Vermilion Arts Guild's Cheryl Flowers: The "Stuff" That Makes Art
Scraps of wool, fabric, feather and fur. Old keys, beads and baubles. Wire, wood and trinkets long forgotten. "Stuff" is Cheryl Flowers' medium and she uses the everyday "things" to create some truly original art: fantasy figures and dolls that look like storybook characters, some whimsical and romantic, others dark and fascinating . Her discipline as part of the Vermilion Arts Guild is without question singular.
Cheryl began creating the soft sculptures, or dolls, when her son, a sculptor and artist, noticed her work and encouraged her to think more intricately about the details. When he took one of her works to an art gallery for an appraisal she was pleasantly shocked at the value they assigned and what she considering “just playing.” “I realized that others might also enjoy this work,” said Cheryl.
Cheryl is completely self-taught and seeks inspiration from everywhere including the internet. She has over time refined her own style, for example progressing from cloth to clay heads. She particularly enjoys designing and making the clothing and costumes for the dolls, which includes creating the patterns and custom fitting. No two dolls are alike right down to the customized poem Cheryl creates about each piece. Sometimes a story inspires her to create a doll with personality like the one about a Victorian rat who found a cat and contemplated the pros and cons of eating it.
A member of the Vermilion Arts Guild since 2016, Cheryl’s work was discovered by another guild member at a garage sale she was having, The shopper encouraged Cheryl to apply to the Guild knowing her work would add diversity of the gallery of work and create conversation.
Although Cheryl's interest in art is lifelong, she didn’t fully explore her talent until later in life. “I couldn’t believe the first time someone bought one of my pieces,” she said. “That’s when I realize that passion is expressed in an artist's work.”
Cheryl encourages emerging artist like herself to share their art. “Don’t keep it a secret,” she said. “If it’s something you enjoy doing, that’s wonderful. You never know the places your art will take you.”
Author: Dana Smith, Main Street Vermilion Intern