TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Monday, April 7, 2008

Guest Artist: Alena Stukavcova Dolezalova of Gurumina

Alena bought some textiles from me on Etsy and I took a look at her shop. Her dolls caught my attention. I have a small collection of ethnic and folk art dolls. I'm not sure why I love them so much, but together they represent the wonderful diverse world out there. I also tried to make a couple of dolls at one point- they looked like they had been in a major car wreck! So, I appreciate the technique and how difficult it is to make them. Alena's dolls also look distinctly non-American to me. Now that I know a bit more of her story, I realize that this difference is rooted in her interest in anthropology. Alena is from the Czech Republic. I hope you enjoy her dolls as much as I do!

It took me a relatively long time to begin creating dolls. Originally, I studied book graphics and illustration in Secondary School, then conceptual arts at the Academy of Fine Arts, Theatre Anthropology and finally stage and puppet design at the Theatre Academy of Performing Arts. My greatest desire was to make puppets and follow alternative theatre. But, it all fell through as I followed another way.

After my three children were subsequently born I moved with them and with my husband from the capital city Prague to Jablonec nad Nisou. This is a small but wonderful town in the mountains with an old glass bead tradition. I thought about what I would pursue next and my choice was making dolls. I had made them before for my eldest daughter and used them as mannequins in some performances. A doll has a certain advantage over a puppet. While a puppet lives only in the actor’s hands, a doll has its own life.

I am making two sorts of dolls – partly dolls for children and dolls for collectors. In them I project my main interests – anthropology, preference for aesthetics of the 20th Century, interest in other cultures, etc. I like using body typology as defined by Ayurveda. I started with papiermache and then moved to wood and now work with fabric, which I prefer. I especially like using second hand textiles that retain the energetic traces of its previous owner.

I set up my Etsy shop to expose my work in a wider international context. I am selling on Etsy both of the above mentioned types of dolls. Now I have begun making bags, too. I am attracted by the idea of carrying a creative work on one’s shoulder for the whole day.

My real name is Alena Stukavcova Dolezalova. You are welcome to contact me through my shop Gurumina on Etsy.


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