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Circus Living presents Dolldrums
An Interview with Kylie Dexter
An illuminating darkness, "DooVoo", and an ongoing battle with self-doubt
Kylie Dexter's artwork perfectly combines dark and morbid elements with that of cuteness overload. I dare you to look at her doll's sad expressions and not want to reach out and cuddle them. A fan of "Dark Crystal" and "Never Ending Story", Kylie's love for puppets ultimately lead to the beginning of Dolldrums. There is just something about Kylie's dolls that make you want to love them to pieces. Their adorably sentimental expressions and the fact they are made out of soft and cuddly felt lends them unique characteristics rarely seen among other doll artists' commonly fragile creations. And that is one of the characteristics which set Kylie's dolls apart from the rest - they just make you want to reach out, hold them oh-so-tightly, and never let go.
Once told her artwork was too morbid, she let others affect her perception of herself and her craft. She has since, however, broken from this mold of limiting expectations. Through the creation of her dolls, she now unrelentingly expresses her love for the darker side of things. Kylie's dolls, however, do not just convey dark elements. They also incite feelings of warmth and happiness. It is hard to look at her felt dolls without associating them with the tender and soothing memories of childhood. I was a Jim Henson fan so when I see her puppets, I cannot help but feel a welcoming nostalgic feeling. Born out of Kylie's desire as a counselor to help people accept the aspects of themselves they are unhappy with, her dolls connote a splendid oscillation between perfection and imperfection. Adorable and amusing, Kylie's felt dolls are also poignant and moving.
I had a chance to interview Kylie for Circus Living and found this artist, like her dolls, exhibits just the right touch of darkness with an uncanny sense of humour and refreshing positivity.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by anything a bit dark, or unusual. I really love the mysterious and strange. I guess that's more mainstream now, but I've always been this way. I think the dark can be illuminating.
Breaking felting needles. I am a naturally fast moving person with a little too much energy. Needle felting requires a lot of jabbing. I work cross-legged with a mat on my lap, and try and do other things at the same time, like watching The Walking Dead or American Horror Story. Hahaha.... can also be a dangerous exercise when working with needles.
Are you working on a new doll at the moment?
Um, I don't have too many secrets, so probably nothing. I have a lot of tattoos. Maybe not so surprising. I have collected Blythe dolls for the last 10 years; customs and the originals. I have about 30. I am a Taurean so I can never just have 1 of something. I need at least 2....or 30
Do you admire any artists?
My process always begins the same, with a big ball of wool and some armature. They really create themselves from there. I often decide on "who" they will be once they are standing in front of me naked.
Hahahaha. These are my Jesus in a box. So you get "your own personal Jesus" and no two are alike. My grandmother is Egyptian and really superstitious, her and my Mum were a little concerned about my "sad" dolls. So I made these, also my husband is obsessed with religious memorabilia. He has a number of them in his car.
Putting myself out there, realizing that not everyone likes your work and being able to accept the positive feedback when people do. I struggled to put my work out publicly, and still deal with anxiety every time I pack a doll to ship. People are amazing though and that has helped ease the "negative self" talk a little. I can't imagine doing anything else, I am so grateful that enough people like them so I can continue doing what I love.
To find out more about Dolldrums and keep updated on Kylie's latest creations, be sure to like her page on facebook and visit her website.
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