|Joined:||January 1st, 2008|
These latest pieces by my husband Larry and I are a natural extension of the collaborative direction we have been working in for the past 7 years. My own creative impulse has been moving beyond the more traditional "doll" forms I have been known for over the past 30 years. Since early childhood, I've been absorbed by the colors, forms, textures and smells of nature and I have always tried to incorporate these elements in my work. For the past 20 years, I have progressively used more natural materials, since they convey directly those elements of nature that I love. The energy and beauty of nature has always sustained me. Woodlands, in particular, I find compelling. Most recently, in conjunction with Larry's love of working in wood, my love of natural materials has led us to explore how we might try to personify the spirit of nature as images of the playful, creative forces in nature. Each piece is a combination of cloth and natural materials, most of which are collected personally from our farm and gardens. They have been treated with a special varnish to help them retain their moisture and flexibility.
Akira Blount was born in 1945 and grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. She continued her education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Art Education. She started making dolls from cotton stockings in 1970 and they quickly evolved into a steady source of income. Over the next nine years her mastery of needle sculpting evolved into a style well known as her own. In 1979 she moved to Tennessee with her husband and 2 children. Her children have since grown and moved on but she and her husband still live on 80 acres in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. When they are not working on dolls, Akira and Larry raise goats, love to garden and, while they take long walks in the woods with their Papillon dogs, they often find inspiration for their new works.
Akira's work has been admired and collected all over the world. Since 1986 she has been published over 30 times in magazines as diverse as American Craft Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, Fiber Arts Design Book III, and Contemporary Doll. Books include: Craft in America: Celebrating the Creative Work of the Hand by Phyllis George, The White House Collection of American Crafts by Michael Monroe, Anatomy of a Doll by Susanna Oroyan and 500 Handmade Dolls by Lark Press which she curated and wrote the introduction for. She has taught her dollmaking techniques at doll clubs and craft schools around the country. Permanent Collections include MUSEE des ARTS DECORATIF, Paris France, MUSEE de POUPEES, Josselin France, CLINTON LIBRARY, Little Rock, AR, SEKIGUCHI DOLL GARDEN, Izu, Shizuoka Japan, ROSALIE WHYEL MUSEUM, Bellevue, Washington, MUSEUM OF ARTS and SCIENCES, Macon, Georgia, and the TENNESSEE STATE MUSEUM, Nashville, Tennessee. Exhibitions include National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC, American Folk Art Museum, NYC, NY, Mint Museum of Fine Art, Charlotte, NC, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA, Tampa Museum of Fine Art, Tampa, FL. The White House Collection of American Craft, a collection of over 70 pieces of contemporary crafts of which Akira is the only doll artist, has traveled to museums all over the USA since 1994 and is now on permanent display at the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas. Akira has also received the recognition of more than 20 awards at juried shows over the years.