Peg-wooden dolls created by artist Jane Campbell are on display at the North River Civic Center through Aug. 31. Jane Campbell is a highly-skilled painter with two degrees in art. She taught painting at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, and has enjoyed teaching students privately throughout her life.
In 1972-73 Ms. Campbell spent a year studying the works of the Dutch Master's of the 17th century, learning their styles and techniques, at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England. The discipline opened a new vistas in the world of art, as well as bolstered her confidence in exploring new areas of expression.
Upon their return from England, Ms. Campbell and her husband, Kenneth, a sculptor, built a studio on five acres near their home in Wisconsin. As her interest in doll making developed, Jane's portion of the studio expanded, necessitating the need to add a "carving room".
Ms. Campbell'ss dolls have been shown around the country, including Enchanted World Doll Museum in Mitchell, South Dakota. Her work has received awards and recognition for her creativity and originality with each experience. The unique and individual character of each of her dolls equals the quality of enjoyment offered by her other artistic ventures.
Peg-wood dolls have been a German tradition since late 18th century. They were made during the winter in the tiny mountain villages throughout the German Apps. The dolls were gathered up in the spring to sell at toy fairs. Costumes of the dolls were copied from one of the hand-colored fashion plates published in the ladies' magazine of the day. The hairstyles during the 1830's were extravagant and featured the high raised braids know as Apollo knots. The doll's heads were usually covered under huge hats.
Construction of the doll begins with carving the head and torso as one piece. The lower limbs and arms are then added. Holes are drilled through the upper torso as well as through the hip section to facilitate the pins that hold the body together. Wood native to the region offers a diverse selection of quality and character. Each doll is constructed with 21 individual pieces. The costumes are accurate for the chosen genre or period, with hours of research and construction meant to appear true to the subject matter. An average of 35 to 50 hours are spent with each doll.
Dolls presented are: Senegal, Soldier Boy, Norwegian, Scottish, Ugandan, Old Fashioned Girl, Ghana, Nigerian, Cowboy, Fancy Lady, Party Time, Girl with Red Hat, Red White and Blue, School Girl, Christmas Time, Astronaut, At Christmas and American Indian.