. Congrats and continued success to you. I'm glad I found you. I'll be back.

ChuletinDesigns said...

Gorgeous dolls, I would love that my mom will see your work. She lives in Cuba and she love making dolls. I have a few pictures of them in my blog. I see so much life in your dolls that in many people. Great job!!!

theatregirl said...

I love your dolls they are so beautiful and your work is inspiring. I would love to learn to make dolls.

Andrea

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thehungryartist said...

I love your dolls, Vanessa!
I like making dolls too, but they take a lot of time...
Inspiring to see yours!