Our Teachers

Artist and self-taught doll-maker Adele Sciortino is the inspiration behind the internationally acclaimed website, AforArtistic.com. Proud editor of AforArtistic a quarterly e-magazine which reaches many artistis aroung the world. Artist member of  ODACA (Original Doll Artist Council of America), a professional one-of-kind doll organization. (www.odaca.org) 

Originally, from New Orleans, Louisiana, Adele now lives in Canada where she is also the vice president of the forty-year-old company, PCA Calendars & Planners. (www.pcacal.com) She is a Graphic Design graduate from the University of South Alabama as well as the Dale Carnegie Sales and Marketing Program, boasting more than thirty years’ experience in marketing and sales. 

She makes time in her busy schedule to write for the distinctive Art Doll Quarterly, where she focuses her attention on the business side of doll making. In addition, she publishes her own quarterly magazine, AforArtistic Quarterly e-magazine.  

Adele’s natural talents were encouraged by her parents and grandparents who were master tailors, quilt makers and music teachers. Their skills and expertise inspired her to find her own artistic path leading her to exploring figurative sculpture, creative costuming, wearable art, bead weaving, watercolor painting, photography, crocheting and sewing. 

Adele played an active role in New York City’s "Broadway Bears" galas, which annually generated money for Broadway stars coping with terminal illness. Her original costuming for bears helped raise thousands of dollars for this noble cause.  

Each of Adele’s fine art figurative sculptures captures the true spirit of doll-making, with their unique souls and personalities. Her figurative pieces adorn homes that have become treasured gifts – held in awe and appreciation by all who view them. 

Adele now shares her love for doll art with aspiring and experienced students through both live and online classes that challenge their talents and meet their creative needs. Her newest online classes will begin early 2017. Her creative journey will continue to grow as she merges more into the polymer world of sculpting realistic figures.  

To learn more about Adele Sciortino and her latest class offerings, visit her new website: www.adelesciortino.com 

Adele Sciortino, Figurative Artist

Even as a child I was always searching for on outlet to express my artistic abilities, and much of my childhood I spend seated beside my mother’s sewing machine waiting for leftover scraps of fabric. My mother made children clothes, and I copied her on the floor creating ballroom dresses for my Barbie-dolls.

My dream was to follow a professional artistic career as a ballet-dancer, opera singer or designer. But when the time came to choose a profession, my parents did not share in the opinion of going to an art-school, as at that time they thought, it did not guarantee a living.

Instead I went to an educational academy and became a teacher.

After 5 years of teaching again, I started searching for an avenue in which to direct my creative energy, and my love for music made me to go to the conservatory to study music. And I became a music teacher.

About this time I visited an exhibition of dollmakers and it was overwelming! I went back three times. And it was at that point that I was sure: my mission was to become a dollmaker, and so I did!. That was about 20 years ago.

I started taking a few classes from well known dollmakers, but soon I began to teach myself. I did not want to copy dolls from others. I wanted to have my own style. In every new collection of my dolls I try to grow. About five years ago, after 15 years of sculpting dolls from stone clay, I started to work with porcelain.

I love the charm of the smooth skin, you get from porcelain and, of course, the longer life cycle of the doll. After a while you develop your own techniques and processes. After finishing the basic model I create the molds, and after the doll comes out the mold, I sculpt the doll again. This process means that every doll I create has something unique. My great love for fabric, laces and trims and all my inspiration, imagination and fantasy, which is always available, goes into costuming the doll.

I am passionate about dollmaking and I am happy to see that dollmaking turns more and more into a form of art. Although good craftmanship is always the basis of a good doll, it has also to do with the expression of the doll, the recognition of emotions, and the high quality of materials used.

It is the total impression of the doll that counts, not only the sculpture. The internal connection of the doll with the human spirit is important, to recognize that you feel some of the things that you see in the dolls. A good doll stays in the memory.

Together with my colleque Marlaine Verhelst we teach two or three times a year a International Masterclass. This Masterclass goes by the name: The “Dutch Touch” and is designed to teach international students some of the creative and unconventional techniques that Dutch dollmakers are reknowned for. The classes are teached in- and outside the Netherlands. For next year Las Vegas and Rey Brook ,NY are on the list.

