Photography by Jannica Honey

Johanna Flanagan is a Scottish doll maker, costumiere and teacher. She studied Constructed Textiles at Duncan of Jordanstone college, then an MA in Fashion at the Royal College of Art. Throughout a career that meandered from catwalk, to film, to theatre, to historical costuming, Johanna always made dolls in secret, never really taking them seriously until her mid thirties when she decided to bring them out of the shadows.

Johanna’s work is heavily influenced by the natural world, themes of decay and restoration, and is a deeply personal reflection of her own emotional world. Her design approach is often led by intuition and an instinctive response to materials and subject matter.

Johanna continues to work internationally in collaboration with fashion designers, artists, dancers and performers. She has been teaching and lecturing in colleges, art schools and museums for fourteen years, as well as teaching independently. 

45 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. Hi Alison! It’s lovely to hear from you and thanks for the kind words. I’m still in Scotland regularly so give me a shout, it would be great to see you xx

  2. I love your work and am so pleased you have gone back to basics to settle yourself down -the simplicity and characters of your dolls are a delight. They are simply exquisite-cant wait for Etsy to open up.

    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 🙂

    1. Thanks! I don’t have any online courses, but I will be teaching doll making courses later this year and there may be some online stuff in the works. 🙂

  3. 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 🙂

  4. question for you. What’s your name? I don’t see it on your blog or even your “About’ page… thanks!
    (PS: Love your writing and your honestly!)

    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. 🙂

  5. 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.)

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

  7. 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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