Kelly Bertram

I started creating cloth dolls after my first child was born. I can't say that I was a little girl who played with dolls very much myself, but mine were hard plastic – perhaps I would have loved a doll like the ones I now make for my own children. Despite an indifference to dolls as a child, I now have a great love and appreciation for handmade dolls, viewing them as objects (and individuals) capable of blurring the line between art and function.

I am able to be very playful when I make the dolls; Greta and Delphine are a fanciful expression of the imaginative world of the child. Recalling the comfort, colors, texture and warmth of our own childhoods and memories, or perhaps even just an imagined ideal. But the dolls are living as well. Although they can be treated purely as art, and admired in their current state of clean loveliness, they are also able to enter fully into the world of childhood that they represent. Handed to a child, these dolls will immediately transform from art – to plaything and confidante. Fair skin may soil, hair become worn, aprons fray, a button lost; but strong stitches hold up to play, and woolen bodies will warm and comfort at night. Art and childhood converge.

© Kelly Bertram