"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Thursday, June 30, 2011

a very good photo by a very good sister

This has got to be one of my favorite pictures ever. It was taken this past weekend by my sister.

Eddie and I wanted to show her the Bloch Building at the Nelson-Atkins Museum. We didn't make it over there during the day on Sunday, which was our original plan, but we did go later that evening. Eddie and I walked on ahead, up the hill toward one of the five freestanding “lenses” that emerge from the ground. Bobbie stayed back, walking more slowly. She glanced up and saw us holding hands as we walked toward the light of the lens. She whipped out her iPhone and took this picture with her Hipstamatic application.

It was such a nice surprise! I love it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

installation shots and some shoutouts

The CTT Friendraiser/Fundraiser was a success due in large part to the help of about 30 volunteers and the attendance of approximately 400 supporters.

From the registration table all the way through checkout, kids and adults alike gave their time and energy to make sure the evening turned out well. I can’t thank these generous and hard working people enough. Special kudos to Kathy Tracy, Sondra Atherly, Jennifer Smith, Susie Corbin and Jeff Mildner for heading up their sections.

The doll artists who donated their time and talent are to be congratulated and also thanked. Most everyone who saw the show and bid on the dolls felt this was an even stronger showing than the 2010 collection.

I’d also like to thank Lynne Melcher, our filmmaker, whose movie “Changes” was a huge hit as the centerpiece of the evening. This film will be used often in future presentations,; its value to CTT is immeasurable.

My husband Eddie, my sister Bobbie and my dear friend Carol all worked hard to make sure last minute details came together and I didn’t fall apart.

And finally, to all the people who crowded into the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center to be part of our 4th annual event: webale nnyo! (thanks in Lugandan) You are what makes this whole thing work. Your generous bids and donations go a long way toward helping the children at St. Mary Kevin Orphanage. As I said in my remarks Friday night, many of you are getting to know some of the children, even if at a distance: Issy, Willy, Brian, Ivan, Douglas, Rosette and Nicky are just some of the names I hear rolling off your tongues as if you have met them. That has been my hope all along: for you to come to know these children.

We certainly celebrated them on Friday night. I hope they felt all the love streaming in their direction.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

team reunion

Pictures and details about the fantastic, stupendous 4th annual Change the Truth Friendraiser/Fundraiser will be posted soon. In the meantime, I wanted to share this picture that was taken at our team reunion Saturday afternoon. It's always great fun to be together again. I love these people so much.

Front row from left to right:

Eddie Feinstein, Suzanne Garr, Jeff Mildner, (me), Avis Smith, Jane Voorhees

Back row:

Jennifer Smith, Emily Collins, Carol Joseph, Lynne Melcher, David Muhammed

Thursday, June 23, 2011


That's the title of the new Change the Truth movie, which will have its first screening tomorrow night at the Friendraiser/Fundraiser. Be sure you're there by 8:00 for the 8:05 showing. The film is only 14 minutes long, but in it Lynne Melcher (cinematographer, producer and editor) manages to splendidly tell the story of the children and how they have been helped thus far by CTT.

Lynne has once again created a magnificent film. It's moving, informative, sweet and beautiful. I got to shoot some footage for it since Lynne did not go to the orphanage this past year. I used my Canon 5D, and though I was and still am a raw beginner, it was great fun to play filmmaker for a little while. Lynne has set the film to great music, the script is crisp and the editing is really impressive.

I hope you'll get to watch it tomorrow night. If you can't make it and would like to order a copy, please let me know. The DVD sells for $15.

Bravo to Lynne! CTT is incredibly lucky to have a friend like her.

I am grateful to her for pouring her heart into her fourth CTT film. I know she does it because she loves the children at St. Mary Kevin Orphanage. Could there be a better reason?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

marie mason

Marie Mason is well known in this part of the country for her paintings of dogs, jazz musicians and assorted other lovelies. She is a down to earth, no nonsense, gentle and funny woman who loves to work in her garden and in her studio (in beautiful Weston, Missouri). She is a dog/cat lover and supporter extraordinaire. I recently commissioned her to paint a portrait of Sam, our almost-17-year old Bichon. It's a wonderful piece!

Marie's doll will be part of the live auction. This is what she wrote about her:

"When I picked up my doll, brought her home and took a look at her, I was truly amazed at her beauty. Some child in another country created a lovely lady out of leaves…this figure was grand without any embellishment! What kind of improvement could be made?

