UFDC is a Fan of Helen Kish!
Convention 2013 Artist Spotlight
Convention may be months away but our event artists and manufacturers are already hard at work. Each month UFDC is pleased to introduce you to the artists and companies whose work will be showcased at the meal events planned for Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States of America.
Everything’s Coming Up Roses!
The White House Rose Garden was established in 1913 by Ellen Wilson, wife of Woodrow Wilson. In 1986 President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation declaring the rose “the National Floral Emblem of the United States”. Part of the proclamation reads as follows: “Our first President, George Washington, bred roses, and a variety he named after his mother is still grown today. The White House itself boasts a beautiful Rose Garden. We grow roses in all our fifty States. We find roses throughout our art, music, and literature. We decorate our celebrations and parades with roses. Most of all, we present roses to those we love, and we lavish them on our altars, our civil shrines, and the final resting places of our honored dead. The American people have long held a special place in their hearts for roses. Let us continue to cherish them, to honor the love and devotion they represent, and to bestow them on all we love just as God has bestowed them on us.”
The Little Fairy Who Lives in the White House Rose Garden
Helen Kish will be the featured artist at a meal event this year in Washington. The theme is about “a little fairy who resides in the Rose Garden at the White House. She has lived there for many years and has known many presidents and first ladies. Visitors to the Rose Garden may not know it but they are being watched by this happy little spirit!” Helen Kish will be making an adorable little fairy for every attendee to take home.
Artist Helen Kish admits to an obsession to create. She just can’t help herself. Medical science has yet to come up with a cure for this particular brand of hyperkineticism and so it continues unabated. Although Kish is best known for the vinyl dolls she designs for her own company (Kish & Company), she is also a sculptor of one-of-a kind stoneware figures and has a collection of figurative bronzes as well as jewelry designs in her repertoire. Although she feels compelled to sculpt and create things; the artist acknowledges her very good fortune that there are collectors for whom her work has resonance.
Kish has no trouble reconciling fine art sculpture and the doll. What is a doll but a three dimensional representation of the human form, the very same form that artists from the beginning of time have rendered in every medium from natural dye on the walls of caves to marble and cured earth to modern acrylics, resins and pixels?
Kish began sculpting as a child, with the Colorado snow as her first medium. With limited access to sculpting materials her first terracotta sculptures eventually disintegrated because she had no way to properly cure the clay. Later on, a truncated commercial art education led her into her first small business as an airbrush artist for local photographic studios. But her desire to sculpt was not to be denied. Kish began scouring the art supply houses for a medium and found something called ‘Polyform’, a pre-curser to Sculpey. “It was a bit like trying to model with chewing gum” Kish muses. The ‘dolls’ that resulted from these early attempts make the artist cringe now, but were clearly the beginnings of a career she could not even imagine at that time.
Around the year 1980, Kish was tapped by R. Dakin & Company to design several dolls for their ‘Elegance’ line. It was her first commercial job as well as her introduction to the world of vinyl dolls. Ten years later, Kish began her own vinyl doll company with the launch of three 10” dolls. Since then, she has lost track of the number of designs she has created for her own company. Still, Kish has continued to take on commercial projects outside of Kish & Company. Kish is proud of her association with the Pleasant Company, for whom she was chosen to sculpt and design the face paint for the “Girls of Many Lands”, launched in October 2002.
After accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award from Dolls Magazine a few years ago, Helen joked that she was also announcing her retirement. Not so, as the passion to create still gets her up in the morning and invades her dreams.
For more information about Kish and Company please visit their website at www.kishandcompany.com.