Photos courtesy of Sculpty’s Creations
Dreams are an odd thing, aren’t they? For many folks, if they get a notion in their head, they feel they have to pursue it immediately. If they fail to respond in a certain, calculated number of hours, then that’s it. Game over. Dream over.
For Canadian doll artist Sherry Rawn, her professional life proves that a dream never dies. Just as a person sleeps, dreams, and then wakes up refreshed, a dream can also slumber, undisturbed for months or years, and the suddenly get roused a decade later and be totally wide awake and raring to go!
(Sherry Rawn and her creation Sienna)
That’s what happened with Rawn, who shared her story with me last year, right about this time of the year! According to the Ontario, Canada-based artist, she first attempted a sculpting project in 1993. But like many neophytes before her, her ambitions were larger than her ability and her patience at the time: “It was 1993 and I tried to teach myself how to sculpt dolls from pottery clay. I was using a portrait of my parents, and it was a huge challenge. The process was so time-consuming that I put it aside.”
(The Sicily doll is a charmer!)
Her decision to cease the portrait re-creation stemmed from not having the right tools and resources, and also not truly knowing the ins and outs of what she was striving to do. While she worked in a factory, Rawn’s doll dreams remained just that: an ambition that was asleep. But then, in 2004, she came face-to-face with a medium that would alter her life.
“I stumbled across an area in eBay that sold ‘One of a Kind Babies’ made from polymer clay. This was it! This changed everything for me,” Rawn wrote to me. “I started sculpting and then selling my own creations on eBay. Each creation is from my heart, and the joy of being able to create and bring a doll to life — from starting with a ball of clay to a finished, completed doll — that joy cannot be measured.”
(Rawn perfecting her sculpting)
Creating dolls on her own for Sculpty’s Creations, and doing many designs for world-famous Ashton-Drake Galleries, is the realization of everything Rawn could have ever inspired to achieve: “Being able to bring so much joy and happiness to my collectors around the world is most rewarding to me! It is so satisfying that I am able to ‘touch’ people with my artwork and then make them smile. It truly is amazing to me.”
(Sarah Lyn is every inch a lifelike baby)
Admiring, playing with, and collecting dolls have always been a part of Rawn’s life. “I have had a passion for baby dolls since I was a little girl. They have always been a part of my world,” Rawn stated. “I love having the ability to make baby dolls that appear real. That is my mission. I keep striving to get more realistic and create more and more lifelike baby dolls. Each one I create brings so much joy to me and to the collectors. It is very rewarding to create a doll that is realistic and has a unique look.”
One way that Rawn is able to master realism is through the study and examination of actual baby faces. “I do this by looking at baby pictures,” she admitted, “and by looking at my own grandchildren!”
(Two versions of the Sienna sculpt by Rawn)
Her granddaughters had been tapped to become inspirations for some of her resin dolls, like the very popular “Sienna” kit: “It’s a challenge to capture a baby’s expression. Each baby looks different, but they all have the same, shared innocence. It is hard to do a baby that looks lifelike and looks like it is a real, living infant. I am really blessed to have found my passion and my calling. I am grateful that I have the talent to create beautiful baby dolls. It is a blessing.”
(Rawn’s baby-girl dolls are Pretty in Pink)