Today's member spotlight is Kira O'Keefe of Spider Sisters. Kira is from Black Isles, Scotland.
What Kinds of Dolls do you create?I have eclectic tastes, but most of my art dolls have some aspect of Gothic or Steampunk style, I do love ANYTHING vintage so I make vintage style dolls as well, I do try to use something vintage in every piece I create.
Where did you learn to make dolls?
I'm self taught, I simply let the doll become who they are, guiding me along the way, telling me a life story that dictates how they will look, dress and what kind of attitude or character they posses. I never take the time to sketch, I don't use patterns or molds when making my art, and I change a lot of things on some dolls and not a single thing on others. I do keep a life size skeleton, and skull in my work space so I get a realistic idea of proportion if that's what I'm going for.
What research do you do before you create?It depends really, with the likes of Mary Mary Quite Contrary, I researched real plants for her Gothic garden, making sure her garden only included real plants that were carnivorous, black or poison... I think a true Gothic garden would contain that sort of thing.
If I'm making a doll from days gone by, I make sure I know what kind of undergarments were worn, the hairstyles, and fashions that were in vogue for that era. I like things to be period correct, I feel the history of fashion is required research to dress a doll.... If they didn't use elastic to hold up their knickers in an era that I'm creating for, you won't find elastic in that doll's knickers, when making dolls that came before sewing machines, I don't use one, I hand stitch everything. I'm sort of a stickler for things being as correct as possible.
Do you have a favorite doll that you have made?
What are your favorite materials to create with?I Love LaDoll and Creative Paperclay. I prefer vintage fabrics when possible, adore old buttons, and am enamored by anything rusty. I Love found objects and things from nature, small bits of sea glass, a gorgeous stone, feathers.....
Where does your inspiration come from?Hmm that's a hard one. I create dolls to sooth my over-active imagination, I kid all the time about "the voices in my head." They tell me things like "buy that piece of fantastic vintage velvet, it would make a perfect gown for me!"
The right piece of fabric, trim, or glass button may conjure a doll so powerful I have to rush home and start as soon as possible. Music, nature, and history inspire me too. I'm told I have an odd sense of humor and I like to put a twist on my dolls when possible, so I guess something a little whimsical and out there inspires me too.
Do have any doll artists that inspire you?My Mom was the first artist to ever inspire me, we had a full size floor to ceiling marionette theater in our living room for a long time when I was a kid! My Mom created the marionettes, first sculpting the heads in clay, then making a molds,then doing the same with the hands. She made the cloth bodies, painted and strung them, then put on shows for my sisters and me, it was all fascinating to watch as a kid, who wouldn't want to create such magic after seeing it first hand!
My Mom first inspired, then encouraged me to do whatever I wanted to in life, without her telling me I could do it, I would never have tried. Robert McKinley, & books by Susan Oroyan really inspired me too. Outside the doll world, I really love unusual and whimsical, so Tim Burton instantly springs to mind.
What advice would you give new doll artists?Don't give up! Your first doll may be a disaster, sure you will make a few mistakes, think that you could have done it better, and you probably can, that's the point, if you give up you achieve nothing! Create your own style, work with your heart, not just your hands, and don't skimp on quality supplies.
What is your dream project?My dream project would probably involve being able to work with the likes of Robert McKinley or Tim Burton but more realistically I'm working on my dream project every day! I'm a full time doll maker, it doesn't get any better than that for me! Life is but a dream....there are so many dolls to bring to life!
Where can our fans find you on line?http://www.spidersisters.com