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Kitchen Doll Bundle

by James on December 14th, 2015

Kitchen Doll Bundle - DetailIt’s not really a walking bundle as I’m home resting with some kind of bug, but as I’m interested in seeing the wild in the domestic, and particularly interested in making art in my kitchen (see Kitchen Sketchbook), I thought I’d give bundling from the materials I found around me a try.

Again its a female doll (I have some male dolls on their way to me via eBay), and her face has been coloured black. I didn’t choose a female doll deliberately, they were the first I came across, so for me in this work, gender isn’t a key factor. I also didn’t choose a black pen for her face with any thought to race.

Kitchen Doll Bundle (front)

Kitchen Doll Bundle (back)

As you can tell, I do feel a responsibility for how people interpret the fact that dolls of a particular gender or skin colour are used, even if that wasn’t a part of the work at the beginning. Elements of this work stem from being surrounded by my son’s toys, and in a similar way I feel a responsibility to my son to provide toys that reflect his own ethnicity, and which go beyond the usual stereotypical boys toys.

As I make the work, and source new (second hand) dolls, I discover more about what dolls are out there, and I start to explore why. There are so many gender issues in particular tied up with dolls, whether I’ll explore that in more depth I’m not sure. My key interest is in the doll as a body and a toy. Maybe it will be addressed more directly in upcoming doll-bundling work with artist and friend Kathy Mead-Skerritt.

Kitchen Doll Bundle wrapping

Kitchen Doll Bundle (handle)

Just as when I walked on Salisbury Plain, I picked up and used the clay that was available, so too in my kitchen I picked up and used the one permanent pen that was available, plus a plastic milk bottle, different kinds of tape and packaging. I used the pen to cover the doll’s facial features as I wanted to take away the sickly sweet Barbie look, and to bring it back to the shape and materials.

I’ve included an image of the 3 doll bundles that I’ve made so far, from Garden, Salisbury Plain and Kitchen… more to follow.

3 doll bundles

  1. James, they are for me progressively becoming more like ritual artifacts. There is something so intimate about them…a warrior would have one that was his or her own and not to be touched without permission. They are like TALISMANS… And I am STILL searching for my first doll. She/he is out there waiting, I know it. I will take she/he to the lake first…

  2. I really value your comments and descriptions of the thoughts and ideas that they trigger in you Kathy, thank you.

    I remember you taking your Blank Twins to the lake Kathy, it was such a thrill for me to see them there!

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