Creating Beauty

As a child, I was frightened by a humongous Kissy doll. At 3, it was as big as I was and when you pulled it's hands together it made a smacking or a supposed kissing sound. I was sure it would get up and get me......making smacking sounds as it neared my bed.

Now I make dolls.....some are supposed to be scary, but most just reflect how I look at beauty. To me we have a very narrow view of what beauty is and is not. I have cerebral palsy and don't think I'm whining about it I'm not. I'm lucky my case is very mild compared to some people's. But you can pick me out as different, I walk awkwardly, but my arm and leg work correctly.....for someone with a partially paralyzed arm and leg.

I look like someone with CP is supposed to and in my way I'm attractive. I try to reflect alternative beauty in the dolls I create and so in some ways I'm still dealing with fear, but now it's not my own.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Brilliance and Beauty

When I was in fifth grade, I ordered a wonderful book from Scholastic Books.  Now when I was in school from 1966 to 1978 disabled kids were shunted off to special programs or schools or warehoused.  My cerebral palsy is minor so I went to regular school, which was

good and bad.

I got a good education in 2 areas, physically normal people are often assholes to people who are different and most importantly a good education that prepared me for college. My Dad always said "It's better to out run idiots mentally." But this brings me back to why this book was also a turning point for me.r

Not being around other disabled people made it difficult to judge the extent of my impairment and I missed out on seeing other disabled folks work a rounds to compensate for the parts of their bodies that worked differently. Reading about Charles Proteus Steinmetz helped me visualize a different disability and how another person handled it. I went from The Man Who Tamed Lightening to books on Helen Keller, Louis Braille, Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale (The Lady With The Lamp....I loved that one) and Follow My Leader... A book about a boy my age who lost his sight in an accident.

So, without Steinmetz I might have been a scared kid forever. I love science, biology especially, but excel in art. I will always use anatomy etc to design my dolls, so he helped make me a better artist and a stronger person.

He was probably the start of my ideas on relative beauty too. Within the parameters of being a hunchbacked little person with dwarfism and hip dysplasia,  He's  not a bad looking man.
As I work on each new doll in my Uniques series, I think fondly of Steinmetz. I'm working on a doll with interchangeable arms and one with microcephaly. I watched Freaks again recently and the 2 girls and Schlitzie motivated me.

What books or films have inspired you?

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