A middle-school art teacher retired from the Mobile County Public School System, Patrick describes herself as "a practicing artist and crafter" who includes in her body of work photography, doll making, handcrafted bookmaking, jewelry crafts, painting and mixed media."
Patrick sells her creations at various arts and crafts shows and other venues and bills her combined artistic genres as "ArtisticObsessions."
One item in particular captures Patrick's audiences and customers at shows and sales, her FreeSpirit dolls. While these "beings" really need to be seen to be appreciated, a short description might go as follows:
They are approximately 8"-12" tall. No two are alike. They have round cloth-covered heads in a variety of colors and usually have one sequin-star eye and one made of a tiny bead. They have very long ballerina legs, may be pastel and dressed in a tutu or clothed in all black Gothic attire; they may bring to mind a voodoo doll, a good luck charm or a Kitchen Witch. They are intriguing.
And now Patrick explains how and why she makes these unusual dolls:
"The FreeSpirits were the results of my trying to develop a doll that was not sewn, and one in which I could utilize some of the abundance of supplies that I’ve accumulated," she said. "The basic doll body is made of wire and cloth, wrapped with more wire and yarns. A variety of fun and wild yarns is used for their 'crazy' hair. Buttons, cords, fringes, trims, charms and ribbon flowers are also included."
Though each doll has its own look and personality, Patrick said that she usually works on a group of FreeSpirits at one time. "My last batch was 40, most of whom found new homes in a couple months. I am currently working on a new group of 50, which should be ready for the fall craft shows," she said.
As to why she makes the dolls (other than to use up all the snippets of raffia, sequins, buttons and funky yarn, Patrick said that "creating the FreeSpirits is an exciting, inspiring, challenging and relaxing craft." It is also a time-consuming process, which she thoroughly enjoys.
And, she said, "I keep making them because people describe them as fun, delightful, unique and full of positive energy (she agrees with that, she said.) I love it when they bring a smile or a laugh to someone."