Pretty portraits on quirky dolls on display at Leamington studio

A childhood passion for dolls has been transformed into an intricate and quirky art form by Columbian craftswoman Andrea Pena.

Andrea Pena - Arts Feature
Andrea Pena - Arts Feature

The artist, whose work can be seen at The Studio at 37 Park Street in Leamington, uses very small brushes to capture individual expressions in the portraits she creates on her hand-made rag dolls.

Starting with a close-up photograph, Andrea depicts people’s personalities on her dolls, each one of which takes her around three days to complete.

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She said: “I use fabric paints and paint by hand, using very tiny brushes so that I can get particular expressions of the person. I do everything by hand.”

While growing up in Columbia, Andrea, who has lived in the UK for ten years, spent a lot of time helping her aunt make rag dolls - several of which she got to keep for herself.

She said: “I love dolls. I studied fashion design and I really like sewing and everything hands-on, so I started doing this.

“I work at a nursery during the mornings and spend my afternoons and evenings on the dolls. It’s what I really love doing, so I would really like to set up my own business and do this full-time.”

And it’s not just people Andrea depicts. Due to demand from pet-loving clients, she has now started to paint portraits of dogs and cats on cushions as well.

Andrea lives in Oxfordshire but hopes her work can be permanently on display at the Park Street studio, which is owned by John Davies.

She said: “It’s difficult to publicise your work. Someone told me about The Studio at 37 Park Street, where John exhibits arts and crafts. It’s fantastic because he supports people like me.”

To see more of Andrea’s work, visit www.thedollsgarden.com