Robyn L. Coburn – BCA (Hons)
I’m an unschooling parent, writer, and artist – focusing on art dolls, mixed media and paper craft. But once upon a time……
My parents were both entertainers, and I grew up around cabaret, feathers, sequins and beads, but it wasn’t until I started studying acting that became truly fascinated with costuming and sewing. Since then, in a career spanning about 30 years I have been a costume, scenic and lighting designer and worked in every kind of theater from community to educational to “broadway” style, both in Australia and the US.
Along the way I gained a Bachelor of Creative Arts with Honors, majoring in Theater Design and Technology. I’ve been a technical director, stage manager, scenic painter, stitcher and sound designer. I’ve taught theater tech to actors. I’ve made props from all kinds of materials. I remember one wonderfully successful build when I made a reproduction of an old time victrola entirely out of faux painted paper and cardboard.
When I came to the US in the early 90’s, I was a freelance art department worker and later Production Designer of independent films before repurposing my life as a work-from-home, homeschooling mother. (I did not make “The Dummy” – it’s an irredeemable error on IMDb by the production company – see the comments here for the odd story)
My daughter turned out to be a very girly-girl, and it was her love of all kinds of doll – from Barbie’s to ball jointed to porcelain collectibles – that led me into the world of art dolls. I love making all my dolls. I’m inspired by fabrics, especially my collection of vintage prints. I love finding pretty beads and taking apart old jewelry to make new charms that give each of my dolls their character.
Sometimes the dolls represent a particular archetype from mythology, or literary character. Sometimes they embody an idea, like Wisdom. I like to meld images and motifs from many different cultures into my dolls and figurative sculptures. My favorite part is always the beading and embroidery. Each of my dolls is an individual. Here is a blog post answering the top five frequently asked questions.
When I’m not making dolls, I enjoy paper crafting. I’m a Spotted Canary Certified scrapbooking teacher, and enjoy making custom elements for my layouts and cards. I’m a member of the ScraPerfect Design Team, which has been a wonderful adventure. I like my paper crafts to be simple, with layers and dimensional details. I love vintage, raggedy looks, Shabby Chic, retro and romantic.
But I also like industrial, aged and rusted textures, that all work well with recycled and upcycled materials. I’ve been a confirmed “greenie” since the late 1980’s when I worked for Greenpeace. Nowadays I write a regular column for the website of Natural Life Magazine about environmentally sound crafting called “Crafting for a Greener World”.
I became interested in supporting people as they rediscover and reclaim their creativity after working at Michaels Arts and Crafts stores. Every day I met people, mostly parents trying to help their kids with school projects, who expressed a lot of insecurity about their own creative abilities. The constantly repeated phrase was “I’m not creative”, along with it’s cousin, “I’m not artistic”. (That has also inspired my new business Craft-it-Easy, but that’s another story.) Yet they all believe that their children are creative – just brimming with creativity! We all were those children once.
So now what I want to do is help you remember your own inherent creativity – it’s in there and it’s not just related to the arts. I want you to regain the same kind of self-confidence you had when you were a little kid – grabbing a crayon or a handful of mud – and making discoveries and loving the process as well as the results.
~ Robyn Coburn email@example.com