Ruby Lane is sponsoring the 2017 United Federation of Doll Clubs – UFDC 68th Annual Convention which will be held Wednesday, August 2, 2017, through Saturday, August 5, 2017, at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Florida. The souvenir artist is Helen Kish of Denver, Colorado. We interviewed doll artist Helen Kish at the ‘Western Treasures’ Regional Conference in Billings, Montana. Watch out for ‘Ruby Lane Live’ with a new interview with Helen at the upcoming 68th UFDC National Convention in Orlando!
Doll artist Helen Kish has been making dolls for over 30 years. In fact, Kish became a doll artist at a time when not many were creating dolls. Her style is unusual because as an art student, she studied drawing and anatomy, as well as other types of art and apply these techniques to making dolls; she didn’t study doll making per se. In using artistic techniques to make dolls or to create doll art, she is like Tom Kelley, the photographer who used photo portrait expertise to photograph dolls and Albert Marque, the sculptor who turned to doll making.
Kish herself has said that “Of course, all artists draw inspiration from the work of masters, work that touches us at a deep level. From there, we must learn to tap into our own resources in order to be true to the art that only we can make,” she adds. “Power cannot be borrowed. I believe that at some point, I was able to find this source for myself. Although it is hard to put into words, this source is the wellspring for what I guess you could call my ‘look’.” (Dollsville Dolls and Bearsville Bears, 2017).
The Kish expressive look has been very successful. Dolls by Helen Kish are displayed all over the world. In over 30 years of doll designing and doll making, Kish has won many awards. Recently, she has begun creating ball jointed dolls, and has expanded her repertoire to create figurines. The beautifully painted eyes of a Kish doll are as haunting as the look of the antique fashion dolls by Huret.
Riley is one of Kish’s more recent ball jointed dolls, but Alice in Wonderland and Jennifer date from 1996. Some of the 90s dolls have cloth bodies and hand painted hard plastic head, hands, and feet. Their dreamy, expressive faces and bee-stung lips intrigue collectors the way a fine portrait might. Kish dolls would be at home as subjects of a painting by Velasquez, Rembrandt, or Renoir.
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