Hannie Sarris Hulstein
My wonderful gift: doll making
To have the talent to create and sculpt the figures that live in my imagination, feels like a wonderful gift. I think that is why I am a happy sculptor, happy to have found my niche. I am happy with the challenge and possibilities of every new day.
But let me first introduce myself. My name is Hannie Sarris, born as Johanna Christina Gilia Hulstein. I live in a beautiful small town called Houten, in the center of The Netherlands, together with my Greek husband and best friend Christos Sarris and our 4 sons.
I am born in Eindhoven, on the 28th of April, therefore I am a taurian.
Taurians love beauty and harmony and are known as very creative people.
Since I was a young girl I loved anything to do with art. Especially sculpting, drawing, and creating things from paper. I was a technical as well as a dreamy child and I loved fairies and fairy tales. Accompanied by my father, I was a very regular visitor of the town library, reading all the fairytale books. Not surprising that most of my early drawings were of female fairies and witches. As a teenager I took classes at different Art Schools and was determined to become a portrait artist.
It took a long time before I discovered doll making, I never thought of it actually, I was always concentrated on drawing and painting. I discovered it by accident, through a good friend. Surprised and excited, I tried to sculpt a doll myself and a new world opened.
I am entirely self-taught, of which I’m proud. When I started doll-sculpting for the first time, it was not only a new world of possibilities, but most of all a world of technical problems. At that time I never visited doll shows, never even heard of their existence to be honest, nor did I have access to the internet, all I had were art books and anatomy books. When I look back, I think I was lucky not to have examples to follow, not being able to copy. I was forced to draw from my own experience and my own imagination, not influenced by other sculptors, but inspired by classical fairy fantasy art. It has taken me many years of effort and struggle to learn how to sculpt an acceptable figure first, followed by perfecting my skill, (something that never seems to end) and maybe most important of all: to develop my own style, my own “signature”.
I experimented with all kinds of figures, but slowly returned to my first childhood love: fairies and fantasy.
I adore the timelessness and the lack of boundaries of fantasy figures. In my work balance, swing, emotion and refined details are of high importance. My work is uplifting but also has a strong melancholic touch.
To finish my sculptures I work with the finest materials such as lace, silk and organza, beads, crystals and dimensional paint. I collect fine materials and dye them in different shades of one color. I have been working monochromatic from the first moment I started doll making in 1990, slowly it became one of my characteristics.
Through the years I am awarded national and international prizes, and I am a happy owner of two “Doll Rings”, the most prestigious award for doll art in the Netherlands. Up to today I have written 4 sculpting books and my work is featured in 4 books about Figuratif Art and Doll Art: Dolls Dutch Style, DABIDA Doll Art, 500 Dolls and Art Figuratif. My work has been featured in national and international magazines.
I am one of the founders and president of DABIDA, Dutch and Belgian Institute of Doll Artists. In this group the top of the Dutch and Belgian doll artists are gathered.
As I am always growing and changing, I don’t know what my sculpting future will bring, but my main goal is to learn, develop and most of all enjoy this wonderful art: DOLL MAKING.
Hannie Sarris - Hulstein