Recently I was introduced to the wonderful whimsical world of Alexandra Sondra Von Burg. I was impressed by her imagination and the detail and craftsmanship of her work. Her art dolls are beautiful and unique, and as a new quilter myself, her quilts were overwhelming. I feel fortunate that she was willing to share her work with us.
I have been making art and telling stories since I could hold a pencil. Telling stories has always been the focus of my work. Each image has a whole story to it. What I like most about showing them is that every viewer fills in the details to their own liking. I have heard many great versions of my own stories from other people’s point of view.
I hold a BA in visual Art, and an MFA in printmaking from Pratt Institute in New York. I moved west in 1991 and discovered my local quilt shop. Being an unemployed artist at the time, I gave it a try. I liked it so much that it has become my primary media. Now I draw with my sewing machine just as much as with my pencil.
I have been making dolls since I arrived in California. A friend and I started doing craft fairs in the area, using Butterick and McCall’s patterns of cute little bunnies and cows dressed in prairie dresses. That was fun, but being an artist with an MFA, I got bored using other people’s patterns and was itching to design my own. I discovered Bett’s Vidal’s Frog Prince doll and took her class. I learned about finger turning tools and other doll making skills from Barbara Willis and Sally Lampi. (all 3 featured in earlier blogs) This changed my world of possibilities.
Because of my love of story telling, fairy tales have always played a large role in my work. They are stories that everyone is familiar with, even if their version varies from mine. My interest in fantasy imagery is that there is no practical encyclopedic reference. No one can tell me I’ve drawn a dragon incorrectly. Fairy tale characters are open to interpretation.
HOW I WORK.
Character design leads the way, and the face contains most of it. Even if I have a particular character in mind, I start with the face and let it lead. I have often told my students, “Don’t ever work on a doll if you are angry or frustrated, it will show in the doll’s face.” Most days, the character I’m after comes right out and I’m on my way. Other days, the head gets set aside. Occasionally, months can pass before I understand where a face is leading me, and an unexpected story begins to write itself in my head.
ALEXANDRA’S ART DOLLS
ALEXANDRA’S ART QUILTS
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