I have been slacking here on my blog, but today I have a fabulous offering, an interview with my dear friend and fellow artist, Marla Niederer. Her art is so great it takes my breath away! I asked her a few questions, and here are her answers:
How did you get into doll making? What other kind of art did you do first?
I am a self-taught artist and have always been engaged in one art project or another since my earliest childhood memories. I have always been drawn to figurative art and my earliest art was two dimensional figurative art. I have used a variety of mediums but spent a lot of time playing with pastels and acrylic paints. As a child I also loved dolls. About 24 years ago I picked up a magazine and saw dolls being created as an art form and I was fascinated. From that time on, I have been designing and creating art dolls. My earlier works were a combination of paper-clay and cloth. Currently I work all in cloth.
What is the most challenging about the dolls you make?
Pushing the boundaries of cloth. I am always working on developing and refining my techniques so that the figurative art I create matches more closely what I see in my head, heart, and dreams. My art has evolved considerably since I began and hopefully will continue to evolve as long as I create.
What is the most rewarding?
Teaching my art to others. That is my way of trying to share the benefits of engaging in creative pursuits. I have always found the process of creating a way to de-stress, to live more fully in the moment, and a way to make my heart sing.
Marla, I know you have retired from your regular job recently to work full time on your art. That is really exciting and something you have wanted to do for a long time. Tell me a bit about retiring and working on the dolls, and how that has changed your life.
I really don’t consider myself retired. I left the field of public education to enter the field of figurative art full time. The change has been transformational. I follow the rhythms of my body. I no longer wear a watch, time has become irrelevant. I eat when I am hungry and rest when I am tired. I wake up rested and eager to start each day working on my art. I am calm and able to handle stressful life situations in a much more serene manner. I smile and laugh much more than ever before. My heart sings all the time. My art is evolving at a much quicker pace. I have always been an artist and now I can be who I am all of the time. Life is bliss.
Marla, I know you're having some classes coming up soon and I would love for my readers to find out more about them.
I will be teaching an online class on Claudette: A Cage Doll on A for Artistic starting March 31, 2015. You can read more about it by clicking on this link:
I will also be teaching a live class How to Needle-Sculpt and Use Watercolors to Create a Cloth Doll Head at the Quinlan Art Doll and Teddy Bear Convention in Philadelphia on Thursday April 30, 2015. I will also have a sales table at the convention for my figurative art dolls. You can find out more about the convention and how to sign up for my class by clicking on the following link:
Here below are some earlier examples of Marla's dolls.