Monday, March 10, 2008

Francine Haskins Doll Workshop

On Sunday, March 9th I attended my montly Doll Workshop with Francine Haskins at the Anacostia Museum in Southeast Washington, DC. I love the energy of this group because I am among some of the most talented doll artists in the world. They are a humble group and have been led by Francine Haskins, noted mixed media and doll artist, since 1998.

Francine guides us to think outside the box and to use our creativity to the maximum. Right now we are preparing for our class exhibit which will be held during The Sixth Black Doll Artist Doll Show and exhibition, Saturday, April 26, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 27, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., (Artist reception and artist talk 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.).

As I looked at everyone's projects for the show, I became severely intimidated. I spoke of my frustration to Francine and she through a blue ball of yarn at me. That was the moment that I had to laugh and realize I was operating out of my ego and not by my creative spirit. You see the group is not about competition. The workshop participants are about the love of making art - good, bad or ugly. It is about commitment to the craft and loving it all at the same time. I also asked if I could do one project instead of two. She said I had to do both projects.

What are those projects? Well one is to make a doll that is associated with a box. The doll could be in a box, coming out of the box, etc. The second project is to create an action scene using an area the size of a common placemat. My project is to create a woman's personal space for the box project and a yoga studio for the second project. I am having my dear friend Kenny Smith, my carpenter, to assist me with the yoga studio prop.

Despite my personal ranting it was a joyous occasion because one of our own Joanna Banks, one of our founding members and doll artist extraordinaire, is celebrating her 65th birthday and she is retiring. This will mean plenty of more doll making for her.

Also, Francine announced our next project- using found objects including tree limbs to make an Afro-centric inspired doll. Francine discussed her love of finding found objects, liquor bottles, branches from trees, scraps of metal, etc. while she takes her daily walks in her community. She lectured to us about how to look beyond these items to create something special and unique. I listened intently as she discussed her visions for finding several found objects that she displayed during class. I was amazed at how we as individuals can look beyond the immediate and visualize something new and fantastic. This is something I do constantly in my interior design work.

I left the workshop renewed and optimistic that I could indeed complete my current projects in anticipation of creating something new. As I arrived home, ironically I saw some interesting branches in my front yard blown off of trees in the March wind. I new this was a sign for me to continue to create and renew my love for creating dolls.