Beyond the Valley of the Shadow of Dolls

I inherited a bunch of dolls from my Mom and my Aunt. Of course when I was a wee lass I loved these dolls. I had some on them up in my room, others I was only allowed to play with when Aunt T was visiting. There are cloth ones, and ceramic, and other weird materials (I think one is paper mache…). So they are in boxes. I can’t bring myself to part with them to just sell them. I’m not really so much a display dolls decor, so I have decided to recycled them into my own art. I have been wanting to play with art dolls for a while- but I’d thought I would make the dolls. But now…. now I have a whole resource of dolls. 🙂


Is this thing on?


I’ve often regarded my blog like a neglected project car out in the yard. Draped with a tarp. You mean to get to it, but it seems to just slide out of sight and mind. Writing has been my hobby car. People like it when they see it, and comment on how you should do something more with it. But I’ve only ever really torn back the tarp on sunny days, and warm ones at that.  I’ve never before called myself a “writer.” When asked, I would say “I write.”  But more recently, the urgency to spend more time plugged in has become more, well, urgent.

It’s been a rough year plunked smack down into the middle of my third most wonderful years ever. And I wanna write about it. ANd I wanna write about trees, and poetry, and art, and astrology, and culture, and, and…and….ANDD!!!!!

So I’m a writer. It feels good to try it on like a big ol’fluffy sweater that you are so grateful for when the cool drops.

So come along, follow me. Let’s see where this goes. 🙂

Lara Quint

Originally published in Jute Magazine

LARA_QUINT_044Crimean born Larisa Tomashchuk, knew from the age of four what she wanted to do with her life. “I remember how in the kindergarten all the children were asked who they wanted to be when they grew up and everybody said that they wanted to be the policemen, doctors, actresses, singers, and I wanted to be a fashion clothes designer.”

“I graduated from the Kiev National University of Technologies and Design where I obtained my Master’s degree in art modeling of costumes. Beat everyone in contests, always won top places. I did an internship at Tatiana Parfionova fashion house in St. Petersburg, where the designer offered me an official job. Then I worked at a Kiev fashion house until I realized that I was ready to say more, and launched my own brand.”LARA_QUINT_002

Larisa, reinvented herself as Lara Quint, and created her own brand.  When she began looking for a nom de plume, she “began to look through all the characters’ names in my favorite books and found one named John Quint, and I quite liked his name. I started to look into the meaning and it turned out it was short for quintessence, which seemed very much a definition of me; as I love all at once.  I am impatient in my ideas and I find it difficult to stop the flow of ideas in my head. Therefore, the five main spheres that are the quintessence became my credo in life. ‘A ship will sail the way you name it’. This is our saying.”

Now located in the heart of Kiev, Lara has her “own studio, where all my collections are created and where I accept clients. This is my kingdom, my world in which I constantly reside and where I surround myself with the best people, only traveling abroad or work can get me out of there.”

Lara’s design inspiration comes from her own personal experiences, and reflections on everything from Baudelaire poems, to the world around her.


The Cost of Working for Free

A fellow artist once chided me for working for free as a makeup artist and production designer, believing that it devalued my work as an artist. In my mind, I believed it a good way to gain exposure as a new artist, network with others in the industry, and get practical experience. However, it is a slippery slope. It is far too easy to be taken for granted and fall into a place where one’s work loses value because it was produced for free. I don’t have the answers, on this topic. But it is good to read another’s exposure of the issue. Jessica Hefland explores this in her article Why Are Designers Still Expected To Work For Free? in reference to Doubleday’s recent announcement of an open competition for the design of the cover of Dan Brown’s upcoming book. Undoubtedly this will stir up the hankering to submit for gratis. But should it?

One of the most compelling arguments that has come out of the free-work conversation is that agreeing to it perpetuates a culture in which creative work goes unpaid and undervalued. As Helfand argues, it also sends a message that art and design are more like hobbies than careers. “If you are lucky, the fun and easy part is a lovely benefit,” she writes in her email. “But it is still business, and it is absolutely work—ergo, something changing hands that deserves compensation, plain and simple.

Should artists work for free?