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Friday, September 29, 2006

Magda Watts Doll Artist

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I feel honored that I am able to introduce you to Magda Watts an extraordinary woman and a doll artist that through her doll art has created miracles.

A short while ago I saw a letter on a doll makers list. . Here is what it said:

Hi Thank you to accept me As I am looking the wonderful works , I don't know if my dolls are acceptable because I am doing mostly Judaica dolls, But look my work, and you tell me Thank you magda watts

A flurry of letters from list members followed......we were all amazed by this wonderful artist and her story.
I myself was mesmerized by Magda’s stunning creations. I found myself going back to her web site again and again, taking in every detail and trying to decide which one of her dolls are my favorite.....impossible to say, how can I choose, they are all amazing.
I wrote Magda and asked her for permission to write about her in my blog.. She wrote me back and gave me permission. In exchanging e-mails with Magda I found out that she has a great sense of humor and a positive outlook.
Magda Watts grew up in Hungary until the age of 15, when she and all but one member of her immediate family were deported to Auschwitz. After 7 months in Auschwitz, Magda, along with her sister and other young girls and women in the concentration camp, was picked by the Siemen’s company as slave labor to make time bombs, in their factory in Nuremberg, which was officially a branch of the Flossenbeurg concentration camp.
Magda had suffered unbelievable atrocities, the murder of her parents in Auschwitz and the murder of her brothers and sisters. In Nuremberg she became infested with scabies and was restricted to staying in the "scabies hut". Sick, depressed, hungry and lonely she looked for something to keep herself occupied. She found some rags and from that she created a doll.
During the distribution of soup Magda said the supervisor, “Give me another portion for my baby” the supervisor said “Show me” she showed her the doll and was given an extra portion of soup in return for the doll. That was the beginning of Magda’s doll making career.
Word reached the SS about the talented teenage doll maker and they started bringing her material to make dolls for them. In return Magda was given extra rations that she shared with her sister and her friends and in this way she saved their lives.
In 1983 on a visit to Hungary the memories of the Holocaust started to haunt her mind. Returning to Israel still tormented by her memories of Auschwitz and Nuremberg, Magda as she had done 40 years prior, saved herself by turning to doll making. Since then she has made hundreds of dolls that have been exhibited in Israel, Germany, Hungary and The United States.
Jennifer Resnick made PBS Documentary about Magda’s life called “The Liberation of the Spirit”which was first televised in 1996.
Magda told me that she is self taught. Her medium is polymer clay and fabric.
All the personalities she creates are from her dreams, imagination and from her memories of the people and personalities she knew as a young, happy and carefree little Jewish girl in Hungary before the Holocaust.
Many of the props that go with her dolls are made by her, others such as the musical instruments and china pieces were bought in Chinatown in New York City.....sadly that store has closed down so now she looks for props on the Web.
Magda lives in Eilat Israel with her husband. They have two grown children and four grandchildren.
She is modest about her dolls and said to me “I don’t belong to no artist groups, because my dolls
look like between those beautiful dolls like a thorn in the touches”.
I cannot agree with her, I find her dolls the very embodiment of humanity, that is their beauty.
On her web site Magda said:
I think my life, even today, inspires many people to higher levels, to teach them to, Never Give Up! There is always hope of survival - even from the most terrible places.”

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Posted by Mo'a :: 10:33 AM :: 18 Art Connoiseurs

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Saturday, September 23, 2006


For the last couple of weeks I have been thinking about this blog and the changes I would like to make.
Leikur og List literally means Play and Art. I got the idea for my blog name, from one of my favorite Icelandic sayings: Thad verdur hverjum ad list, sem hann leikur. Translation: Practice makes perfect.

My objective is to introduce my readers to my art world, and the many people in that world, that inspire and awe me. Which leads me to the changes I will be making. I hope that my dear and faithful reader and friends will stay with me.......I think you will like the changes.
In my next post I will be writing about an amazing doll artist that saved her life by making a doll.
In the following posts I will introduce you to one of my cousins who is an amazing painter.
I will give you another look at one of my favorite art destinations and further down the line there will be more interviews with doll artists. Doll art is often misunderstood, consequently many people have no idea what it is all about. It will be my pleasure to give you a glimpse into that world.
October 30 will be my first anniversary of blogging :)

Posted by Mo'a :: 12:21 PM :: 9 Art Connoiseurs

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sophie's List

Dear little puppytoes Sophie, has challenged me to write a book meme....she was ever so sneaky and had her mommy/Neva tell me about this. So here you are Sophietoes my list.

1. One Book You have read more than once:
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.I read it in Icelandic, there Pippi is called Lina Langsokkur.
I loved this book and wish I had brought it with me when we moved to the States, from Iceland.
When I was twelve years old I had a pet monkey that used to ride on my shoulder. He would hiss and screech at my Mother, when she tried to pry him off me, the mornings that I had to leave for school. I thought of myself as Lina, with her pet monkey Niels, on her shoulder.

