Sunday, June 13, 2010

Eric Renner and the Chalk Dolls

I met Eric Renner at the doll art show in Silver City. I had already been attracted to his object collage pieces, some of the objects being old obscure things from the twenties and thirties, maybe earlier. Cute little porcelain seven deadly sins and such. There was one of the female popes, several small dolls each with a bottle of two marbles, very much like gonads. He also had a fascinating book on display of chalk dolls and such, the sorts of things folks would win as prizes at carnivals, broken down into sections on various iconic figures, some folk-lorish, some cinematic, some cartoonish, or patriotic, even domestic. He had other books of pin-hole photographs, which I think can be found on Amazon, but not the chalk doll book, which I think you have to get from him directly.

Somewhere in the prep for the show Eric needed to service one of the popess's ball bottles and somehow managed to drop a marble down the sink, where it fortunately hung up on the drain stopper mechanism. Getting it back out was a challenge, but after a few tries with makeshift tools I managed to save his ball. He was grateful, we had gotten a bit acquainted over the struggle with gravity and geometry, and he offered me a copy of the big book. It's very well produced, mostly color images on almost every page, hard-cover, good paper, and a very limited edition. Worth the fifty buck price, which I couldn't spare at the time. I was thrilled, since getting it required stopping at his house where the collection of dolls lived, the actual dolls, far more than were shown in the book. It wasn't far off my route out of town, but it was way out in the dessert.

So on the way out of Silver for yet another pass at Bosque del Apache, I turned south near Mimbres and spent a few hours yakking and having lunch and being blown away by the collection.

Eric and the museum

Classics including Chaplin and Ghandi

On left are original carvings used to make the molds, and finished dolls on the right

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