Artists & Makers hosts Revisioning the Flip Doll: Exploring Our Connections at the Parklawn Studio, featuring work by Erika Cleveland and flip dolls created by women at the N. Street Homeless shelter as part of a series of workshops. For this show, we are inviting artists from the DC community and beyond to submit their own Flip dolls for display in this exhibit!
Cleveland received a Margaret Conant Grant in the Spring of 2016 from the Potomac Fiber Arts Guild for her project “Revisioning Flip Dolls.” For this project she is creating her own flip dolls and teaching women at the N. Street Village Homeless shelter to make flip dolls. In addition she is interviewing professional artists who make flip dolls.
Flip or “Topsy-turvy” dolls are two-sided dolls connected at the waist, and separated by a skirt. The skirt flips over to cover one side when the other side is revealed. The original flip dolls were black/white dolls made by slaves in the south during the Civil War era. In the words of flip doll artist Terri Dowell Dennis, they could be seen as “racist relic of the past.” In spite of their origin, many of these dolls were well loved by their owners and makers, who responded to the soft cloth bodies and enjoyed using the dolls for storytelling.
In this exhibit Cleveland would like to “revision” the flip doll as a way to show the commonalities within differences, and as a way of exploring the ways in which we are all united.
images: Flip Doll 1 – Maisie/Ernestina, Response to N. Street, fiber and mixed media, 14” x 7” x 4” and Flip Doll 2 – Rhea-Mother Earth/Raina-Every Woman is an Empress, sculptural needle felted and mixed media, 62” x 20” x 12”