Once a year I teach a very special dollmaking holiday class in our house in Spain. It is situated near the sea, in a wonderful area. There I teach dollmaking during the beautiful season periods, as spring- and the early summertime. The students learn how to make dolls, in combination with the good things Spain has to offer. 

For now. I consider myself as a very lucky dollmaker. My dolls are now seen all over the world and I have to thank my audience for sharing their emotions with me, because it is they who inspire me every time, to try to make the perfect doll “that stays in the memory”.

Ankie Daanen, NIADA Artist 

Call me introspective, but I often wonder what course my life would have taken if it weren't for art. 

It has been my focus, my passion and my constant companion since I was a child. I cannot imagine. Art has always been with me; it fills my heart with joy. I don’t think I, or anyone could ask for more than that. All through high school and beyond, my focus was on Graphic Arts; but my interests eventually turned to the dimensional arts and a love of sculpting evolved. 

After being introduced to the world of polymers in 1988, I could hardly SLEEP! My mind raced while considering the potential of this fascinating medium. Almost immediately I began designing and selling mixed media figurative sculpture at local art shows. Well now, that was 25 years ago… And they said it wouldn't last. :) In 1994 my work was licensed into reproduction with the introduction of my first gift lines, the most popular being "Happy Habits", the funny little comical nuns. They were highly sought by collectors and were sold nationwide for several years. I continued to produce new lines for the gift industry until 2002. They say people go back to their roots, and those roots called me back in 2004 when I began to once again create and sell my work directly to collectors by creating “one of a kind” (OOAK) figurative sculpture and market them via the web! The collectors and patrons make this such a rewarding experience. My heartfelt thanks goes out to each and every one... 

In addition to creating one of a kind work, during the past 25 years I have also taught sculpting seminars all across the nation to young and young at heart. My work has been featured on television, in newspaper articles, magazines, advertisements and labeling for polymer products. It has been marketed on home shopping networks. My fairy “Semone” was on the cover of Doll Reader in May 2009 along with myself as the Featured Artist. What an honor and a surprise! Always willing to share technique, I have also written several instructional articles as useful teaching aids for companies and publications and conducted product testing and development for the major companies as well. In 2010 I was asked to assume the duties as President of the International Art Doll Registry and through that online organization, I continue to encourage and teach artists interested in learning more and promoting their art.

In 2011 I joined the ranks with other skilled and specialized artists at A for Artistic and I offer a full curriculum of sculpting and accessory online classes through this site. I will be forever grateful for the wonderful opportunities that have graced my life. I work from a home studio and office in northern Minnesota, USA. I call this “God’s Country”. I have been corrected and have been told there are other places as aptly named, but this is my little piece of heaven. Surrounded by large rolling gardens and snuggled into a cozy log home, it really is my nirvana; a fabulous place to be creative. 

I consider myself very lucky to be here. While we continue to see our beloved polymer clays evolve, we too as artists must adapt and grow, change and blossom. I hope my guidance and instruction helps new and experienced artists alike gain the confidence they desire to make this medium as challenging and rewarding for them as it has been for me. In these 25 years it has given me so much and now it’s my turn to give back. Sculpting and creating have blessed me beyond what any words could ever express and I hope the same will hold true for you. That would be the best gift of all. 


Deb Wood, Polymer Clay Doll Artist 

Curiosity is the force that has driven Diane Keeler all her life.  Born in Duluth, Minnesota in 1950 to parents that nurtured this curiosity. "When I was growing up, my parents were always doing something, always trying a new hobby or pursuing a new interest. They encouraged all five of us girls to do the same thing. "Diane reflects when asked about the source of her curiosity. "We never heard the words 'You can't do that'." 

In 1987, while engaged in her then current passion of miniatures, she discovered polymer clay. This was it: she knew immediately, the medium she had been searching for Diane immersed herself in her "new" passion. Even though she had never sculpted before,  the faces came relatively easy, right from the beginning. 

