|"Portlandia" protecting the city of Portland|
I was very fortunate to attend the 2015 Niada Conference (National Institute of American Doll Artists) that took place in Portland, Oregon. I had a wonderful time, travelling to the conference with friends (on Amtrak for the first time), to taking a master doll class with renowned cloth doll artist Shelley Thorton, being enthralled with the key note speaker, Ronnie Burkett to enjoying the vibrant, funky city that is Portland!
I have long admired Shelley Thorton's "painterly" cloth dolls. They evoke a sense of innocence, purity, and fun that is the best of childhood:
|Her trademark is the fabric sculpted hair shapes for the hairdo.|
|Shelley's demonstration head|
I was thrilled to share my love of art dolls with my sister who travelled from Toronto and joined me in Portland. While I took doll classes and attended lectures she was busy visiting the sites of this fun city:
|Washington Park (a natural park that includes a rose garden and a zoo!|
|One of the funky neighbourhoods complete with metal sculptures in the front yard.|
|My sister and I at the Gallery Night|
My sister was able to attend the "Gallery Night" (open to the public) where the newest work of NIADA artists is presented. What a thrill:
|A porcelain artist from Sidney, BC (Heather Mesiak)|
|Tanya Marriott (current NIADA President)|
|Susan Scogin (she made us a Oregon pioneer souvenir doll)|
|Russian artist Ima Naroditskaya (one of my favourite pieces)|
|Made by E. J. Taylor|
What is a trip to a doll conference without a wee bit of shopping? I visited the Fabric Depot, Bolt, the artsy Gallery district on Alberta Street, and the downtown Button Emporium to name but a few! The local Portland doll group gave an opening day tea at the Museum for the attendees and showed us their dolls-such talent:
|Internal armature in Caroline (first Laika studio movie)|
|Creative Supervisor, Geergina Hayns adjusting the face on one of the puppets.|
|Cute character puppet from the Box Trolls movie|
|My favourite puppet.|
There were many more wonderful highlights, not the least of which was connecting with fellow doll makers, some new, some very experienced but all full of enthusiasm and love of the dolls!
I would highly recommend attending a NIADA doll conference should it come to a region near you. Next year's conference will be on the east coast in Washington DC.