Janette Forest looks at the beginnings of an art doll, the head and hands done in polymer clay.
“I wonder who you’ll be,” she says thoughtfully.
Although Forest has been making the dolls for only about two years she has already created a family that includes wizards, clowns, fairies, cowboys, gypsies and mermaids.
“When I start, I never know what will turn out. It’s always a fascinating surprise watching who emerges. The dolls bring together all my interests, sculpture, painting, sewing and making jewelry. I can just get lost in the process,” she said.
She’s always on the lookout for interesting pieces of wood and rock for displays and material of all kinds for clothes for the dolls. She makes sure the props are authentic, going so far as to track down a real tiny mandolin and case for a musician.
The dolls start with a wire frame and polymer clay heads and clay or soft body parts.
“Each one is different. I couldn’t make two the same if I tried. I think the dolls bring out different aspects of my personality and people can see aspects of themselves in the dolls. Sometimes I just look at the dolls and say, ‘Where did you come from?’” she said.
“While I’m working on the dolls, I think of their names and backstories; it just comes to me. I will tell people if they want or they can make up their own names and stories.”
Forest made soft dolls before she started the OOAK (one of a kind) art dolls, which are popular collectibles.
“I think people are surprised when they first see them. They will usually look at the eyes and face first, then the costume and smile or laugh. They go for the emotions and moods the dolls invoke. People react strongly to the clowns, they either love them or hate them. Some people go for the fantasy right away and others like the more realistic, even ones that seem to tell a story, like the old cowboy. I had a five-year-old girl who was enthralled by a little old lady doll.”
She is pleased that some people have started collections of her dolls just as others have collections of the jewelry she has been making for years with stones from around the world.
“I have been asked to teach doll making and as soon as I can understand what I am doing, I would like to teach. I would also like to work from photos making someone’s grandchild into a fairy for example, or anyone into a real or fantasy character they might like to be,” said Forest.
She will be at the 38th annual Creative Chaos this weekend at the Vernon Recreation Centre. For more information on Forest’s work, see her web site at janetteforestcreations.net
Creative Chaos runs Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m More than 200 vendors will be set up in three buildings with four rooms of crafts. The event features a food fair, live entertainment and this year, an indoor creative acrivities centre and rest area.
Admission is free, but a donation of a non-perishable item to the Salvation Army Food Bank would be greatly appreciated.
You can follow Creative Chaos on Twitter @CreativeChaosBC or on Facebook at facebook.com/CreativeChaosBC
Creative Chaos has been a tremendous asset to The Salvation Army’s Food Bank for many years.
“With over 800 children from more than 1,200 households accepting assistance through the food bank so far in 2013 we certainly are appreciative of the continued support we receive through the annual Creative Chaos event,” saidDavid MacBain, Community Ministries director.
The Salvation Army invites the public to the largest craft show in western Canada, the 38th annual Creative Chaos, Friday to Sunday. They are prepared to receive food and cash donations in support of the food bank. Food bins will be at each entrance door and the familiar Christmas Kettles will be at the Rec. Centre and Vernon Curling Club entrances.
Items currently needed at the food bank include: peanut butter, canned tomatoes and sauce, vegetables, fruit, rice, brown beans, powdered milk, kids’ snack items, other nutritious food items.
Alternate donation ideas: toothpaste, soaps and shampoos, razors, and deodorant.