Diane honed her skills, and in 1990 started doing art shows with all polymer clay figures.  Gradually she started winning awards for best of show and best sculptor. As she began including one-of-a-kind dolls into her stock, they sold. Galleries started calling her asking to purchase dolls from her. 

In the spring of 1994, Diane became a full time artist and in 1998 another facet immeraged; she began to teach live workshops and 2010 teaching online classes. This added a whole new dimension to her and "has made me a better artist".  

2001 elected into NIADA 
2002 elected into ODACA 

Her philoshophy is to keep searching and learning.  In doing so, she helps to promote the doll as an accepted art form.

Diane Keeler, NIADA Artist (Polymer) 

Joe MacPhale was born in late November 1959, in the town of Santurce, Puerto Rico. His grandparents in the town of Bayamon raised Joe. "I vividly remember my first drawing at the age of 5. Someone gave me a blue tempera jar and a wooden stirring stick with a piece of cream-colored paper, so I drew my first stick man! I think that was the beginning of a wonderful discovery of the magic of imagination"

When he was in elementary school, He was always thinking of the fantasy world and nature, as most children do. He also remember getting into a lot of trouble in school because he would disappear from regular classes just too always be found at the side of his art teacher, soaking up like a sponge all the knowledge she possessed. Then the first man landed on the Moon. Joe proceeded to make a collage of the man walking on the moon and his first abstract plaster sculpture. He recalled "We entered the pieces into competition and to my amazement, I took first prize" Later he find out he would not get the first place trophy on the man in the moon, due to the judges thinking that his work was too good to be executed by a child of such a young age. They were under the assumption that his teacher had helped him on it. "I was devastated and never entered a competition again"

     Joe's grandfather was an industrial sewing machine mechanic and his grandmother a sewing professional at the factory. By the early age of eleven, he was an avid pattern maker and sewing machine mechanic. Always immersed in the world of fantasy, Joe kept creating drawings, sculptures and costumes based on the fantasy world (his fantasy world that is).  In 1973, at the age of 14 he took a correspondence course on animation, and with the help of one of my neighbors, I learned how to make ceramic molds and how to cast porcelain. Therefore, at the age of 16, he produced his first porcelain doll from scratch to the finished product. Then he went thru all the hard years in school. Yes, he said hard because he was different, and not very well accepted by the rest of the student body.

     At the age of 18, I moved to Orlando, Florida with the purpose of joining Walt Disney World. In 1980, Joe became an ice skater for the holidays show, at Lake Buena Vista. He worked at Disney in different positions for the next 25 years.

     In the mid 90’s Joe opened his own little business in porcelain doll making and Scottish attire. Then he decided to go back into competition but this time in a different medium. Joe became a bagpiper, and he performed for an attraction known as Rosie O’Gradies. He not only became a piper for them but also the only professional Kilt maker in the State of Florida. So armed with his bagpipes he began to go to all the highland games to compete as a solo piper, earning him a gold medal. Joe moved up through different levels of bagpipes. He joined the Orange County Sherriff’s department, and was able to go to Scotland to represent them at the 2001 pipe band and world championship competition.

     After the terrorist attack on 9/11 Joe lost his doll making and Scottish attire business. Therefore, for the next few years he continued to work at Walt Disney World, where he became the master designer for a jewelry company called Metals of Art. In 2004, Joe met his partner and left Disney to pursue a carrier as a Mobile Test Tech Driver for the same company his partner was working. Both of them spent the time working all over the USA. One night Joe remembers telling his partner that he could sculpt like Giuseppe Armani. His partner laughed in disbelieves, and Joe decided to prove that he really was a good sculptor. He armed himself with all the sculpting tools, but once again Joe went a step further, and decided that if he was going to create dolls again and go back as a professional doll maker he would do it by coming out with a piece that will transport everyone that looks at it into his wonderful magical world.

