My name’s Johanna, I live in the West of Scotland.  I studied textiles at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee and fashion the Royal College of Art in London.  I have been making dolls, puppets and creatures since childhood but only stopped hiding them from other people in the last few years.

Themes of transformation and transmutation are always present in my work.  I create figures that are frozen in the moment between one state and the next.  Rather than aiming to recreate a flawless, idealised view of the human figure in a doll,  I find beauty in the incomplete, the broken, the decayed, lost, unexpected and vulnerable.

All of my pieces are individually hand dyed using herbal and plant infusions gathered in Scotland and prepared by hand in my studio.  Each piece is a response not only to my own creative inclination at the time of making, but to the season,  weather, vegetation and environment around me at a particular time and place.

When I’m not in my studio I collect herbs, knit socks, make soap, practice yoga, observe the night sky through telescopes, dance the Tango and walk my dog.  My favourite places are beaches, forests, staircases, and museums.

44 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Johanna !
    Surprised to see you are in Oslo! Hope all is going well – your work looks great… Noticed you have pinned from my Pinterest boards today, and so took a look at yours and found The Pale Rook.
    Enjoy Norway, it sounds lovely 🙂
    Alison Ross PGS


    1. Thank you, yep, it always does you good to get back to your centre and do what makes you happy just for it’s own sake. Thank you for your lovely comment, I hope you like the shop once it’s opened 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Just found your dolls on Pinterest and they are truly amazing! I can’t get enough of them! How do you go about turning the arms and legs when they are sown? It must be really tricky – I can’t imagine how it is even possible to turn them because they are so thin.


    1. I usually leave an opening in the upper back part of the arms and legs as well as at the bottom and I use tweezers to ease the tricky bits through. Thanks for your comment, I’m glad you found me 🙂


    1. Thanks, the title I work under is The Pale Rook, but my name is in the title of the website “The Pale Rook – Textile Art by Johanna Flanagan”, on my Facebook page and Twitter account. 🙂


  3. I very much love all your dolls. If I’m ever not poor, I’m going to ask you to make me one, and I’m going to pay you what it’s worth! (Which is a lot.)


  4. Hi Johanna,
    Where is your favorite place to see art in Glasgow? I’ll be there for a week starting 18th of March.


  5. Bonjour ♥ ohhhhh – I am in LOVE with your beautiful art dolls! My name is Sophie and I am glad that I´ve found you and your lovely art on pinterest! Reading your about-page was like reading my own story 😉 I like the way you write and I am very thankful for sharing your wonderful cratures with all of us! Happy crafting and have a lovely day, Sophie


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