the story thing…

I am going to explain why I don’t write stories for my dolls, but first-

sometimes I go away for a day or two and it’s hard to get back to the blog. I am in the middle of an ocean of wip’s right now, so nothing really to post. Just a lot of potential…

The post has to have a photo though- I received an email last week asking if I was the M. Kirchner who made the mugs in the photo attached to said email. Asking if I was still making them. Her mom collected them and she wanted to continue the collection- it was wonderful to know that the old work is cherished.

Many people have suggested that I write stories or bios for my dolls. Many other doll artists do this and do it very well. This is why I don’t.

1. When I was a senior in art school, I was finishing up a ceramic sculpture. Someone came over to look at it and started describing what they thought was going on in the piece, what they thought the story was. I was amazed at the richness of their narrative- much better then I could do. I realized that, left to their own imagination, viewers would come up with much more interesting stories then I every could and they enjoyed doing it.

2. When I made functional pottery, I pictured the user contemplating the images on their coffee cup or cereal bowl. The image might draw them into their own fantasy world (away from the real world) and inspire different stories each morning. I hoped to make a world in bowl- or at least a little vignette.

3. A few years ago I bought a doll from someone who wrote rich and wonderful bios of her creations. I did not see the bio before I received the doll. When I read it, I was taken aback. I’m not quite sure how to say this- I didn’t like her (the doll) from her description… I mean, I liked the doll itself- just not how she was described in the story… I thought- I would never be friends with this person- she would totally intimidate me in real life. She was smarter, more popular, more accomplished… I don’t know- the kind of person that I feel completely overwhelmed by. That certainly clarified the issue for me-no stories.  Resolve is easy when you don’t want to do it anyway!

I want to make characters that will inspire peoples imaginations- viewers will come up with their own stories. The dolls will be a catalyst for the imagination. No static story lines. I absolutely LOVE when people tell me who they think my dolls are- it always makes me feel successful when my work creates a spark.

I don’t want to sound like I have anything against other people writing up stories for their work- it just isn’t what I want to do.

14 thoughts on “the story thing…

  1. I think your dolls have a visual narrative anyhow. Stories are great and some dolls need them to flush out what is going on with them… But yours are like painting or an illustration.
    You can get lost in them without a story.

  2. Show not tell. Reminds me of my poetry writing days, leaving things open-ended. It does indeed make for a more interesting time.

  3. i think it depends on the artist or craftsperson. I love how lively your dolls are, and think they come with ready with their own secret lives without you ever having to provide it for them.

  4. It’s wonderful, how we can make these choices, and I like the way you articulated your choice – not to provide stories for your dolls. It’s all about knowing oneself, I think, and having the experience and confidence to make the choices, which fit us. An artist friend once told me that she used words with her art because they made things so much clearer for her and avoided confusion as to her intent. I was surprised at my vehemence, when I more or less said; “Nooooooo!” In my experience, words were much more tricky and difficult that the visual. And the closer I got to particularity in my writing, the more I found the words to be misleading. Like many things attached to creativity, there is no real right or wrong, just what is right or wrong for the individual.

  5. Fine with me! Did you feel the need to justify yourself?! I think it shows remarkable creative maturity and generosity to allow owners to create their own doll from your starting point. I think so much of life is served up on a plate and in such a rush that many folk have creativity busting their seams and have nowhere to vent that – you’re providing a public service!! Besides anything else – you must put so much of your energy into each doll to expect more would be just greedy! t.xxxxxxx

  6. not justify- just explain :-)
    I have had enough people suggest it that I felt like I needed to say why.

  7. you should hear the imaginative stories Peanut makes up about “mimi-fairy-godmother” doll as he likes to call her…she been to more amazing places that i’ve ever imagined.

    i always wondered about those American Doll collection (you know them?) plastic dolls that come with a book of their life…i wonder if little girls bore easily with them since there is no need for use of imaginative play with them.

  8. Hello Mimi, I don’t currently sell dolls but as you know I used to make and sell dolls:) I found myself writing a few lines to make people chuckle mostly, they were not really whole life stories…. I enjoyed doing this. I knew some people looked at my dolls online to read the story and see how ridiculous it was. For me it was all about being playful and not taking myself too seriously. But I wondered if some people simply got a two second giggle and moved on… I enjoy your dolls very much and for me they are absolutely their own storymakers…. I’ve now come to stage when I am happier describing a little of the process behind an artwork, and telling about materials used, but I won’t ever make up elaborate stories about a collage, for example. It is like Sonya said: show don’t tell. OK I am rambling and need to get back to the stitching… x

  9. This was an interesting post. I like that you said, “I don’t want to sound like I have anything against other people writing up stories for their work- it just isn’t what I want to do.” That’s such a good reason!

    I like writing, but I get that thrill in other ways. :-) I do name my dolls, though. I have a very hard time finishing them unless they have a name.

    Love the blackeyed doll.


  10. Your dolls ar so full of life and character that they speak for themselves! I think that is a sign of a successful dollmaker – somebody who creates dolls that tell their own story – and that’s what you do.

  11. Pingback: Why not to write stories | Needle and Clay

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