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Member Spotlight: Lulu Moonwood Murakami

Welcome to Art Dolls Only's Member SPOTLIGHT! ADO shares an article focusing on it's members on the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th and 30th of each month! (February's 30th installment will share on the 28th)

Today's member spotlight is Lulu Moonwood Murakami. Lulu is from Portland, Oregon.

What kind of Art Dolls do you create? What is your primary medium?  

I’m currently making two types of dolls – cloth and clay dolls that have a sculpted paper clay face, and hand-painted canvas face dolls.  Both types are mixed media, in that I use paint, pencils, clay, fabric and notions, and sometimes collage or assemblage.

cloth and clay doll

painted canvas face dolls

  • How long have you been a doll maker? How did you get your start in doll making?  

Oh la la… I’ve been making dolls off and on for about 35 years!  I wasn’t all that good at sewing clothes, but I wanted to do it myself anyway.  The dolls were an outgrowth of that – that and my dream of being a toymaker one day!

Where did you learn to make dolls?  

On my own at first, then using patterns, then making up my own patterns again.  I learned about paper clay from “Gritty Jane” DesRosier of Cloth and Clay Dolls.

Share a little about your first doll.

 I made my first doll when I was a teenager, as a gift for my mom.  She called him Giovanni.  He has an embroidered face and colors that were predominant in our living room at the time (yes, very colorful!).  I made up the pattern myself for this very long-legged, tall doll.  I think he’s just over 3 feet tall!

How has your practice changed over time?  

Other than the addition of paper clay to sculpt the heads, the practice itself hasn’t changed much, but my attitude towards my art has changed as I’ve come to better appreciate the value of art dolls – my own as well as those of other artists.

What art do you most identify with? 

 Mixed media folk art, outsider art, funky art quilts.

Do you have a favorite doll that you have made?  

I have several favorite dolls that I can’t bear to part with!

And then there are the dolls that just for whatever reason really touch my heart, and I’ll be really sad to see them go one day.

Oh!  Little Miss Spooky just sold!  I know she is going to a good home, but I will miss her!

Where does your inspiration come from? 

 Ethnic folk wear, whimsical goth people, Dia de los muertos celebrations, Frida Kahlo, colorful and pattern-full contemporary art.

What does your work area look like? 

I have two rooms where I work on my dolls.  First I cut and sew in the textile studio, then I sculpt and paint in the painting studio.

sewing studio insanity

painting studio on a clean day!

  • What memorable responses have you had to your work?  

I’ve gotten a wide range of comments, from “They’re captivating” to “They’re weird, but in a good way!

  • What advice would you give new doll artists?  

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box! 

  • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? 

“Keep going.”

  • Do you have any tips on marketing art dolls?  

Join a doll group; look for venues where doll collectors would shop.

  • What are you currently working on?

 More dolls and paintings of dolls!  I’ve started creating backgrounds for some of my dolls.  I call these “art doll assemblages.”

  • Where can our fans find you on line? 

My website:
My etsy shop:
My facebook page:

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