by Carol Dunn
LA VETA- After many months of creative activity, local artist M.J. Butler had her premiere exhibit of her Open Range Art Dolls at the La Veta Fine Arts Gallery on May 23. Her dolls will remain on permanent display at the Gallery, where several of them sold even before the opening reception.
Butler has a website at: http://openrangeartdolls.etsy.com, which shows photos of some of her unique dolls, crafted with local materials like yucca stems and dried seed pods, sticks, and weathered wood snowfencing. To make her one-of-a kind creations, Butler uses a variety of fiber for hair, wool or fabric clothing, papier mache, and faces crafted from polymer clay.
Butler’s work has also been selected for exhibit and sale at eight juried art festivals in Colorado this summer. They include the Denver People’s Fair, Art on the Arkansas in Canon City, La Veta’s Art in the Park (July 4-5), Alpine Art Affair in Winter Park, Crested Butte Arts Festival, Ridgway Arts & Crafts Rendezvous, Riverside Fine Arts Festival in Salida, and the Fine Arts & Crafts Festival in Estes Park.
Retired from the Denver Art Museum, Butler knows her art. She told the Journal, “The art doll is created primarily as an artistic expression. While the style can range from realistic to abstract, it probably has a strong figurative reference.” She pointed out that, unlike a typical toy doll, the art doll is not made for play or for a child. “It is a one-of-a-kind item designed, handmade and finished by the artist,” she explained.