Artists accepted into the NIADA must meet exacting standards for excellence of execution and must show a unique and recognizable identity of design. The NIADA has always pursued a strong educational mission to help artists meet these standards and each year at their annual conference, visiting artists may bring one or two pieces of their work to informal critique seminars where NIADA artists share their knowledge and expertise.
The 2011 NIADA Classic Conference will take place August 25-28th in Denver, Colorado. In addition to speakers, exhibits, and doll making demonstrations, the NIADA will host a doll-making school from August 22 – 25th with workshops on topics such as “Choosing, Coloring, Manipulating and Embellishing Textiles for the Doll Artist” by Stephanie Blythe and “How to Make an Innocent Doll Face” by Ankie Daanen.
Vanessa Morrison of Van’s Doll Treasures first called my attention to the innocent faces of Embraceable Memories’ reborn dolls at the Atlanta Doll Collectors' annual doll show last Saturday. As I mentioned in my inaugural post, I am not a fan of baby dolls, but the life-like sculpting of these innocent little faces really made me appreciate these dolls as works of art.
“The alternative is I could play golf” – Celeste Morris
Celeste Morris and C.J. De Freese already have a cool day job. As partners in a theater arts business they design sets and create large Styrofoam sculptures, but they were looking for a hobby that wasn’t directed by a client. “In theater you can’t hedge the deadline,” C.J. explained. While a one of a kind reborn doll represents about 20 hours of labor depending on the hairstyle, the work process can be piecemeal in between folding laundry or watching TV. From the glass beads that give the dolls the comforting weight of a live infant to the realistic hair, materials can run $100-$150 while sculpt molds start around $65 and go as high as $150 for new models. Celeste justified her new hobby to her husband by pointing out that the end product has value. Indeed she and C.J. have supplied churches with Baby Jesus reborn dolls in place of real infants who sometimes disrupt the solemnity of services.
Hannah was C.J.’s first doll while Celeste’s first attempt, Edward, won 2nd prize at the Gwinett county fair.
Embraceable Memories recognizes the need for beautiful dolls representing the whole human family, so Celeste crafted Amani, an African American reborn whose name means “peace” in Swahili.
Ileana was named after the youngest child in a Mexican family of Celeste’s acquaintance while Olivia looks like her own babies.
Embraceable Memories reborns are truly a work of love.
For more adorable photos of Embraceable Memories dolls see my Flickr Stream: