Tag Archives: Lois Stillman

Oh, what a doll! “Have a Heart Dolls” public art from Rose Baker Senior Center is global

There’s always something happening in the art sessions at Rose Baker Senior Center. With help and direction from the indomitably positive and dedicated artist,  Juni VanDyke, participants in the art program share their talents and collaborate. Participants join in an amazing amount of creative work and activity and have the opportunity to exhibit their creations. Often they work together as a group toward a final outcome. Three quilt series became monumental and cherished works of public art. (See Kim Smith’s beautiful coverage on Good Morning Gloucester.) When you visit the art studio at Rose Baker you’ll see floor to ceiling examples of their creations. For the past few years, dolls have been blooming up the studio wall and steadily and similarly building into a kind and social public art project. Now it’s a mission for art and healing that’s reached beyond Gloucester and Cape Ann.

Juni Van Dyke shared the photographs in this post and writes about the iteration of this project:

“Two years ago, Lois Stillman, a regular participant in the Art Program at the Senior Center, shared an idea with our Monday art group.  The idea became known as “The Endearing Doll Project” — “endearing” because the hand-made doll that Lois introduced to us was just that…endearing.  By way of Lois’ initial instruction, the dolls began to multiply with a serious purpose:  the dolls would be created for the comfort of children undergoing cancer treatment at Dana Farber.  Later, more dolls…(baskets of dolls!) would be delivered to elderly residents at Golden Living and SeaCoast.  Still later, more dolls…(armfuls of dolls!) would join volunteers headed to The Dominican Republic where children who have little in the way of playthings would receive them. The “Endearing Dolls” became known as “The Have a Heart Dolls”. To accurately describe the artwork attributed to each individual doll, (over four hundred dolls to date!) one would have to exhaust every synonym in a thesaurus under the heading “beautiful”.  Indeed, the dolls are beautiful with exquisite individual attention given to detail:  lace trimmings, velvet ribbons, eyelet petticoats, knitted caps, stylized tresses, etc.  But the “Have a Heart Dolls” are so much more than beautiful works of art.  These dolls, with their purpose of bringing comfort and cheer, are a definitive source of love.”  Participants in the “Have a Heart Doll Project” are: Lois Dench, Judy Menicocci, Mary Noons, Maggie Rosa, Carmella Scola, Emily Soule, Ida Spinola, Lois Stillman, Teddy Talbot, Connie Troisi, Juni VanDyke, and Susan Wright

To help with the dolls or other projects and learn more about the art program: Council On Aging (COA) Rose Baker Senior Center Art Program. The mission statement under the direction of Juni VanDyke: To connect Gloucester Senior Citizens to their community through worthwhile art projects while encouraging artistic individuality and collaboration. 

Simply Stunning Work in Progress

Juni Van Dyke and Maggie Rosa discuss design elements of the Eastern Point panel.

Yesterday I had the joy to meet Juni Van Dyke and several members of the Rose Baker Senior Center art class. Juni and her students are working on a project titled Gloucester: A Community of Neighborhoods. Each fabric panel measures approximately five-foot square and illustrates through iconic imagery characteristics unique to Gloucester neighborhoods. The banner’s design in it’s entirety, along with the individual artist’s whimsical designs and choice of fabrics, is utterly captivating and a vibrant visual feast.

Maggie’s extraordinary interpretation of the archetypical Beauport window. The window’s mullions frame a collection of antique glass in varying shades of lavender to deep grape.

This is not the first grand scale project of it’s kind created by Juni and the fiber artists at the Senior Center. The banner titled From Sea to Shining Sea: Celebration of the American Landscape that is currently on view at the Senior Center lunchroom was also exhibited at the Lexington Heritage Center for six months, and it measures nine feet in height by thirty feet in width.

Lois Stillman’s elegant rendition of the birch tree clump at Niles Pond.

Eastern Point panel detail with Mother Ann and butterflies.

I am honored to have been invited to create a butterfly for the Eastern Point panel although I think they have it beautifully covered. The whimsical swirl of butterflies in the upper left corner was created by students at the Eastern Point Day School and the charming and detailed Monarchs fluttering around Beauport by Maggie Rosa.

Lois stands in front of the panel she designed. Note her genius interpretation of the Abram Piatt Andrew Bridge, replete with cars (click photo to see larger version) and including Nichols Candy House. Her deep love of trees is apparent in the exquisitely skilled manner she has stitched and pieced many different species of trees created for the panels.

As the work on Gloucester: A Community of Neighborhoods unfolds we’ll bring you more stories and detailed photos about this vibrant and captivating work of art in progress–there are simply too many beautiful tales to tell in one post!

Juni and Priscilla ~ Sunlight streams through the large picture windows of the second floor art room at the Rose Baker Senior Center.

Pauline, Juni, and Maggie

Juni and Maggie