I brought her up to my studio and she just lingered on my drawing table for days! I first envisioned her housed in some kind of porch setting with a soft cloth covering above her so that she would be protected from the elements. I thought of cloth wings, grass fields, and finally just a beautiful day. I wanted to create this beautiful day for her to exist in. Warm, but not hot, with a soft wind blowing and a few clouds for shade. A cloth cloud came to mind, but how would that work over time…. Then I came up with the cloud cape idea.

Last summer a friend’s 10-year-old granddaughter visited my studio. Together we got seriously involved in making paper mache animals. I learned a lot about the new materials that are available…. and so I decided to create a cloud cape and a bonnet to protect this lovely doll from the vicissitudes of a hot or stormy day. She would wear the clouds as a kind of armor and protection from the elements. Even though her feet are on the ground, she will always be protected with her cloud cape and sun hat.

I hope that this doll figure will carry a wish to the orphaned children so far away. May imaginary capes of clouds and bonnets of sun be some kind of protection from hardships."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

jane voorhees

One of the best things about Change the Truth is that it has introduced me to so many wonderful new friends. Jane Voorhees is one of them. I had never met her when we began discussing the possibility of traveling together to Uganda in 2007. She became a member of my very first team. What a unique, quick and fabulous way to get to know someone! We shared tears and laughter right out of the starting gate.

Jane has been an unwavering friend to these children... she has been since the minute she got her first big hugs from the children upon our arrival at the orphanage. "Mama Jane" is a special woman in so many ways. I've always loved her artwork and was so happy when she chose to incorporate her use of painted boxes in this year's doll. This beautiful piece will be part of the live auction Friday night.

Jane has this to say about her experience at SMK and with Change the Truth.

"I was fortunate to have traveled to Uganda with Gloria (Team One) to teach art at SMK. This was a life changing experience for me. The children were so lovely, so appreciative of everything, expecting so little in life. At this time they often were not getting three meals a day. Gloria has changed this. This land was as red as the sky in my painted landscapes, and it was so dark at night due to very few lights on the roads. Often packed into huts, going about their lives were the people of Uganda - attempting to escape civil war and AIDS. CTT has made a bold change in the lives of the African children at SMK. Education can certainly be the cure for them."

Monday, June 20, 2011

little paintings + beads = beautiful jewelry

Not everyone can afford to buy one of the original paintings by Oscar, Willy, Isabella, Nicky, Ivan and the other talented young artists whose work will be on display Friday night.

Here is an awesome alternative, one you can even wear!

Blue Infinity Designs has shrunk scans of the artwork down to teeny tiny versions of themselves. The resulting little squares are mounted onto scrabble-esque wooden tiles and covered with a thick protective coating. A bail, a cord, some colorful glass and silver beads and voila! You've got very cool wearable art by the children from St. Mary Kevin Orphanage.

These pieces will make their debut on Friday night. Look for a special table, staffed by high school volunteers, near the Kajjansi Marketplace. The girls will help you select just the right piece from the collection of necklaces and bracelets. This is the first time we've ever offered these; I had no idea how many to order. We may run out! If so, orders can be placed.

Bracelets and necklaces that have beads are $28.00 each.

Necklaces that consist only of a cord and a tile are $15.00 each. Extra tiles are $12.00.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

leslie mark

There is little I can add to Leslie's description of her doll and the inspiration behind it, except to say that she has been a loyal friend to Change the Truth (from the very beginning). This doll is magnificent. It's poignant and powerful and has oh so much to say about our connection to the children in Uganda... and, in fact, about the children themselves.

The tags that hang from the branches each contain a few lines from the psalm. They are strung with thread, and when the air moves around the doll, they dance a bit. Leslie's is a very hopeful and uplifting piece. It is 46" high, winning the award for tallest doll! It will be included in the live auction Friday night. It currently has a bid of $100.

“I was very moved recently by a radio conversation between Krista Tippett (author of ‘Speaking of Faith’) and Bobby McFerrin. His rephrased translation and musical interpretation of the 23rd Psalm was uplifting. I immediately thought about the children at St. Mary Kevin, strong in their faith, even as their lives have been remade by war, disease and loss of parents.

