Fiber Artist Sarah Djarnie-Brown Selected as 2022 CRAFT + DESIGN Featured Artist

July 28, 2022 Features News

The Visual Arts Center of Richmond selects Brooklyn-based doll maker Sarah Djarnie-Brown as the featured artist for its 58th Annual Craft + Design Show, which will take place October 14-16, 2022, at the historic Main Street Station.

This will be the first in-person Craft + Design show since the onset of the pandemic in 2019. “We are happy to finally be back together again showcasing best-in-show crafts at the beautiful Main Street Station. When we saw Djarnie-Brown’s work and the creative personalities she evokes in her dolls, we felt like they matched the spirit of our Craft + Design audience and makers, and the excitement we feel about bringing Craft + Design back to Main Street Station this year,” says Stefanie Fedor, Executive Director of the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.

As the featured artist, Djarnie-Brown’s dolls will be the official cover image for the 58th Annual Craft + Design event. Each colorful heirloom doll is handcrafted out of salvaged materials including wood, fabric, wool and various other recycled mixed materials. Djarnie-Brown credits wool as her favorite material to work with. “Wool can be braided, coiled, crimped, and twisted,” says Djarnie-Brown, of her globally inspired dolls. “And for me, the personality of my dolls appears in their hair; then, I find fabrics that connect and complete the look.”

Fashion design plays a major role in Djarnie-Brown’s creations. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked her way through the fashion industry as an accessory designer for various design firms. After two decades of corporate design, Brown now channels her creative eye and love for fabrics into Shop Volta, a burgeoning brand and small business designing museum-quality heirloom dolls with individual biographies and origin stories.

“I’m a self-taught doll maker and my West African culture is a strong influence on everything I create. I may use Ankara print fabrics to dress my dolls or African-inspired hairstyles. Many of my dolls’ bios stem from the continent, but their story represents everyone from the diaspora and beyond,” says Djarnie-Brown “The best part of my work is telling my story, and sharing the particular story of a doll that someone may be interested in learning about.”

Sarah Djarnie-Brown’s work has been shown in the 2022 Smithsonian Future Focus show. This will be Brown’s first year at Craft + Design.

Craft + Design is a contemporary craft show produced by the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. Now in its 58th year, Craft + Design has garnered a national reputation for showcasing the finest in museum-quality craft. Locally, it’s become the event that kicks off Richmond’s holiday shopping season. Shoppers spend the weekend browsing the works of over 150 artists from all over the country. Awards are presented in ceramics, precious metals, glass, wood and recycled materials, contemporary design, innovative use of traditional craft materials, and fiber.