Thursday, September 9, 2010

Interview with Sarah Faber from Black- Eyed Suzie

People always ask artists what inspires them. I am just as guilty of inquiring too. If someone asked me that question, Sarah Faber and her dolls would be included in my answer. I'm fascinated by dollmaking and admit I do like art with a melancholy side. Her dolls have such wonderful expressions, little handmade clothes with attention to detail, all combining to create a unique look that can only be Black- Eyed Suzie.

I was thrilled when Sarah agreed to take time for a blog interview. Between dollmaking, an Etsy shop, finishing a masters degree, writing a novel, and a baby on the way, it's amazing she has a moment left! I am glad to be able to share her work here with you.

Katie: I read you just returned from Cape Breton. Any special moments, places, things that really inspired you?

Sarah: Pretty much everything about Cape Breton is beautiful and important to me, but as far as dollmaking goes, there are a lot of old, falling-down houses that are still quite beautiful but spooky and haunted- looking. I'm always curious about those places.

Katie: Your first ball- jointed doll seems to be coming along nicely. What different types of doll techniques have you tried and which is your favorite?

Sarah:  I've worked with cloth, polymer clay, and Paperclay, and Paperclay is my favourite because the finish is so fine and lovely, and with it I can achieve the greatest detail. Also, I like that it's a natural material, whereas the plasticity of polymers has never sat really well with me. I really don't like getting it on my hands, whereas I feel fine about being covered in Paperclay. But I'm hoping to start working in porcelain within the next year- an expensive and somewhat scary media, but I'm really excited about it.

Katie:  Do you have a doll you're most proud of and maybe love a little more than others?

Sarah: Well, I'm pretty proud of my ball-jointed doll, even though she's full of flaws. She took me so long to make, and now I know I can do that, so I'm really excited about BJDs. I made a doll for my husband that was also a huge amount of work- an Elizabethan vampire- and I have very fond memories of working on her in his little cabin in Maine with the woodstove burning.

Octavia, first ball-jointed doll

Katie:  When did you decide to turn your love of dollmaking into a business and how did you get started? Any advice for folks trying to do the same?

Sarah:  I started on Etsy in 2006; I started very simply, by taking photos with a single point- and- shoot camera and posting them to Etsy, which was an easy platform for a low-tech girl like me. When I look at those photos now, I cringe. But as far as advice, I'd say take your time- don't get overwhelmed by all the many sites, social networking options, etc. I think having a blog really helps. Mostly, I would say trust yourself to do something unique. Sadly, there are a lot of really derivative dollmakers out there, and I think people quickly see through that.

Katie:  You were published in Art Doll Quarterly- How did that come about?

Sarah: The editor, Staci Dumoski, found my blog and contacted me- she asked me to send in some dolls and write an article to accompany the photos, all of which I was happy to do!

Katie:  What other art mediums do you wish you had more time to explore?

Sarah:  All of them! If I could live to be a thousand years old, I would learn everything. But in this lifetime, I'd like to learn more about photography, and - at the risk of sounding like an old lady- needlework. I don't really have the patience to knit, but I'd love to learn some ribbon embroidery/ stampwork. I also think handmade lace is gorgeous, but with my baby due in a couple months, I don't imagine I'll be churning out yards of lace any time soon.

Katie:  Tell us something about yourself people can't tell by looking at you.

Sarah:   I love Bruce Springsteen. I think he is one beautiful, sexy man and an incredible songwriter and I'll leave it at that because I'm sitting next to my beloved husband.


I'd like to thank Sarah so much for sharing more about her work and life.

Check out Black- Eyed Suzie's blog and her Etsy shop to see more of her beautiful dolls.


Marilyn Rock said...

Katie; thanks for stopping by my Blog and leaving a lovely comment. I'm glad you did as it led me to your Blog which is really wonderful! Love the interview with Sarah and her dolls are incredible. I can see you are very talented yourself; great fabric work!!!! I'll be back to visit! xxoo

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to post this, Katie! Your blog looks fantastic!!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! Sarah's dolls are so amazing.

Jessica Acosta Hamilton said...

Great interview. Sarah seems like such a sweet lady :].

Lisa Purcell said...

Your dolls are so fantastic. I love their hair and eyes and long limbs. Very appealing.

Lisa Purcell said...

Their expressions are so heartrendingly poignant.