The daughter of an artist and a banker/farmer, Anya Doll has sought creative reconciliation of dichotomy through art from a very early age. She received simultaneous Bachelor of Arts degrees in Theology and Elementary Education, which taught her that exploration of life’s dilemmas is much more effective while finger-painting with chocolate pudding, and that perhaps children’s book authors are among our best philosophers.
In 2014, in response to the destructive powers of mental illness in her family, Anya turned to art as a path to learning how to love better while walking through hell.
I explore similarities in apparent opposites. This has led me to both challenging and inspiring places. Chaos is inherent at all stages of life. I found however that making art was a far preferable response than challenging life to wrestling matches. Facing the tensions inherent in the human condition by lovingly creating out of the very messiness and even pain of living has become my passion. In recent years, navigating deeply challenging places my husband's mental illness led us, often required more of me than I could give. Two years before he ended his life in 2015, I segued from acrylic painting to “painting with thread” -- that is freestyle machine stitching of collaged fibers.
Pain, I have found, becomes a transformative practice while creating meditation/prayer tapestries. Initially inspired by Buddhist Prayer flags in the Himalayas, these flags can be hung tied together or stand alone and be framed. Each is made by layering hundreds of fibers and fabrics to create an effect of colors glowing up from below. Then I lower the feeder feet on my sewing machine and move the piece around to sew in the details. They have frayed edges to symbolize the release of our intentions to love without the deterioration in the elements.
Working with fibers has led me to explore other fibrous materials as well as exploration of glazing techniques in painting. All my art orients the observer to look beneath the surface of the human condition, to find the fierceness of love as well as the tenderness, where is the balance of what sustains us through the chaos.