2. One Book you would want on a desert island:
Well, I can tell you that I am not going there.....now if it were a dessert island I would be there in a blink of an eye.
However, Sophietoes, if you insist on sending me there I would bring “The Bible”, Old and New Testament. It has everything, sex, lust, greed, murder, mystery and love.....well you know all this.....I think it would be a good read, if I were to agree to going to this desert island of yours, which I am not, so forget it..

3. One Book that made you laugh:
This one will surprise you. Mya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” there is one scene in this book that had me laughing so hard that I literally ROTBLOL (rolled on the bed laughing out loud) What? you though I would go and roll on the floor.....I know little puppy, that is what you would do, but remember I am human. Anyway there is this scene that takes place in Church......well read it, and you will find out why I thought it so funny. You can read? Yes, I thought you could... you write so well.

4. One Book that made you cry:
Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” I was very young and this was the first book I read about a war. It made a tremendous impact on me and it also made me sick, so sick that I had to go to the bathroom, to leave my lunch there.

5. One Book you wish you had written:
Now that is a good question. Is that from the point of view of best written? Or a book that has made billions and made the author richer than god.....well, richer than almost anyone?
Who am I kidding? “The Philosopher’s Stone” by J.K.Rowling. I also would have been compelled to write a series of seven books that would lead to muchmuchmuch (borrowed that from you :^), lots of money, movie rights, product endorsements etc. and etc., and on top of that I would have a great, fun web site like this. Hint....the word this (see word before Hint) is a portal and you will be transported to J.K Rowling’s site. Have fun.
But believe me, I would not kill Harry Potter off in the last, still unpublished book, which is the rumor I heard. What makes me shudder is that I heard J.K. herself say that, so I guess it is not really a rumor :( That is just not right and Sophie baby if J.K. does that, which she said she would, scratch the answer above (number 4) and insert that sadsadsad still unpublished book.

6. One Book you wish had never been written:
Blindness by Jose Saramago,.....actually I wish I had never read it. It is so well written and so graphic, that I had to,on many occasions while reading this book, go and deposit my lunch in the bathroom.

7. One Book you are currently reading:
“The Vein of Gold” by Julia Cameron. I loved reading and working with her book “The Artist’s Way” ( see number 9) so much, that I thought it would be good to read and work with “The Vein of Gold” I am also reading “Hja Baru” by Ingolfur Margeirsson......you guessed it, an Icelandic book.“Carl and Karin Larsson Creators of The Swedish Style”. “The Little Locksmith” A Memoir by Katherine Butler Hathaway, this also could qualify for question number one, as I am re-reading this book and tomorrow I will also start on and stop reading...(see number below,number 8) You thought I only read one book at the time? *laughs*

8. One Book you keep meaning to read:
Well this is funny, Minka the Penguin girl had the same answer.
Many years ago my son who was in college at the time handed me this book and said “Mother you must read this” so I started reading, then stopped, started reading it again, then stopped, started again, stopped......you get the idea. This book has been on my bedside table for twelve years and in two homes. Every once in a while I pick it up and start reading. I am sure it is a good book, after all Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a great writer and “One Hundred Years of Solitude” is considered a masterpiece. On the back cover of the book it says, that it is the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race. What is keeping me from, keeping on reading this book? It is just the kind of book I love to read.*shakes her head*
Perhaps Sophie, I should go to that desert island of yours and read it once and for all, who knows it might become the book that I will read more than once. If that happens, insert this book’s name, where it says Lina Langsokkur.
What am I thinking? I am not going to any desert island.

9. One Book that changed your life:
“The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. I read it at just the time in my life when I needed it the most. The “Morning Pages” and “The Artist Date” are brilliant and everybody should do that. Don’t know what I am talking about, well get your little wagging tail, to a bookstore or library and check it out.....you will thank me.....especially since you are an artist.
And......”The Mastery of Love” by Don Miguel Ruiz. I also have, the 48 card, card deck and every morning I pick out a card with a thought for the day.....have been doing that for two years, it is always a joy to me to see which card I picked.
What, you thought it would only take one book to change my life?

10. One Author who is your very favorite of all time:
I added that, just because, and it is my meme.
Charles deLint. I think I have read all his books.....he is brilliant in writing about the world in which my imagination lives. Feast your eyes on his web site. Better yet read one of his books....I would not recommend “A Circle of Cats” since cats are probably not your interest.

So there you have it Sophie baby/puppytoes/Neva. As for tagging.....there is no one left. Who is left? I ask you. Let me see you tagged, what? five, no seven people and as for the Kyahgirl she tagged a bunch of people, even Doug and he wrote his list. So who is left?

Posted by Mo'a :: 7:39 PM :: 12 Art Connoiseurs

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Doll Maker and Artiste Extraordinaire

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