Erika Cleveland


Studio 4A

on FB transformativehealingdolls

For commissions, please check the ‘commissions’ page on the website above.

There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fountain of action and joy.It rises up in wordless gentleness and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all beings.

Thomas Merton


Revisioning the Flip Doll: Exploring Our Connections

Artists and Makers hosts Revisioning the Flip Doll: Exploring Our Connections at the Parklawn Studio, featuring work by Erika Cleveland, flip dolls created by women at the N. Street Homeless shelter as part of a series of workshops. For this show, we are inviting artists from the DC community and beyond to submit their own Flip dolls for display in this exhibit!

Cleveland received a Margaret Conant Grant in the Spring of 2016 from the Potomac Fiber Arts Guild, for her project “Revisioning Flip Dolls.” For this project she is creating her own flip dolls and teaching women at the N. Street Village Homeless shelter to make flip dolls. In addition she is interviewing professional artists who make flip dolls.

Flip or “Topsy-turvy” dolls are two-sided dolls connected at the waist, and separated by a skirt. The skirt flips over to cover one side when the other side is revealed. The original flip dolls were black/white dolls made by slaves in the south during the Civil War era. In the words of flip doll artist Terri Dowell Dennis, they could be seen as “racist relic of the past.” In spite of their origin, many of these dolls were well loved by their owners and makers, who responded to the soft cloth bodies and enjoyed using the dolls for storytelling.

In this exhibit Cleveland would like to “revision” the flip doll as a way to show the commonalities within differences, and as a way of exploring the ways in which we are all united.

The challenge is to make a flip doll out of any materials you choose. Here are some suggestions to get you started. You can:

1. explore the commonalities within different ideas such as good/evil, war/peace, health/illness, dark/light, sun/moon, heaven/earth, sky/ocean, woman/man (though the doll also lends itself to multiple interpretations of gender as well. It is possible to have add another side to the face on each side or to add multiple dolls on each side)

2. consider the idea of the alter ego in your flip doll. One side could be how the world sees you and the other could be a secret self, or could reveal hidden strengths.

3. use the flip doll to tell a story as a way to connect elements from different parts of your life. For example, one woman at N. Street created a flip doll representing two different grandchildren from different parts of South America.

The possibilities are endless.

Please visit to see more information about flip dolls, including interviews with professional artists who make flip dolls (on the blog page), and a video about the construction of a simple flip doll created out of wrapped sticks (one the workshops and offers page.)

Show curated by Erika Cleveland and Heidi Moyer

Submission Requirements:

Submissions due January 2nd. Notification of acceptance January 15th.

Accepted work must be submitted to/picked up from the gallery, no shipped work accepted Drop off dates: January 25, 26, 27 at Artists and Makers between 10-4 PM.
Installation January 30th
Reception: February 2, 2018, 6-9 PM

Show ends: February 22
Pick up: February 23, 24, 27 10-4 PM also at Artists and Makers

We want to be inclusive and to accept flip dolls in a variety of media. Size of the doll should fit into approximately 25" x 25" space, though we would consider a larger size, upon request. Space is somewhat limited. All work must be available for sale.

All entries must be submitted electronically in JPG format only. Email your images to: Please type Flip Doll Show and your last name in the email subject line. For example: Flip Doll Show/cleveland

Images should be sized at no more than 1024 by 768 pixels, and less than 1 megabite in disk space size. Image file names must include artist’s last name and title of the piece in the following format:

(ArtistLastName_ImageTitle.JPG) example: vanGogh_StarryNight.jpg

Revisioning the Flip Doll: Exploring Our Connections

(see below)