Saturday, May 8, 2010

Zen and the Art of Waldorf Dollmaking

Stich by stich I am working on each doll always trying to be mindfull.
At first glance, it may occur not to be so much effort to create such a simple doll, like a Waldorfdoll, with just a few facial features instead of more detailed ones. But actually, it is a great challenge to put life into a dolls face using only a few stitches. I do have to center myself to find calmness and serenity for that task. Every stitch has to be in the perfect spot in order to make a dolls face shine.

After my diploma at the University of Art and Industrial Design and before I had my daughter I was working on my PhD Thesis (Cultural History) concerning the concept of using different techniques of "not thinking" during the process of creating art. I concentrated my research on on the field of Zen Arts and especially on the art of Zen Painting .

"Oriental artists are not interested in a photographic representation of an object but in interpreting its spirits. The Zen artist, on the other hand, tries to suggest by the simplest possible means the inherent nature of the aesthetic object. Anything may be painted, or expressed in poetry, and any sounds may become music. The job of the artist is to suggest the essence, the eternal qualities of the object, which is in itself a work of natural art before the artist arrives on the scene. In order to achieve this, the artist must fully understand the inner nature of the aesthetic object, its Buddha nature. This is the hard part. Technique, though important, is useless without it; and the actual execution of the art work may be startlingly spontaneous, once the artist has comprehended the essence of his subject. Zen art is the restriction of means to an absolute minimum."

Fredric Lieberman
One of my favorite Zen Paintings by Sengai Gibon (仙厓 義梵, 1750 - 1837)

I think the main effort about Waldorf Dollmaking or toy making in general is to find what is essential, to limit it to that and to put soul into the creation.