|The Art of Ankie Daanen|
|Thursday, 01 May 2008 00:00|
Here, Daanen shares a bit of her life story and the story of her art.
Even as a child I was always searching for an outlet to express my artistic abilities, and much of my childhood I spend seated beside my mother’s sewing machine waiting for leftover scraps of fabric.
My mother made children clothes, and I copied her, working down on the floor creating ballroom dresses for my Barbie® dolls.
My dream was to follow a career as a ballet dancer, opera singer or designer. But when the time came to choose a profession, my parents did not share in my ambition of going to an art school. At that time they thought it did not guarantee a living.
Instead of art school, I went to an educational academy and became a teacher. After five years of teaching, again I started searching for an avenue along which to direct my creative energy. My love for music led me to the conservatory to study music. I became a music teacher.
Mission: to Become a Dollmaker
I started taking a few classes from well-known dollmakers, but soon I began to teach myself. I did not want to copy dolls from others; I wanted to have my own style.
About five years ago, after 15 years of sculpting dolls from stoneclay, I started to work with porcelain.
I love the charm of the smooth skin you get from porcelain and, of course, the longer life cycle of the doll.
After a while, you develop your own techniques and processes. For me, when the basic model is finished, I create the molds. When the doll comes out of the mold, I sculpt the doll’s features again. This second sculpting means that every doll I create has something unique about it.
Then, my great love for fabric, laces and trims, and all my inspiration, imagination and fantasy (which is always available) goes into costuming the doll.
For a long time I shared my skills with other dollmakers. For 15 years I taught about 80 students a week.
When I had the opportunity, I gave up the hectic schedule of teaching. For about five years, I have been able to concentrate on my own dollmaking. Having a busy teaching schedule and finding the time to develop your own skills is a drain on your energy. You need to devote long hours to make each doll new and unique, and to invest in your own growth.
I am passionate about dollmaking. I am happy to see that it is becoming more and more a form of art. And it is being recognized as art. Although good craftsmanship is always the basis of a good doll, it has also to do with the expression of the doll, the recognition of emotions and the high quality of materials used.
It is the total impression of the doll that counts, not only the quality of the sculpting. The internal connection of the doll with the human spirit is important —to recognize that you feel some of the things that you see in the dolls. A good doll stays in the memory.
Once a year I teach a very special dollmaking holiday class in our house in Spain. It is situated near the sea in a beautiful area. There, I make dolls during the beautiful seasons of spring and the early summertime. The students learn how to make dolls in combination with experiencing the good things Spain has to offer.
For now I consider myself as a very lucky dollmaker. My dolls are now seen all over the world, and I have to thank my audience for sharing their emotions with me because it is they who inspire me every time to try to make the perfect doll “that stays in the memory.”
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