Akira Blount | Man in Lion Costume
|Biography Statement Ask the Artist|
Akira Blount's work is in the permanent collection of the Louvre (Musée des Arts Decoratif), and the Musée de Poupees in Josselin, France. Based in Bybee, Tennessee, she travels throughout the South winning numerous awards at crafts shows and fairs. Contemporary Doll Magazine, Doll Life, and Dollreader have all taken note of her work.
Blount has served on the Board of Trustees of the Southern Highlands Handicraft Guild and the Tennessee Association of Craft Artists. Since 1981 she has worked full time in her studio creating dolls and other art from textiles.
Dollmaking began for me about twenty years ago in response to my children's need for toys, but I soon discovered that it satisfied the child in me far beyond its original purpose. The doll evokes in me a singular emotional response and I do not stray from that association with play and childlike fantasy. At the same time, the form provides me with a valid artistic canvas upon which all the same elements of other art forms come together--color, line, texture, and form. I use cloth because of its immediate spontaneous quality. Each doll is constructed of cloth and stuffed with polyfill. The hands and faces are made of a fine cotton knit which is hand sculpted with needle and thread. The eyes are embroidered and facial color and shadow added with pencil. The hair is either of natural fiber, such as wool or flax, or hand-painted with textile pigments. Clothing consists of cloth, leather, pinecones, feathers, etc. and embellished with beads, buttons, lace, embroidery and quilting.
I have committed myself to the use of cloth because of its immediate spontaneous quality. Originally, only the most lowly of dolls were made with cloth and I find that the room for innovation in the medium is wide open. I have dedicated myself to that innovation and find the challenge of elevating the concept of the cloth doll to new heights irresistible. The limitations lie only with myself and the changing nature of cloth.
As dedicated as I am to pursuing what is fresh and new in doll making, I am equally committed to what is sound and fundamental in design and craftsmanship. I am committed to excellence, yet I do not want to lose sight of that emotion, fun, and childlike fantasy which dolls inspire in me. I enjoy sharing that with others. In a world of problems, I feel it is important to never be without those elements which seek to connect us with the child within.
Where do you get the ideas for your work?
Do you work alone on your craft, or with others?
Do you ever teach, or take on apprentices?
What's the most exciting part of creating your works?
What's the most difficult part of creating your works?
What sort of technology do you use in your work? Has the technology of your craft changed dramatically over the past 100 years?
Do you have any advice for somebody just starting out?
Can you share a "secret of the trade" with us--something nobody else knows or that you found out only after years of experience? Put another way--what do you wish somebody had told you when you were just starting out that might have saved you hours of wasted effort?
What are we missing by experiencing your work through the Internet and not seeing/hearing/feeling/smelling/touching it in person?
|Sonja Blomdahl||Ken Carlson|