Book Review: Who’s Your Dada?

DSC_0047When Quarry books emailed me about Who’s Your DADA?: Redefining the Doll through Mixed Media I was so happy! Not only have I been on a doll house and doll kick in general lately {link},I also enjoy the DADA movement and all the interesting performances, non art art projects, sessions, workshops, and mode of working in general. 


After reading the about the book’s authors, Linda and Opie O’Brian,  I realized that their inspriation for working and writing the book is very similar to my own for Craft Leftovers.

“Recycle, reduce, repurpose, reuse–these need to be more than just words. For artists, they should be a mantra for action… After making your first Dada, you’ll discover a genuine joy that comes from giving new life to something destined for the scrap heap.” 


The book starts with your tool box, the materials needed to open the creative flood gates. They include some great dada do’s and dont’s. And then offer a broad range of techniques to make your doll happen. 


“Over the past decade artists have pushed the limits of doll design, leaving us to wonder, ‘what is a doll?’ We’re really excited that the guest artists in this book have answered that very question.”

The remainder of the book is filled with dolls that have been made from an assemblage of materials. And it’s not just an inspirational photo journal either, each artists describes their process and some even documented the doll’s construction. Maybe you will make the same exact hope, but my hope is that you will employ the techniques, processes, and inspirations in this book to create your own unique doll. 


{above image: “Steely the Steelmaster” by Janette Schuster”; below image: “She’s All He’s Got” by Gail Trunick}


{image below: “Spoonfed” by Keith lo bue}


Inspired by the dada movement, these artists have created works that may have never existed without looking around their studio before planning out their project. Sometimes the materials can take on a life of their own and the one spoon with the spot reminds you of a rabbit and wouldn’t it be funny if it had forks for legs and all of a sudden you have “spoonfed” coming to life in your studio. 

So you may be asking yourself, what is dada? Well, it’s two things – it’s the french word for a hobbyhorse or child’s toy and it’s also a European cultural movement in the early 20th century. The use of whimsy, play, experimentation were main themes of the works being created. Word play, collage, assemblage all came from this movement. The authors feels that, “without Dadaism, it’s unlikely that surrealism and other modern art movements would have occurred.” 

It’s a great book and I can not wait to finish reading all the artist profiles and processes. As I start creating my own dolls for my soon to be in possession doll house this book will help me to think outside the box. Especially since the dolls and doll house will be a stage for more stop animation projects are a little on the odd side. It should be fun and I think this book will help speed the project along. Both in technical skill and inspiration.

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