There is a Jewish saying, ‘Torah is the tree of life to those who embrace it,’ which imagery has always tickled my imagination. And McFerrin’s swapping out of pronouns in his interpretation of the 23rd Psalm tugged at me, perhaps more since my mother passed away. Thus my banana doll is elevated in the beautiful river birch branches, surrounded by flowers and little ‘pearls of wisdom,’ dancing with McFerrin’s music around her, lifted up by the spirit of the psalm.

May we all be so nurtured, loved and inspired.

The 23rd Psalm
interpreted by Bobby McFerrin – ‘Dedicated to my Mother’

The Lord is my shepherd, I have all I need,
She makes me lie down in green meadows,
Beside the still waters, She will lead

She restores my soul, She rights my wrongs,
She leads me in a path of good things,
And fills my heart with songs.

Even though I walk, through a dark and dreary land,
There is nothing that can shake me,
She has said she won’t forsake me, I’m in her hand.

She sets a table before me, in the presence of my foes
She anoints my head with oil, And my cup overflows.

Surely, surely goodness and kindness will follow me,
All the days of my life, And I will live in her house,
Forever, forever and ever.

Glory be to our Mother, and Daughter,
And to the Holy of Holies,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World, without end. Amen.”

tabbetha mccale evans

"I have lived in Kansas City most my life and have been constructing textiles from a young age. I learned to knit, sew, crochet and embroider from my mom and grandma. As a kid, I was always making something for my self or my dolls. I used to create whole environments for my dolls sewing furniture from fabric, making tables from discarded blocks of wood even making small paper books and notebooks.

The love of creating continued and led me to the Kansas City Art Institute and the fiber department. In college, I started a series of fetish dolls. I worked on these for a couple of years, but abandoned them for other kinds of projects. When I found out about the CTT fundraiser, I was excited for two reasons: First, to help such a wonderful cause, second, a chance to get back to making dolls.

I have been lucky enough to work for a few great Kansas City textile havens. I worked for years at Cy Rudnick’s fabrics, then after college worked at Asiatica. Currently I design full time for Peruvian Connection where I have worked for about 17 years, a job that allows me to travel the world and feed my loved of ethnographic textiles."
- Tabbetha

Tabbetha is new to the Doll Project this year. She is another artist I have had the privilege of meeting for the first time. Philomene Bennett recommended that I get in touch with Tabbetha, and I'm very glad I did. Isn't this a lovely doll?


Tabbetha's doll has a current bid of $75.

Friday, June 17, 2011

peggy noland

Peggy Noland began her academic career studying religious studies at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, but soon changed her mind to pursue a decidedly different discipline: fashion.

For the last four years, the self-taught designer has sold her avant-garde but playful line of clothing in her boutique, located in the heart of Kansas City's Crossroads art district. Her store's environment is worth the trip alone, as visitors will find themselves engulfed in a giant cheeseburger, on a bed of poly-fill clouds or amidst giant green hands with hot pink fingernails (depending on current installation). She is recognized as a leader in Kansas City's creative community. The Pitch awarded Peggy a Mastermind Award in 2006. She's a recipient of a Lighton International Artist Exchange Program Grant and the Warhol Foundation's Rocket Grant.

Peggy is consistently costuming collaboratively with Kansas City's own, SSION and Whoop Dee Doo, both headed by KCAI alumni. Although she is a fixture in KC’s art scene, her clothing is also nationally recognized. Publications including The New York Times, Spin, Rolling Stone, Nylon, Missbehave, Lucky and XLR8R and international publications like Japanese Elle, British Elle, WWD, WGSN and Dazed and Confused have featured her pieces. In September 2010, she showed her latest collection during New York Fashion Week and exhibited at New York's The Hole gallery.

Peggy maintains her largest clientele via her website and dresses a number of musicians including Beth Ditto of the Gossip, Fischerspooner, Peaches, CSS and Tilly and the Wall.

Currently, Peggy is collaborating with Keds Shoes creating a “Peggy Noland for Keds” shoe collection.

She fluffed up her doll’s dress and put a lovely sequined bow on her head. Simple, but elegant!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

my doll(s)

My doll is named for Rosette, the 17-year-old young woman at the orphanage who makes so many of our dolls and who also takes the time to teach CTT volunteers how to make them. I first met Rosette in 2006. She caught my eye when the St. Mary Kevin choir was singing songs for me one day. She was very expressive, had a brilliant smile and could dance like there was no tomorrow.

When I returned to the orphanage in 2007, Rosette slipped me a note asking me to please consider her for a Change the Truth sponsorship. We subsequently spent a lot of time talking about her past and her hopes for the future.

