Time for another installment in our discussion of what, exactly, an art doll is. Today’s artist makes beaded art dolls and pin dolls, which are frequently included in the category of doll art, although they have little in common with the polymer clay or fabric examples I’ve shown you so far, and even less in common with the resin sculptures offered by the Buonaiutos. In order to call these pieces dolls, you pretty much have to extend the definition to include anything that is intended to represent a human or animal figure, no matter how abstract or how far afield from a play-doll. I, personally, use the term “doll art” very broadly, believing that inclusion is more productive than exclusion, but I start to get uncomfortable when leaving the realm of mixed media.
Megan Noel’s beaded dolls are mixed media in the sense that they include metal and clay bits as well as glass beads, but they don’t require as many different disciplines as I like to see in a “doll.” It’s funny where each person puts their own boundaries; there’s probably something psychological about it.
But enough musing — on to the art. Megan Noel is a versatile artist who produces two-dimensional paintings as well as beaded doll art, beaded purses, pins, and of course beaded jewelry. In fact, looking at her website, it appears likely that if you can sew a bead on it, she’s tried it. I like her beaded dolls because of the interplay of texture and color, and I especially like the ones with the expressively sculpted faces. Also check out the ones with inspirational slogans beaded into them. I haven’t been able to find out what kind of structure is underneath the beads on her dolls, but Noel’s pins are beaded on suede.