I usually begin a figure by sculpting the face in clay. Once the face is dry, I cover it in fabric and use color pencils to refine the features. Then I sew the body, hands, and feet. I take fleece from my angora goats to create locks of hair. I hand-dye raw silk for most of the clothing, but I’ve also been known to use bits of old curtain, petticoats, and vintage lace.
I find inspiration in old photographs. I am particularly drawn to images of women from the early twentieth century. My primary goal in developing each piece is to capture emotion. I often think of events from my own life as I work. Although the memories are personal, the themes are universal. I hope that people find a bit of their own story in my work. A poem that I wrote a few years ago says it best:
The Girls Within
You look right through us in the checkout line…old women made invisible by thick waists, drooping breasts, and sensible shoes. “Do you have any coupons, Ma’am?”
But we have our secrets!
We are the girls who danced barefoot on the beach under the stars,
who outraged our mothers, had affairs, and swam with sharks.
Yes, we have our secrets!
And so we smile as we stand in the checkout line
holding our coupons.
- Ann Hord-Heatherley
© 2009, Ann Hord-Heatherley, All Rights Reserved