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Making The Dopest Dolls In Chattanooga

Shelly Stephens describes what it's like to create her pieces for My Dope Dolls

My Dope Dolls is a local business run by Shelly Stephens that creates art pieces from dolls. Though the medium is rather unusual, Stephens likes the idea of creating works that have unique qualities and are unlike any other artists’ works. She first had the idea to use dolls after visiting an antique mall where she saw a few lamps that were made from dolls’ heads.

For her first piece, she added a succulent to the doll head to symbolize hair in an attempt to avoid copying what she had originally seen. She then began painting the dolls with alcohol inks and eventually began practicing acrylic paint pouring. After her experiment with the doll, she was so thrilled with her results that she decided to continue making more.

When speaking of what Stephens is inspired by, she states that she scours the web for interesting and unusual things and tends to be “drawn to the weird, unique stuff.”

With no formal art training, YouTube is a big help for her. She refers to it in aid of specific techniques. Her husband helps quite a bit, too, and gives her ideas and opinions on different aspects of her work.

In the process of making her pieces, Stephens enjoys painting the most as it grants her the most freedom of creativity. She has learned a considerable amount just from trial and error.

She says, “My paint poured dolls are really fun because you never know how the paint is going to look after it’s poured.”

Even though dolls are usually perceived as something sweet and pure, it is often that Stephens dolls possess an eerie aura. Her haunted dolls “don’t have to be perfect and there is room for error. After all, they are supposed to look like they have been through hell.”

Stephens plans to carry on making these dolls as long as it makes her happy. Although she would love to rely on this business as her main source of income, she is afraid that it may become stressful and unenjoyable. What she finds most admirable about making her pieces is that she can “zone out and relax.”

To support Stephens, follow her on Instagram and Facebook @mydopedolls and check out her Etsy store.

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