I get to know Rosette better and better each year I return to Uganda. CTT has been sponsoring her for three years; she's a hard working student, doing her best to succeed. She's had a difficult life (her mother died of AIDS, and her father was killed in the civil war) but she is determined to make the best of her situation. I admire and adore this young woman.

Rosette makes a tremendous impression on each and every CTT team member. She goes out of her way to make us feel welcome and "at home" in Uganda. She works tirelessly assisting us with our projects. Rosette's heart is huge, and her talents are mind boggling: she's become an expert yogi, she's a "Broadway talented" singer and dancer, and she's a superior athlete.

Rosette usually wears a stocking cap; Jennifer Donze, a knitter from Wisconsin, made the hat for my doll. Rosette also often wears a scarf. I tried to dress my doll in accordance with Rosette's style.

The second doll I'm featuring in this post is my 9-month-old grandson Henry, who happens to be visiting this week. I made this picture of him in my studio.

Can you tell we had fun in there?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

peregrine honig

Peregrine Honig made a name for herself when a set of her prints were purchased by the Whitney Museum of American Art, establishing her as the youngest living artist to be included in the permanent collection. Honig’s sculptures, imagery and texts explore themes of sexual vulnerability, trends in disease and social hierarchies. She currently curates projects and annual events under the umbrella “Fahrenheit” and owns a lingerie boutique “Birdies”. Her work is part of the permanent collections of the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, the National Museum of Women in the Arts and The Chicago Art Institute, among others. Peregrine is a recipient of the Art Omi International Artists’ Residency and the Charlotte Street Fund. She recently produced a magazine titled Widow, in collaboration with Landfall Press, that explores the relationship between fashion and art.

Last year, Peregrine starred in the first season of "The Next Great Artist" on the Bravo channel. Much to the delight of Kansas Citians, she came in second place!

Peregrine always pushes the envelope with her work. Last year, her doll fetched one of the highest prices in the live auction, and I've no doubt collectors will be just as interested and intrigued with this year's contribution to the Doll Project. She wrote the following about her doll:


When we spend energy preserving something, we often ignore what is developing. I burned my doll down, captured the ashes and fibers in a Pyrex test tube, and sealed the cork with beeswax. I cremated the banana leaves and encapsulated the moment of one child’s skill at creating something traditional."

**Team 4 member Emily Collins designed and made the pillow upon which Peregrine's piece sits.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Brian is 15 years old and a Change The Truth sponsored student currently attending Senior 1 at Kajjansi Progressive Senior Secondary School. Brian came to SMK in 2008 during his Primary 5 year with his father and 4 brothers (all very talented artists). His father was the security guard at SMK and then one day took a job somewhere else. Brian hasn’t seen or talked to his father in two years. His mother died of cancer years ago.

Brian aspires to become a doctor, astronaut or artist. He loves being in the art room. Brian is completely focused while there, happily losing himself in the creative process. When he finishes a piece, he checks every detail for mistakes. He thinks about whether it will make other people happy and may even ask other people their opinion of his painting. If there are no mistakes, he feels really good inside. He does not like to showcase a painting unless he feels it is perfect. Brian’s inspiration is Leonardo Di Vinci.

Brian is one of the sweetest and most gentle boys I know. His artistic and musical talents are impressive, and he's a really good student to boot. I've always liked Brian's calm demeanor, and I truly admire the determination with which he embraces his life.

Several of his paintings are included in the exhibition at Leedy-Voulkos and will be for sale in the silent auction. Here are four of them.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

soundz of afrika

Entertaining the troops at the June 24th fundraiser will be Soundz of Afrika, a delightful and talented group of young dancers and drummers directed by Bird Fleming. The children are so much fun to watch; I know you'll love them! They will be performing around 7:15 for ten minutes and then again at 7:50.

Friday, June 10, 2011

auction of some pretty cool items

There is a lot of excitement in the home office of Change the Truth these days. (Did you know the office is also my kitchen?)

For the past few weeks, I've been working overtime trying to get everything in order for the 4th Annual CTT Friendraiser/Fundraiser.

New to the event this year will be a silent auction of items donated by Kansas City merchants. There will be close to 50 items up for grabs. I'm really happy with what we've put together, especially since it has been our first foray into this aspect of fundraising.

