Jenny Pickens, Profile of an Artist and Doll Maker

Sometimes childhood memories stay with us forever. One of my favorites was having dolls I could dress and whose hair I could style. I would even use old hand-me-downs to make new outfits for them, giving authenticity to the character of the doll. Dolls taught me quite early to love and care for others. 

My name is Jenny Pickens, a native of Asheville, NC as well as a self-taught artist. Although my mediums lie in several categories, sewing is a favorite.  I paint, quilt and freely tackle new ideas and art mediums to express myself. 

After the death of my niece Candace Pickens in 2016 I decided to return to designing dolls. They come in various forms from bundle babies, ballerinas, standing dolls, and mermaids to others that may be commissioned.  Using sentimental fabrics or clothing from loved ones , they bring memories of family members and friends. They are also great for big brother or sister when the new baby arrives. These dolls are designed to be handled gently or added to a doll collection. Most of all, they are meant to be handed on to children and grandchildren. Each evokes stories, memories, heritage and culture.

Being a self-taught artist did come with challenges. Not being taken seriously or simply being turned away without being told why. Fortunately, I had a passion to create and a drive to put my feelings into everything I created. Although I have dabbled in various mediums, I prefer acrylics because of their versatility. 

I am not limited in what I create. My paintings are connected to my cultural background and ensure I never lose my roots. Whether making a wall hanging or putting brushstrokes on canvas, each piece is personal to me. My gifts came to me at a time when I needed a voice, and healing and my art practice allow me to honor my creative bounty.

You can see several of my paintings and printed wares at Noir Collective AVL located at 39 South Market Street in downtown Asheville or visit Fine Art America.