Dolls to make her heart sing

Rotorua Weekender - - News -

■ Tell us a bit about your­self. Who am I? My dolls tell that story! I have lived in Ro­torua for 50 years. I have raised three amaz­ing chil­dren and been in­volved in com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Plun­ket, and art events in­clud­ing a res­i­dency at The Arts Vil­lage.

I am pas­sion­ate about en­abling and em­pow­er­ing peo­ple (in­clud­ing my­self) to be­come the best they can be.

■ How long have you been an artist for and how did it start?

My first adult en­counter with doll mak­ing was about 20 years ago. I read two books — Mother Plays With Dolls by Eli­nor Peace Bai­ley and Doll Mak­ing As A Trans­for­ma­tive Process by Pamela Hast­ings. My heart pounded with ex­cite­ment as I knew this art form was for me — a sim­ple hu­man form which could ex­press what I needed to say. I am self-taught and work in­tu­itively most of the time.

■ What me­dia do you work with/ sort of art do you cre­ate?

My pas­sion is work­ing with tex­tiles, es­pe­cially those which al­ready have a story em­bed­ded in their con­struc­tion and use, like old linens and table­cloths.

I trans­form these ma­te­ri­als into dolls, textile fig­ures and soft sculp­tures.

■ Where do you get in­spi­ra­tion from?

Each fig­ure is a sto­ry­teller and a story keeper. The start­ing point for each textile sculp­ture is my own life story. Per­haps a life event or a re­ac­tion to a world event, or an en­counter with in­ter­est­ing ma­te­ri­als or im­mer­sion in po­etry or art.

The act of cre­at­ing is an act of self­dis­cov­ery and trans­for­ma­tion.

■ What do you en­joy about cre­at­ing art?

Ev­ery as­pect of doll mak­ing makes my soul sing — ex­plor­ing ideas and con­cepts, de­sign­ing sculp­tural forms, au­di­tion­ing fabrics and em­bel­lish­ments, cut­ting and stitch­ing, mount­ing or pos­ing the fig­ures, and shar­ing their sto­ries in per­son and on-line. (www.heart­felt­dolls.wee­ The in­tegrity and au­then­tic­ity of this cre­ative process speaks to oth­ers. They hear the story. They feel the en­ergy. We are con­nected in our hu­man­ity.

I love in­te­grat­ing tex­tiles into in­stal­la­tions, such as 200 knit­ted breast pros­thet­ics which form a three cir­cuit labyrinth and in­vite med­i­ta­tion on those liv­ing with breast cancer. I have wrapped 200 rocks with fab­ric and yarn, re­flect­ing on the essence of what it is to be hu­man. The rocks cre­ate a labyrinth: a walk to our cen­tre and out again.

■ What do you have com­ing up/ what will you be up to in the near fu­ture?

I am hum­bled and ex­cited to have three of my textile fig­ures se­lected for the In­door Gallery at the NZ Sculp­ture On­shore ex­hi­bi­tion at Fort Taka­puna.

This event runs from Novem­ber 3 to 18 and is a ma­jor fundraiser for Women’s Refuge. For more in­for­ma­tion on the event go to www.nzs­culp­ture­on­

Photo / Supplied

Ro­torua’s Liz Pearce with a num­ber of the dolls she has made.

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