Passionate dollmaker

Watson, Foreman to exhibit art,
thimble dolls at Madison Art Gallery

Debra Maylum
Staff Writer

(February 2005) – The Madison Art Club Gallery’s featured exhibit for February will honor Black History Month with works by New Albany, Ind., artist Andre Foreman and Hanover, Ind., artist Mae Watson.

Mae Watson

Photos by Debra Maylum

Mae Watson of Hanover began
making thimble dolls a decade ago.

Each month, the Madison Art Club chooses a different exhibit to feature in the main gallery room, according to Hal Davis, a member of the art club who works on the project. The gallery is located at 301 E. Main St., Madison.
“We want to be able to show works by people other than just our members,” he said.
Foreman is a mixed media artist who is originally from Louisville. He plans to bring about 20 pieces to the Madison Art Club Gallery for the February exhibit. Among his unique paintings, gallery goers will see a mix of other materials used in Foreman’s artwork. From carving to sculpting to paper machete, Foreman works with whatever material he can find.
Foreman received two art scholarship offers after graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School in Louisville in 1979 but chose instead to join the U.S. Marine Corps. He has taken some art classes, but for the most part, he taught himself.
“As far back as I can remember, I have known how to draw,” Foreman said. “It’s always been a love in my life.”
He finds time for his art in between his two jobs at Heartland Payment Systems in Jeffersonville and at the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition to displaying his artwork at the Madison Art Club Gallery, his art can be seen on display at The Common Grounds coffee shop in Jeffersonville, Ind. He is also working on pieces to display at Mona and Lisa, an art gallery in Louisville, part of the First Friday Gallery Hop.
Watson, meanwhile, became well known regionally about a decade ago for her tiny “thimble dolls” made of polymer clay. She spent about a year selling the dolls through Gimble and Sons, a mail order company in Maine. Watson sells most of her dolls now through word of mouth and repeat customers. She not only specializes in miniatures but also makes dolls of varying sizes.

Mae Watson's dolls

Photos by Debra Maylum

Mae Watson's dolls are
made of polymer clay.

Most of them, she says, are about 31/2 to four inches tall, but some of her larger dolls range up to seven inches. One such doll will be on display at the February exhibit. An Ethnic Angel, is dressed in white and “very simple,” she said.
Watson began sculpting in clay almost by accident one day while helping her three nephews make clay figures from kits they had received as Christmas gifts. She became interested in the process and with some practice and help along the way from other artists, she taught herself the craft. That was about 12 years ago.
Watson’s art is supplementary to her “day job” at DSI, a division of Sandstone Developmental Services. There, she works with disabled and handicap children and adults throughout the community. She has kept busy recently completing orders for nativity scenes and other holiday dolls.
Many of Watson’s dolls can be seen around the community. One of her sculptures, that of a small boy reading library books, is on display at the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library. Watson donated the figure to the library with a note that read, “I made this little boy and hope it will encourage others to read and learn from all the books at the library, just like I learned how to sculpt clay from books I got here.”
Other locations where Watson’s sculptures are on display include Centra Credit Union and the King’s Daughters Hospital & Health Services’ gift shop.

• The opening reception for February’s exhibit will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Feb. 6. For more information, call (812) 265-3135, Ext. 251.

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