Close your eyes and imagine a doll. You might picture a Malibu Barbie, the American Girl doll from your childhood or even a homemade Raggedy Ann.
But for Anya Anderson, and countless other artists across the world, dolls are much more than a children’s toy — they are an artful form of self-expression.
Doll artist Anya Anderson received her Bachelor’s degree in fine arts from a Russian university before moving to the United States in 2005.
“Art has always been in my life. When I moved to America I tried different art mediums like felting, illustration and digital painting, but I felt there was always something missing,” Anderson said. “Suddenly, art doll making changed the focus of my life. All my skills, fantasies and experience happened to be very handy — sculpture, painting, theater, literature, felting and fashion.”
Recently, Anderson joined Art Source Gallery, a collaborative fine art gallery featuring the work of nearly 50 Idaho artists. Art Source Gallery includes a wide variety of art forms, including paintings, sculptures, glass, jewelry, woodwork and now, dolls.
Anderson believes that each of her dolls tell a story, while also leaving room for the viewer to let their imagination run wild and make their own interpretations. When making her dolls, Anderson uses paper, clay, paint, fabric, yarn, felt and any other material that fits the specific needs of each doll.
“For me, doll making is an art, a self-expression,” Anderson said. “It’s my view of the world, my fantasies and my experiences in the art form of a little human. Despite the fact that dolls connect us to lots of superstitions, for me, the doll remains exclusively an artwork.”
Art Source Gallery is located at 1516 W. Grove St. and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information about the gallery or Anderson’s work call 208-331-3374 or visit artsourcegallery.com.