Page 12
Triangle Courier
28 September - 1 October 2004

8 take part in first doll project

Eight women of the Vaal recently completed an art doll adventure - a project which was possibly the first of its kind in South Africa.

Local artist, Ms Erna Buber de Villiers first took note of this project which has its origins in Georgia, America. Ms De Villiers, who was looking for something as a support to bridge her retirement year, was hooked and she assembled a group of local enthusiasts, namely Hester Viles, Joy Heyneke, Linda Scott, Marietjie Joubert, Pat Surmon, Tilla Schoeman and
Antoinette
Nienaber.
We held the show in the spacious, light and airy coffee shop at Kariba Art Center. We had intended a three-day only show, but Kariba management invited us to leave our dolls there the whole of the following week, too, and kindly offered to keep an eye on them for us. Barbara Hopley's Art students' show was running concurrently, so the place looked very interesting and colourful indeed.

Setting up the exhibition was very efficient. Each of us displayed our own doll and her accoutrements in our alotted spaces, so no one person was stuck with the hard physical labour op setting up a whole show. At the  opening our guests could purchase their own refreshments from the coffee shop, and thus we avoided the cost and labour of catering.

The show engendered a lot of interest and comment. Visitors could be seen poring over the doll's journals, which they were invited to peruse.
Linda had the great idea of making little thankyou cards guests could take home.
click to enlarge
Our Exhibition
We held the show in the spacious, light and airy coffee shop at Kariba Art Center. We had intended a three-day only show, but Kariba management invited us to leave our dolls there the whole of the following week, too, and kindly offered to keep an eye on them for us. Barbara Hopley's Art students' show was running concurrently, so the place looked very interesting and colourful indeed.

Setting up the exhibition was very efficient. Each of us displayed our own doll and her accoutrements in our alotted spaces, so no one person was stuck with the hard physical labour op setting up a whole show. At the  opening our guests could purchase their own refreshments from the coffee shop, and thus we avoided the cost and labour of catering.

The show engendered a lot of interest and comment. Visitors could be seen poring over the doll's journals, which they were invited to peruse.
Linda had the great idea of making little thankyou cards guests could take home.
click to enlarge
Page 12
Triangle Courier
28 September - 1 October 2004

8 take part in first doll project

Eight women of the Vaal recently completed an art doll adventure - a project which was possibly the first of its kind in South Africa.

Local artist, Ms Erna Buber de Villiers first took note of this project which has its origins in Georgia, America. Ms De Villiers, who was looking for something as a support to bridge her retirement year, was hooked and she assembled a group of local enthusiasts, namely Hester Viles, Joy Heyneke, Linda Scott, Marietjie Joubert, Pat Surmon, Tilla Schoeman and
Antoinette
Nienaber.
Ms Antoinette Nienaber with her doll and all the memorabilia she collected along her traveling over eight months. Her doll came back as an expecting woman. She described the project as therapeutic and a way of expressing one's creative talents.
The original creator of each doll started with a blank canvas consisting of a basic doll or other structure. The artists had freedom of choice and different types of material such as: scrap metal and textiles were used. The dolls were then passed on by rotation so that each member had a chance to work on a different doll each month. A book in which each member added something in writing, pictures, drawings or whatever their creativity urged them to do, traveled with each doll. These books in itself developed into works of art.

After eight months of creativity, the project was completed and each doll had it's own personality. There was Ada, the Bag Lady, Pamela, the Beach Bum, a French Mademoiselle, a veiled Desert Nomad etc.

The artists agreed that each doll still had the spirit of its original creator and this guided them in the creative process. Some artists were sometimes taken aback, sometimes even angry, when they saw what changes had taken place on their dolls. The one golden rule however was that the women were not allowed to take anything off or change anything one of the other artist did to the dolls.
Response of women who took part

Tilla Schoeman - Each doll had a different atmosphere. The dolls helped me to get away from my own problems. The dolls made me think to give. Sometimes we forget to give.

Pat Surmon - It was a liberating experience to work in a group and I discovered that I was an artist.

Marietjie Joubert  - The creative process was tiring at times and the dolls a bit intimidating in the beginning until I got used to them.

Linda Scott - commitment is needed to be part of such a group.

Joy Heyneke - We have only scratched the surface of a project which has incredible possibilities. It is a vehicle through which one communicates.

Hester Viles - Each doll forced one to think creatively. It was therefore a good exercise to work on one's own creativity.

Erna Buber-de Villiers - The collaboration with others stretched the creativity and it took a lot of energy. Each person has put something of herself into each doll which has enriched me.
A local newspaper sent a reporter, and they printed this story: