Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I happened to meet Kim, a delightful doll artist, when she responded to my Angel Stories feature on DZFANTASY. It was then that I found out she creates these adorable, life-like, soft-sculpted babies which she calls her VANILLA BEAN BABIES. She so kindly agreed to take the time to let me do a feature of her and her "babies", so I hope you enjoy learning more about Kim and her VANILLA BEAN BABIES. You will see photos of some of Kim's "babies" throughout the interview. Kim used Judi Ward's, Newborn Alice patterns for the first baby shown here, and the last baby pictured. The rest of the babies were designed from her own patterns.

What led you to start creating your art/craft?

My grandmother was an artist. She worked in lots of mediums and enjoyed doing crafts with me. I never got to spend a lot of time with her as she lived across the country from me, but I did get to spend a couple summers. She was also an art teacher. She did teach me sketching, and I used to admire her paintings. She spent some time trying to teach me to sew. I wish I had been more interested at the time. Well, like most women, I was busy building a career and raising children. Now that they are older and I have more time to myself, I decided to paint, specifically portraits. I also collect dolls, I love baby dolls, and when I saw my first cloth art doll I was hooked! I love, love, love the medium. I love all styles but especially, of course, babies. That was my aha moment. I could combine my love of dolls with my love of painting faces. The doll was a Jan Shackelford cloth baby. So began my obsession.

How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?

I dabbled in polymer clay sculpting and enjoyed it, but once I found cloth dolls I felt creatively fulfilled. I think they are so timeless. They are wonderful heirlooms and the more they are loved and handled, all the better.

What aspect of creating your art/craft do you find the most enjoyable?

I think it's a tie between dreaming up the next doll begging to come to life and the actual painting.

If you had to choose a fruit OR a vegetable, to describe your art/craft, what would you choose, and why?

Great Question! Hmmm... Vegetable. I love fruit, but veggies are sturdy and beautiful as well, but not as delicate as many fruits tend to be. Fruits are pretty and an art in themselves the beauty of vegetables takes you by surprise.

If you had to choose one other medium in which to display your “creativity”, what would that be, and why?

Portraits in oil.

What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art/craft?
My thing is making dolls that are relatively simple in design yet have an aspect of realism. There really seems to be no limit to what a textile artist can achieve. I love the whimsical dolls, surreal dolls, amazingly creative dolls by other artists. They inspire me.

What advice do you have for other artists/crafters?

I find that when I wait for the muse, never force the process from the start of the doll to the end, I am happy with the results. Sometimes, it can be days or weeks before I get my next doll started as I work out details in my head or life interferes and I try not to get frustrated. I want the best result because the vision is a gift. The doll is the reward.
Kim, thanks again for taking the time to share your "babies" with us. Kim told me she is working on several new "babies", and perhaps she will let me show them out here when they are "born". If you'd like to learn more about Vanilla Bean Babies click on the link below.



Casie said...

I love Kim's babies! :)

The Muse said...

Oh you just want to pick these up and kiss'em!!! LOL So sweet LOL !!

Kathy said...

Very cute and huggable!