THE TAKE BACK THE NIGHT PROJECT: One of my favorite things is refurbishing old Nancy Ann and Dress Me type dolls from the 1940's through 1960's. I find ones much like those at left in antique stores and on eBay. Missing limbs, with wild hair and ragged clothing (check out the plastic underwear!) they are a sad sight.
In the years I've been doing this the #metoo movement has risen, and I cannot help but see the similarities between this and the Take Back The Night marches of my young adulthood. So much time has passed, yet it seems not so much has changed for those of us who identify as female. We are still battered, abused and fighting for our rights as human beings, an endless parade of women who deserve better.
My thought for this art work was sparked by a tweet from a man observed a march in protest of yet another woman sexually assaulted and murdered. He tweeted that it was "a parade of crying women and flowers, just women and flowers". That image has stayed with me, and I felt that these dolls I have tried to give new life to were somehow representative of all those women all through the years. I would like to turn them into an art piece representative of all of us who have marched all these years to make things better, to honor our efforts, to make us more than "women and flowers".
I have an image of hundreds of dolls snaking through gallery space, along the floors, the window sills, the doorstep, with flowers, either real or beaded, scattered along their path. It's difficult to find these old dolls representing people of color, but I am determined to try, as they have always been in this parade.
I welcome people to send me dolls or other materials for this piece, and I would be happy to refurbish a doll in honor of a special woman. Please email me through the contact form button above.
THE WAIFS AND STRAYS PROJECT: I love to work with old dolls and stuffed toys (or, as I think of them, waifs and strays) to give them a new life and meaning. The purpose is not to restore them to their original condition - in many cases that is simply not possible, but rather to bring them to a state where they once again bring joy.
Through a creative use of vintage materials I am excited to bring new life to old toys, as with the New Orleans Teddy Bear shown at left. He was purchased at an antique store in New Orleans, his red striped body rotting out and missing ears and eyes. Now he sports a jaunty vintage cloth body with patches of his old suit, and snazzy new velvet ears. He's doing better now!
Miss Siouxie was found in an attic, with a body that reeked of moth balls. She was also stuffed with nasty sawdust and was missing a braid.
Siouxie's new body is made of an Indian cotton with hand-embroidery and a raw silk heart. She now has many braids of woolly yarn, and is ready to be hugged with a fresh-smelling body!
Both the NOLA Teddy and Siouxie have bodies that were patterned off of their old ones, and stuffed with fresh polyester fiberfill.
So if you have a dolly or stuffed toy who needs a bit of TLC and a new look, please feel free to contact me. I would love to work with you to refurbish your waif or stray!
Thank You For Stopping By!
Please note that all content on this website including text, photographs and the actual artworks - yes, absolutely everything! - is Copyright 2021 Ruth Marie Fledermaus. All Rights Reserved. Nothing may be used or reproduced without permission. Seriously!