Sunday, May 24, 2009

IOLCC Doll Competition Dilemma!

Well, it's time for me to start planning what the hell I am going to make for this years Imitation of Life Construction Company's (IOLCC) annual international "Dimensions in Dollmaking" show. Hosted annually by the San Diego Quilt Show at the fabulous San Diego Convention Center, this event showcases the work of artists from as far off as Tasmania and Israel! It is I feel, the most visited concession at the quilt show, and with good reason! The best of the best is on display...along with the works of those determinedly on their way to joining those ranks. The show has been covered by Art Doll Quarterly and many other magazines.
So it's pretty daunting to me to come up not only with a doll worthy of sitting on those tables...but one that fits the theme without me feeling like I am 'selling out' to a typical and
expected idea.
This year's theme is "Make Me Laugh". Instantly, tables filled with 78-104 clowns appeared in the vacuous space that also is considerate enough to allow for my tiny brain. Now, the artists that send their work to this show are for the most part imaginative, original people. I know because I sit there monitoring the booth and am pretty familiar with the pieces. But then again, there are some who do create the first thing that probably popped into their heads. I am diametrically opposed to doing this, and it is my mission in life to defy pretty much everything. Particularly those things that are common sense and make most people's lives easier.
The thing is, that the people who DO make the first thing that popped into their heads, create a piece that is the first thing that most visitors relate to. And therefore, the most popular.
What I do is pretty predictable...if you know me. It's going to have to be a female, and she's going to have to bear historic significance. ALWAYS. But I do try to come up with a persona that nobody else will think of. Not just for the sake of originality, but also education. I think it's fun to discover a person I knew little to nothing of. But that might be just me.
In contemplating a female of historic interest who made people laugh, a few popped up immediately.

Lucille Ball
Now really, is there anyone funnier than Lucille Ball? She raised that ballet bar pretty damn high. She's THE person to aspire to if you are a woman comedian. She's also the first person who's going to pop into the heads of at least 1/3 of the artists participating in this competition.

Lucy is also probably THE most recognizable person that the visitors will relate to in making their vote. Is she worthy? Heck yes! Is she original? She's been done to death in the doll world. So, no, I don't think so. Is she a shoo-in? Ehhh.......depends on how she's depicted. She'd have to be recognizable. Otherwise nobody would 'get it'. A Lucy from her earliest days looks very different from the Lucy the world knows and loves.

Barbra Streisand
(as Fanny Brice)
Then, there's Barbra Streisand. Not only is she a funny girl, she portrayed a historic comedienne in a very well known movie. She's well loved, instantly recognizable, and she's pretty distinctive. Will anybody else come up with a Barbra? Not as likely as a Lucy. But the visitors would be able to relate to her. She'd probably need to be in character as Funny Girl, Fanny Brice for people to really 'get it'. The pregnant bride springs instantly to mind.

Fanny Brice

Which naturally, takes me to Fanny Brice. THE original Funny Girl. I highly doubt that anyone else will do her. I believe that this is because no visitors will be quite able to remember her. Whoever remembers her will likely be dead, and therefore not able to visit the display. People will relate to Streisand AS Fanny Brice. But probably not realize she was actually a real person. Which makes me want to shove her down the public's collective throats, so they learn a little something new. Will anyone relate? Naw. Will anyone look at her twice? Not much more than to say, "Oh, that's nice. Who's Fanny Brice?"

Fannie Beane

My ultimate desire is to represent somebody NOBODY ever heard of, and that's Fannie Beane! Why do I like Fannie Beane? Because she is one of the earliest vaudeville comediennes, and she played DEADWOOD. How cool is that? She headlined at the famed Bella Union Hotel. That can't have been an easy audience! You history buffs who've cried (as I have) at the demise of HBO's "Deadwood" will know that establishment.

Will anyone relate? NO. Will anyone look at her twice? Probably NOT, other than to say:
"Who the hell is Fannie Beane and why did she think it was okay to show her face at this show, which is obviously about funny things, like Lucy, and...clowns?"

So yeah, having a hard time deciding what to do. My Dave says go with Lucy. I said no way. Then again, selling out and making a clown might finally get me in one of them fancy periodicals.


  1. Oh gosh...I hope I don't offend people who love clowns! I have nothing against them...just the fact they spring instantly to mind on a theme of making people laugh.

    I do realize the historical significance of clowns...jesters, Punch and Judy to name a few of the oldest styles of humor!

    Quilt show patrons tend to be quilters and sewists. They love fabric (as I do) and why I think they'd tend to be drawn to clowns, is the tremendous array of fabric choices to be had when depicting such a subject.

  2. Hi Robin, What a tough decision. My vote is for Fanny Beane.
    But if you decide to do a clown, I like the idea of Carol Burnett. I know what your thinking "NOT CAROL BURNETT"LOL!!!
    Well it was just a thought.Ha Ha!!
    You have a wonderful Memorial weekend and I can't wait to see what you come up. I know it will be good,julie

  3. I actually did think of Carol! She's one of my favorites..either the charlady or Scarlett with the curtain rod.

  4. Hi Robin. Carol is one of my favorites too!!!
    I like both of the ideas!!! She is just plan good fun and loads of laughter!!

  5. I've given you an award for your blog and would like to play along!

  6. I love your blog! I've given you a pass-along blog award. Come by my blog to pick it up!


  7. You are THE MOST TALENTED person that I know.
    I know that you will create THE MOST CREATIVE doll the convention center will display.
    If people omly knew that creativity and talent at all levels that literally OOZ from your pours.......
    Good luck!
    XOXO Deb

  8. Sending wishes of creativity flow. It will come to you. I think you need to be unique to your style of art. BEST WISHES VICKY

  9. Hi Robin!
    Whomever you decided to depict, I have no doubt it will stand out above all others, and everyone will be drawn to her!!! Let me know what you've decided on ok?? I'm very curious!