Sunday, November 15, 2009

American Black Beauty Doll Artists' Festival of Black Dolls

As in years past the Festival of Black Dolls is always a favorite event of mine. I love dolls and since I gave away my collection when I was 18 to the children of the neighborhood who promptly destroyed them, I have been reassembling my collection with vintage girls from the south. I went kind of crazy this year buying three dolls --one from New Orleans made from black yarn, her dress hiding a dinner bell. The other's are made from corn husks--mama and baby. The mother has a painted red floral print dress on with a long apron, with baby on one hip a parcel of cotton on her head. Then I saw this really cute girl with a sack of cotton as a skirt and her black shiny face bright eyes and perky lips--I found out later that her face is made from a stone. The collector made me a deal I couldn't refuse, but I quickly left the show as I couldn't afford the temptation.

There were doll makers too, women who worked in porcelain and felt, yarn and other materials like silicon. One baby, "Bailey," made from silicon felt just like a child; her skin even looked like a newborn's. The artist used her own baby as a model. When I held her she even felt like a baby and her eyes were so striking, her hair real human hair from the artist's babies. I didn't ask her price, but such a gift would be priceless.

Alice's collection included dolls who were life-size and she showed me photos of dolls made by an Aborigine artist whose creations are life size and so real looking. I hadn't been away of molds, that certain molds can be made in a variety of hues, such as Flossie. Alice had a Flossie who was a pretty black complexioned doll, while another doll artist just across from her also had Flossie dolls who were older and younger. This artist pointed out about 5-6 other doll types. Germans have the oldest black doll forms; they used Africans as their models during slavery.

Shahara Godfrey's whimsical fairy dolls were lovely to see again, as were Ms.Lillian's creations, especially her cool nun. Karen Oyekanmi's fairies were the most distinctive feature on her table, that and the cute babies curled up napping. I wondered why she had the fairies in cages. Reminded me of Shakespeare's Tempest, where Ariel is forced by Prospero to do his bidding for her freedom. Karen said one of the fairies would bite her --so this is why she was in a cage, and the others would escape.

Yet there were a few perched on a limb who were tame and content with captivity (smile).

The baskets being auctioned were really lovely and I was tempted to bid on Karen's, her doll fashioned to look like her niece Makeda was so beautiful, but I passed.

There was music, hot food and desserts, plus music. I had fun window shopping and wishing for more space and more money to buy more dolls.


At 3:33 AM, Blogger Margaret said...

Looks like a wonderful show! I would love to go there one day!!

At 6:14 AM, Blogger The Collectors Hub said...

What a nice collection of dolls! The baby doll in the red and white striped pajamas is so life-like, I had to do a double take before I realized it was a doll.


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