Friday, June 24, 2011

The Creative Beast Interview - Borbala of Bori Dolls

Hello dear blog readers! I have an interview for you today and I think you'll enjoy this creative lady who creates darling and magical felted dolls...
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Interview with Borbala Arvai of Bori Dolls

I met Borbala Arvai back in March when I took a class being hosted by one of my favorite places to be - VITA ARTS CENTER in Ventura. It was a class on making a needle felted fairy doll...

I had seen Borbala's work before though I didn't realize it at the time I signed up for the class. She has published a series of books featuring her felted dolls and I had seen them at the Vita Arts Gallery. The images were truly enchanting so I was very excited when I discovered that I would be learning from her! She made needle felting seem like it was the easiest thing in the world and I loved creating my own Fairy doll...
My Fairy Doll has accompanied me to the office since I created her - she's become one of my talismans..
I was intrigued when she informed the class that she was self taught and had only been working at needle felting for a few short years. It made me want to learn more about this lovely lady who hails from Hungary. It turns out she was a Graphic Arts designer before she began to do her own creative work in needle felting and many great things have come into her life since then.

I'm so happy she agreed to be interviewed! Thank you for being here Borbala!
"Cave Woman" - One of Borbala's wonderful and whimsical felted dolls

Who first introduced you to creating? Was it a family member - a teacher? How did that person influence you?

I can not remember. I think it just came from the inside.

What were your first creative actions that you remember? (Sewing, Dancing, Painting, etc?)

Since I can remember I was always drawing. I had lots of colored markers and my mom put away hundreds of drawings I made. I really like them, I think those were the times when I could express myself the most pure and I was very artistic with great imagination.
I also went to classes where we made clay figures and I loved to make those. This was all before I started school.

My! You began your creative life very early Borbala. I don't think I began quite so early, though I do remember being taught to sew around the age of six and drawing with color pencils not long after that...

Do you have a favorite medium to create in? If so, what is it?

My favorite medium is wool and needle felting. I have not tried very many mediums though, because I was not interested in other crafts before. Now I would like to explore more.

I know that feeling! It seems the more we learn, the more we want to continue learning and experimenting with other ways to create!

How do you feel when you are creating in your chosen medium?

To work with wool is very relaxing. It is like a meditation, I can be present and be one with the material and with nature. It does not matter what level you are, needle felting is always fun and it is very rewarding too... you can hold your finished creations within a short period of time.

What is the greatest joy you derive from creating? Accomplishment? The process? Sharing it with others? Please explain…

Creation with wool offers joy on so many levels. I love to touch wool. Sometimes I feel content just to look at the beautiful colors and textures. Then when I start a project it gives lots of joy, how wool is surrendering and how the figure comes to life. I love to add found objects (mostly from nature and recycled) and really love how the wool and those objects become a harmonious figure. I have also lots of joy in teaching this technique and see how it makes others happy. The same thing happens when people look at my work, touch it or take it home. I am very much rewarded by their joy in my work.
"SheTransformer" By Borbala Arvai

I hear you Borbala - working with textiles for so many years I can attest to how wonderful it is to handle the various fabrics from smooth silk to nubby wool and looking at the colors and textures becomes the inspiration for projects. And of course it's wonderful to see people being joyful about a creation, but not surprising when you making such fabulous dolls as "SheTransformer"!

Do you think a creative life comes from ideas, doing or being?

For me it comes from all of these. I have to live all these three to let the creativity happen in my life. Sometimes I have ideas, pictures in my head for a long time and I let myself just be with them for a while. With that, their presence becomes really strong and they want to become materialized. Often I feel myself just a channel that lets this happen. I am not really doing much, I just let my pictures come through.

"Hermit Mermaid" by Borbala Arvai

How do you express your creative life? Is it integrated in your daily life or is it a separate part of your life?

My creative life is totally present in my everyday life. I am staying home with my children and work my art at the same time.

What is the most significant creative event in your life to date? Was it a defining moment? Was it a milestone or a lifetime goal?

There were many significant creative events in my life:

* After high school I worked as a dancer/performer and I experienced a great creative event every time I was on stage. I really liked that kind of work and was very inspired by it.

* In 2000, when I got my MA in Visual Communication/Graphic Design as a winner of a previous competition, I was chosen to design the whole Corporate Identity for our school, the Hungarian University of Crafts and Design. That was my work for my degree and it was a great honor.

* In regards to needle felting I had some significant events as well! I loved to be part of the Snow White book series which was published by Csimota Publisher in Hungary in 2009. Five artists were each designing a book, same story, same size but very different artistic expressions. Each of them are very different and unique.

* Also, when I started to make my elaborate art dolls it was a very significant event to be able to exhibit my "Endangered Fairyland" series in Vita Art Center in Ventura in 2010. That was the start and the first print of my real passion: creating creatures from wool and other natural finds like moss, shells, pine cones, acorns, grass, etc. Since then every art doll I make and exhibit is a significant creative event.

 * The most recent creative event was when VC Star journalist Allison Bruce found me and wrote a long write up in the paper. She was very thorough and it was also an honor.

WOW!! Those are some amazing accomplishments and defining moments to be proud of Borbala!! And I'm sure there are many more to come...

What is it like to be a self-sustaining artist?
I am not working a day job, but I am at home with my two boys (5 and 7). They are my first priority and I am working my art around their schedule. On the other hand I always needed to create and express myself and it feels great that I can also provide to my family with something I love doing.

Another whimsical felted doll by Borbala Arvai

Is your life different from the time when you worked for others?
There was a short time in my life, when I worked for others as a graphic designer. It is very hard for me not to be in charge of my time, therefore I was always trying to be a freelancer or having my own business. But even now I am working for others, I am serving my clients, but in a much more free way. I really enjoy these relationships and love that I can work from home.

I understand that feeling of needing control over your own time Borbala! I've worked as a freelance costumer before and I know that it's so much better if you can have some freedom in creating a work schedule that works for YOU...

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Many thanks to Borbala for this interview! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it! Be sure to check out her beautiful dolls and her felted jewelry at her Etsy shop and read the Ventura Star article as well:
BoriDolls Creations 
~"You name it... we felt it!"~ 
unique needle felted toys, decoration and jewelry


Diana said...

Thanks for introducing me to this terrific artist, Monica! I've done a little doll-making, but never with needle-felting - looks like it would be a fun thing to learn, esp. from such a master of the craft.

The Creative Beast said...

Borbala is QUITE the master, as evidenced by her beautiful creations...

I'll let you know of her next event, though they are held in Ventura County!

young-eclectic-encounters said...

So glad to have found your blog. What a delight to be introduced to another artist and an entirely different kind of art work. My daughter also choose to stay home with her kids and started her own doll-making business which is doing quite well
How wonderful to be able to combine art and family
Thank you for introducing me to this delightful new artist
Johnina :^A

slommler said...

What an inspiring artist!! Love her dolls and it was fun getting to know her.
Thanks Monica!

pepper said...

wow, really great to read another interview and compare experiences and viewpoints on creativity, What beautiful, beautiful work.I'm feeling all motivated and inspired! yay!
Pepper x