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500 Handmade Dolls - Book Review

"What exactly is a doll?" With that question doll artist Akira Blount begins her introduction to the book 500 Handmade Dolls, Modern Explorations of the Human Form, edited by Valerie Shrader. By the end of the book we have been shown 5oo possible answers but left with the impression that we have only scratched the surface of possibilities for doll makers.

I have always loved dolls; especially baby dolls and cloth dolls. Making my dolls is a combination of art and therapy, bringing one as much joy in the doing as in the having. Looking at the breathtakingly beautiful color pictures that fill every page is as therapeutic as it is inspiring.

Make no mistake, some of the dolls left me scratching my head and wondering "why?". But even the dolls that didn't appeal to me visually, had something to teach. Whether that might be new materials to learn about, familiar materials used in a different way, or just a concept that seemed unusual, there is plenty to learn and think about in this book.

This is not a "how to" book. There are no patterns or instructions available here. But it is an amazing source of inspiration and motivation. It could be considered a Coffee Table book because anyone would find the photos pleasurable to look at, but it is so much more. I spent several hours just looking at the photos and several more reading the names and lists of materials included with each doll. I feel challenged to try my hand at some new materials and techniques, and explore using materials I am long familiar with in new ways. This is the beauty of the book. No matter what type of doll you are familiar with or prefer, you will find something in this book to spur your imagination.

If you have never bought a book about dolls, this may not be the first one you should buy. But then again, it might be the impetus for a whole new art form in your life. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves dolls, art or just beautiful photos.

500 Handmade Dolls, Modern Explorations of the Human Form
edited by Valerie Shrader with introduction by Akira Blount
published in 2007 by Lark Books
ISBN-13: 978-1-57990-867-6
ISBN-10: 1-57990-867-5
List Price: $24.95 US

Making and Dressing Cloth Dolls
Ebook with patterns and instructions to make 5 cloth dolls as well as chapters on general doll making techniques.The book includes 21 inch Lalena Doll, 21 inch David Doll, Bear Dolls, 9 inch Destiny Doll and 15 inch Annie Doll, all together in one handy book. 53 pages.Making and Dressing Cloth Dolls.

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