Let me whet your appetite a bit:

a Nikon Coolpix digital camera from Cricks (value $349)

a gorgeous pearl broach from Tom Tivol (value $395)

one hour massage from Hollyday (value $75)

bagels for a year from Panera's (value $175)

dinner for two at Grand Street Cafe (value $75)

haircut and moisturizing treatment by a senior stylist at Bijin (value $82)

a premier facial from Carpe Diem (value $90)

four tickets to a Royal game, first row behind the Crown seats (value $210)

pilates classes at Personal Best (value $180)

Ladies Night of shopping at J. Hathaway's Shoes (value $350)

one summer camp session at Young Audiences (value $200)

two tickets to "August Osage County" at the Missouri Rep (value $120)

The event on June 24th is free and open to the public; there is no charge to bid on these great items and more. Come join us from 7 - 10 PM at Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, 2012 Baltimore in the crossroads district of KC.

Stay tuned for more updates on what will be happening that night!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

josh and mark eisemann

Josh and his family have been enthusiastic about Change the Truth since its inception in early 2007. In fact, Josh has been a pen pal to Nicky, one of the boys at the orphanage, ever since then. Both boys like to play soccer and draw, so they’ve been a good match. One of these days, I hope Josh and Nicky can meet.

Josh invited his father Mark to help him with his doll. The two had great fun working on the project,; Mark wrote the following about the experience:


Josh was excited about creating a doll, but the challenge of coming up with an idea and executing it was a little daunting. We sat down and had a brain storming session. We went through many ideas. One seemed to fit – a doll with large hands reaching out to give a hug. Josh is a big hugger, with a well-earned reputation in our family and at school and his summer camp. In talking about Change the Truth, Josh and I imagined that hugs are an essential part of the program’s success. The beauty of the hug is that it can be reciprocal – as easily given by a child as by a volunteer or teacher. Josh’s grandmother, Bette Mark, was a quilter and we have many remnants waiting to be put to good use. Josh chose a color palette of green, blue and orange, and sifted through a number of samples before settling on the ones we used. The body is painted blue, so that it is not associated with any race. Executing the idea was more difficult than we thought. It took some time, and some sewing help from Leslie Mark, Josh’s mother, to create the hands. We hoped to drape the material used to cover the base in a wavy, flowing and casual manner, but settled on the solution seen. Working on our doll definitely made Josh and me appreciate the professional artists in the show.”

leah sosland

Leah has been a friend to Change the Truth for a couple years now. She first became interested when her mom brought her to one of our fundraisers. Leah decided early on that she would like to go to the orphanage to volunteer, and I know one of these days she will. I've kind of watched this red haired wonder grow up; she lives on my block. What a poised, articulate, thoughtful and lovely young woman she is becoming.

Leah was excited to participate in the Doll Project this year. She wrote this about her creation:

"Hi, my name is Leah and I decorated a doll for the Change the Truth Foundation. My doll is a piano teacher. I really wanted to incorporate piano because I have been playing since I was five and think music is a very important thing to have in your life. I was really excited to decorate the doll and made her hair from yarn and put it in a little bun. I glued on American Girl doll glasses that I found and had her wearing a shawl made from beads (the beads were originally going to be a skirt, but that ended up being way too difficult to make). I hope people enjoy the doll because I worked hard on it and had a lot of fun doing it."

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

sonie joi ruffin

Sonié Joi Ruffin is an award winning fabric artist, born, raised and educated in the Midwest. She has led workshops and lectures on African American quilting at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, the Nerman Museum, Kansas City Museum, Flint Public Library, Kansas City Public Library, and a host of quilt guilds across the United States. Her art quilts have been exhibited at the Kansas Master’s, International Quilt Market, New England Quilt Museum, Leedy Voulkos Art Center and the American Jazz Museum.

Sonié’s art quilts can be found in the collections of galleries, museums, private and corporate collections such as Portfolio Gallery, the Spencer Museum, Sprint, the Hazley Insurance Corporation and Truman Medical Center. Her fabric collections “My African Village and Drums of Africa” have appeared in McCall’s, Better Homes and Gardens Quilting and Quilter’s Quarters magazines. She was the recipient of the Charlotte Street Visual Arts Award in 2010.

Sonie has designed two fabric collections for Andover fabrics, she is the author of “Soulful Art of African American Quilts and Opening Day” published by Kansas City Star quilt book division and is working on her next quilt book project “My Mother’s Club” with Rodney Thompson. Sonié is presently the Visiting Curator for the American Jazz Museum, located in the historical 18th and Vine jazz district.

