The Bodhi Bears are here!

I am interested in the concept of using handmade sculptural objects to spark memories of our traditional ‘Do-It-Yourself’ heritage – advocating its reappearance in our consumer society and emphasising its value in design. As such the dichotomy between handcrafts and mass produced goods is a key area of my practice.

As an Indie Designer, my practice resides in the spaces where art and design intersect. The idea for these characters evolved from my research of designing talisman-like objects. Alongside this, the work reflects my concern with the metaphysical concept of the seven Chakras examined in the writings of psychologist Carl Jung. I explore notions of warmth and whimsicality in this work, and ways to elicit emotion and nostalgia for childhood.

With a priority on the process, these works have undertaken deep experimentation; hand-dying, pattern construction, textile printing and extensive idea development that began with explorations featured in my previous post.


exploring possibilities for an art doll/bear

These creatures/bears are the prototypes for my current project. I have been learning about traditional teddy bear making techniques and patterns, so that I could draft my own. Using whatever I have in my fabric stash initially, they are not at all like the final outcome. But I enjoyed bringing them to life with my intuitive creative processes that I am becoming more familiar with each day I’m engaged with the making of them. It’s been all about trusting the process. Final resolved works are nearly completed, and I look forward to sharing them with you soon.

my first born creature

Brown Bear by Vicki Reisima (2014). Fabric, thread, buttons and Polyfill. Approximately 40cm tall standing.

Brown Bear by Vicki Reisima (2014). Fabric, thread, buttons and Polyfill. Approximately 40cm tall standing.

This is the first textile creation of many to come in this semesters project. I want to experiment altering body proportions to make the forms feel a little awkward and less common than the usual teddy bear representation. I enjoyed making a toy with jointed limbs, as opposed to sewing them into the torso. This is what appealed to me in the teddy bear form initially. I cant see myself steering away from it now, but we shall see what manifests in the weeks to come. So far, in the experimental stages, I am up-cycling pieces of my fabric stash. I expect them to look quite different, as I use whatever is at my disposal. I believe it may be what gives them a charming appeal.


a new pathway

image by vicki reisima

Having spent last semester with my eyes glued into Photoshop, it’s been a while since I got my hands grubby with making things. Here are my intentions for my new pathway in my practice. Curious? Here’s the formal brief outline…

For the purpose of this degree programme, I will be lending my artistic voice to the ancient metaphysical concept of the seven chakras. A series of mixed media sculptural characters will be deeply yet subtly infused with metaphorical symbolism and my priority will be on an intuitive and exploratory process. I trust that there will be many opportunities for serendipity and materiality to influence the outcome.

The search for unifying factors in our daily existence, the search for understanding and direction, and the inevitable pull toward consciousness brings us to a critical evaluation of our spiritual natures – Anodea Judith  (The Wheels of Life)

As spiritual subjects are so often considered impractical or inaccessible, this project attempts to raise awareness of the chakra system within a narrative context. Drawing upon storytelling and metaphysical concepts, I aim to inspire people to consider simple and playful ways to incorporate spiritual well-being into their daily lives.

The next several weeks posts will feature influential artists, methodologies, and theoretical contexts of my project. Included will be works in progress that are inviting feedback during the making process. I’m excited to see what manifests!

The Pale Rook on How she became a Doll Artist

This mornings inspiration to just show up and create whatever is in my head. I take these words of authenticity and courage into my next project, praying that it will sustain my reasons for making and being an artist. Thanks to The Pale Rook for your insightful words!

The Pale Rook

Evie, Rosehip and Brennesle Evie, Rosehip and Brennesle

I have posted about these three before but I suspect I may have written something quite boring and short as the blog was still a bit of a blank canvas at that stage and as anyone who has ever tried to create anything on a black canvas will tell you, blank canvases can either be inspiring or they can freeze your brain until it can only squeeze out banal mutterings.   At that particular time it I am pretty sure I was only able to manage banal mutterings, and short banal mutterings at that.

Also at that stage though I had no idea whatsoever of what anyone would think of my dolls and creatures because almost no one had seen them.  I’d been keeping them a secret from everyone except my closest friends and some people who’d wandered into a group show in a gallery in Oslo.

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pattern hunt


When hunting for patterns in my surroundings, my eyes were captivated by the geometry of this brick path. A decorative path that goes to nowhere in particular, I pondered on the intricacies of the way its pattern curves around although its structural lines are completely straight. An interesting pattern that I could explore every crack and crevice of – but had I not hunted for a pattern today, it would never occurred to me to step off my walking path and find the curious spaces in between. This was a great exercise to compel me to slow down from my daily tasks and experience simple joy in a simple moment, spurred on by such a simple thing.

“Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences. I was a child, which meant that I knew a dozen different ways of getting out of our property and into the lane, ways that would not involve walking down our drive.”
Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane


This is a response to a photographic prompt from Susannah Conways #august break project

Why do we take selfies?

Photographer Vivienne McMaster teaches others how to see the beauty around and within you. In an ‘August Break‘ photographic prompt this week she asks:

Why do we take selfies? Or why might we want to?
We may want to because it is a chance to feel seen, by ourselves.
Or because it allows us to tell the story of our day, of our lives.
Maybe because it is a tool for seeing ourselves in a new way.
And because we are as worthy of being in front of the camera as anyone else is.


Selfie with son

My favourite way of taking a selfie is when my arms wrapped around a loved one. My family and friends are my world and I feel humbled when I view upon my life from the outside looking in. This shot reminds me of my connectedness to family, our place of belonging in this world, the joy we experience when together, and that it’s these precious little moments that need to be remembered often. My son is growing stronger and smarter each and everyday, and although now he is not so keen to have me snapping happy in his face like I used to, he was super keen to be up front on this day – because we were in it together!

I encourage you to join ‘The August Break’ photographic project with me and take a selfie today. Let’s explore how it can be a way to connect with ourselves and the world that surrounds us!

#augustbreak Thanks Vivienne!