Dollface was born from the COVID lockdown. The only connection I can make with the two is that the lockdown gave me the time to really bring out my inner child. It started with a clothespin fairy that I made, seriously out of fun and boredom. I don’t consider myself crafty at all simply because I don’t have the perfectionist skills needed to make something presentable and a lack of patience in other areas doesn’t help. Well, I took my little fairy doll and took a few phone photos.
And after I had a laugh, I thought about my short time in therapy and the psychology of using dolls as ourselves to act out traumas. I didn’t create Dollface for that exact reason but the thought of creating a doll personae of me was appealing. So, I spent hours, days with just my ideas and no actual online DIY help to create her and then with a little online help along with a wonderful dressmaker friend’s gift of fabric scraps, I’ve begun making costumes for her. I did have patience there having to sew everything by hand, not having a sewing machine. Plus, the act of sewing has created a sort of meditation for me.
I created her without a face so that the expression comes from the interpreter. In addition, my face has always been my best feature and I exploited that with my expressions in my photographs. I wanted to take that out of the equation. Having a doll take my place felt like a natural direction after years of wanting to to create self-portraits that were not so obvious.
The name Dollface might not sound very inventive but Dollface was an endearing name my maternal grandmother used to call me when I was a child and one I will cherish so it made sense to call her that. In fact, I am not embarrassed to say that I often hug her and there is a good feeling I get from her so yes, she is therapeutic. She is also fun to pose and play around with and of course there is humor in the photos. However, given that I am using similar themes and symbolism to my previous work, I want some sense of seriousness here and perhaps I can take her further than I could with me. In the meantime, I am having a great time creating costumes and scenes with her. I even took her to Paris yesterday for a shoot.
I will be uploading a number of images to my website soon. As I have been on a “self-portrait journey”, I only find it fitting that this will be The Adventures of Dollface”. 🙂