Sonie wrote the following about her doll. All I have to say is "wow".

“Miss Ruth

I grew up during a time when aprons where an integral part of a woman’s wardrobe. All the women I knew wore these wonderful decorative items; some were trimmed in lace, rick rack, ruffles and piping. The fabric used to create these magical masterpieces ranged from the basic unbleached muslin, floral print, dupioni silk, to a sheer organdy. Then there were the aprons that were saved for Saturdays and Sundays, which were just as fabulous as the ones worn during the weekdays.

Aprons were used for everything from holding fresh picked green beans, pulling hot baked peach cobblers from the oven, to having the jingle of some change in the pocket that was given to children to purchase penny candy!

For those of you that remember the first sewing project in Home-Ec it was an apron, remember? I will never forget my apron project. I was 12 years young. It was red and white gingham with gathered lace around the pocket, a black and white polka dot waist band with yellow rick rack attached on the front of the waistband and a large floral pocket with bright green rick rack trim on the front, yes I guess you can say, it was a little loud! I gave it to my mom as a Mother’s Day gift; she wore it with pride that day, and tucked it away to wear every Mother’s day there after. I still have it and pull it out from time to time when I miss her; it reminds me of how blessed I was to have her in my life.

Oh, it is worn now, tattered and soiled with the odors of life from my mother’s kitchen, mixed with the fragrance of her perfume; the memories are far too many to talk about. As I looked it over, I noticed that mom had sewn pieces of fabric covering a few holes of wear and usage through the years, trying to save this tattered masterpiece. She turned it into a form all its own; it became the inspiration for my doll 'Miss Ruth' and her apron.

Now when I look back, on the days of aprons and pinafores, the women that wore them and the memories they have ensued, the women who wore those aprons become a form of love, comfort, strength and protection for me. They set their sights high and reached their goals; they expected the same if not more out of the children they help raise; they are the reason why dreams have come true for many children from my village.

It is my prayer that the apron of love that 'Miss Ruth' is wearing protects the children of St. Mary Kevin in Kajjansi, Uganda, for you see they are no different than any other children in the world.

When I chose the doll that Gloria brought back from the orphanage, it dawned on me that I was touching the hands of the child that created my doll; our souls touched for a minute, and it humbled me. I am grateful for these children and what they have taught me.

These children used what they had to create these dolls for us to adorn, as did the women that wore those fabulous aprons that raised us, they used what they had and together they were a mighty force in the lives of the children they touched.

To work in concert with one so young is an honor, thank you very much; it is my hope that they are pleased with the design and that the apron of love protects, comforts and guides them with the strength to make their dreams come true."

tom corbin

Tom Corbin is an amazing person and artist. He's kind and unassuming, and his work just happens to be in some mighty fine collections all across the country, including those of Alec Baldwin, Jack Nicholson, Carol Burnett, Emeril Lagasse, Tom Hanks, Ron Howard and more. Talk about star studded!

Tom's sculptures extol the human condition, most often through the female form – her mood, grace and vitality. His furniture designs combine sculpturally driven organic forms with the functional sensibilities of architecture.

Born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1954, Tom’s early fascination in art was inspired by his mother, an art teacher by trade. Despite studying painting and drawing at Miami University, his original career pursuit was in business as an advertising executive. He was well on his way to a successful career in advertising when a chance meeting with a bronze sculptor encouraged him to take a sculpting class. There, the hook was set.

By 1986, Tom put away his suit and tie for good in lieu of life as a sculptor. Through his persistence and good fortune, he was awarded a series of commissions that gave him the exposure and income to pursue his dream.

Today, Tom and his staff can be found working in his Kansas City studio on a host of compelling projects – from a 20’ monument destined for Washington, D.C., to a massive custom coffee table for a collector in New York. During an average year, he will produce over 20 new sculpture and furniture designs to satisfy the demand from his galleries and showrooms.

I am so honored that, for the second year in a row, Tom has agreed to take part in the Doll Project. Here is what he wrote about his doll:

"The focus of my doll's styling centers on a mask inspired by a Yoruba twin carving I saw in one of my African art books. The colors are a derivative of many African flags. I originally modeled my mask in clay from which a mold was made. A plaster casting was produced from the mold and subsequently painted. The interior of the mask is signed by me and is one of a kind."