Sarah Faber AKA Black Eyed Suzie
what is your name?
My name is Sarah Faber but Black-Eyed Suzie is my doll-making alter ego.
how would you describe what you do?
I make somewhat creepy and somewhat pretty art dolls inspired by Victoriana, the Jazz Age and a mish-mashy, post-punk aesthetic. I’m a fiction writer, so I try give my dolls little stories, tragic histories, eccentricities, bad habits and a few bon mots.
what are you currently working on?
I’m working on two doll series; one inspired by Alice and Wonderland and the other inspired by my favourite chicks with mics (e.g. Neko Case, Billie Holiday, Agent Ribbons, The BeGoodTanyas).
I’m also close to finishing a draft of my first novel.
what has had the greatest influence on your work?
Literature. I love Gothic novels, and have studied a lot of Victorian fiction and poetry. I love anything by any Brontë, Dracula, Poe, Hawthorne, Henry James. Consumptives, fallen women, pissed-off women, melancholy urchins, spooky governess’, match-girls – these are all characters from books that I imagine as dolls. I also love Modernist fiction and have recently started making dolls inspire by the 20s & 30s.
what is the greatest misconception about you or your work?
I don’t think I’m well-known enough to be misconceived, but people do sometimes think all dolls are cute or banal in the way that commercial dolls can be, when in fact there are a lot people making strange and interesting dolls. Also, some people think that I must wear corsets and bloomers and all sorts of fabulous clothes based on how I dress my dolls, when the sad truth is I live in jeans and Converse shell tops because I really like being comfortable.
what do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?
I think they are actually one and the same in this case; dolls are not really taken that seriously so on the one hand, I feel no pressure to be a ‘serious artist’ – I can be silly and earnest at the same time. But sometimes when I tell people I make dolls, they assume I’m must make frilly little confections that wear grotesque smiles and hold teddy bears.
how has technology impacted upon the work you do?
Technology has allowed to me to quit a series of dreaded day jobs and start my own online business selling dolls. I don’t think the things I make have a broad enough appeal to do well in brick & mortar stores or on the craft fair circuit, so I feel very lucky to be able to sell online and find other freaks and geeks who like dolls.
what’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?
Oh dear – am I wise or together enough to give advice? I don’t think so. But I’ll say this, though it will probably sound a) obvious b) corny c) seriously earnest: I think people should do what they genuinely love and not worry about being commercially appealing. Unless they want to make some serious coin. In that case, I can’t help.
where can we find you online?
what are you reading at the moment?
I wish I could say that I’m reading something literary and high-minded and beautiful, but I’m fully immersed in a Dorothy L. Sayers murder-mystery, Whose Body, from a series about a British aristocrat/ gentleman-detective, Lord Peter Whimsy who solves crime as a hobby and says things like ‘Dash it all!’
what are you listening to at the moment?
I lurv Coco Rosie. And ‘Your Diamond Heart’ by Marisa Nadler, which literally gave me chills when I saw her perform it live.
anything else we should know?
Dolls are creepy, but creepy can be beautiful!