 Meanwhile, he and his partner had to work in different states. In Joe's mind, the gears were turning creating the masterpiece while both of them stayed in different hotels at different cities. Communication through the internet with his partner proved to be a great support in producing the best piece of electronic engineering and beautiful magical automata sculpture, the fairy doll Shaylee. Joe described the sculpture as follow." She is in her own environment, which features tiny hand-sculpted flowers, a mist that covers the forest floor, tiny fireflies and magical music playing in the background, with a full moon and the Aurora Borealis. Shaylee is in the center of this magical world floating suspended in mid air with her outstretched arm holding her lighted wand"

     During this time and through several phone conversations Joe proceeded to talk with Elizabeth Dye, who was the Membership Chairperson of The Professional Doll Makers’ Art Guild. With her help in 2007, Joe was able to attend his first big exhibition, IDEX, where he was able to display his biggest creation, Shaylee to rave reviews.

Now Joe's partner believes him when he tells him, "I can sculpt like Giuseppe Armani!" In 2008, the new company Ancient Whispers LLC was born. Now after 38 years of creating art and doll making, I have mastered the art of mold making and resin casting.

    "For the last 6 years, we had offer seminars for artists interested in mold making and casting as well as sculpting lessons. We hope for the near future to provide videos, and internet classes. We are working on new dolls and limited editions"

     Joe MacPhale is a proud recipient of two consecutives years (2011, 2012) of the DOTY (Industry choice and People’s choice) award winner, and 2012 PDMAG Artist Choice award. David and Joe have seven dealers, and they are international for the first time with a dealer in France!

 Joe MacPhale is immersing in his fantasy world where he have a way to incorporate all of the various forms of art he have learned throughout the years!

Joe MacPhale, BJD Doll Artist (Polymer) 


Award-winning master polymer clay artist focusing on figurative sculpture. 

Medium: polymer clay, textiles, resin.


  • Art Director & Instructor for creation and construction of a permanent installation for Wabano Aboriginal Health Centre. Ottawa, ON,April-May, 2016
  • Cover and feature artist in online Canadian art magazine “A for Artistic”, spring issue, April 2016
  • 2nd place winner in Mixed Media and Sculpting category, International Contemporary Art Online Exhibit
  • “The Selfie” People’s Choice Award, AOE Arts Council, SELECTION Exhibit, October 2014, Ottawa, ON 
  • “The News” selected for Art Kudos One Year International Online Exhibit
  •  Art Work of the Month for May, 2014, Figureworks.org, Ottawa, ON
  • Art Master This Month, (March 2014) Gallery For.Me, NY
  • First Prize Winner in the Figureworks 2013 Annual Juried Competition (Ottawa, ON) 


  • March 2016 - Spring Fever Exhibit, Kanata Art Gallery
  • February 2016 – Moments in Time – Solo Exhibit, Orange Art Gallery, Ottawa
  • November 2015 – SELECTIONS, AOE Trinity Gallery, Ottawa
  • July 2015 – Canadiana – Solo Exhibit in AOE Gallery, Shenkman Arts Centre, Ottawa
  • “Life’s Simple Pleasures” Solo exhibit at the Orange Art Gallery, February 4-22, 2015
  • Art Kudos, one year International Online Exhibit
  • DIMENSIONS – National Capital Network of Sculptors Exhibit, September 2014
  • The Best of NCNS, Kanata Gallery, Mllack Centre,       February 3-9, 2014
  • Figureworks 2013 and 2014, November 19-December 1, 2013
  • Three sculptures included in the 2003-2004 Presenza Exhibit, Museum of Civiliation
  • Sculpture on display in the 3 year Timeless Treasurers Exhibit at the Museum of Civilization 2000-2003 


  • Orange Art Gallery, 290 City Center Drive, Ottawa
  • Rimawi Art Gallery, 109 b. boul. Labelle, Rosemere, Quebec
  • Gallery on Gore, 92 Gore St. E., Perth, ON 


National Capital Network of Sculptors

  • Member – joined in 2013
  • Director of Dimensions Exhibit 2015 – 2016 - 2017
Contact Information

Marla Niederer is a self-taught artist who has been designing and creating dolls for 22 years. She infuses her work with the inspiration and beauty that she finds in nature, dreams, animals, children, and other people. Marla has been heard making the statement, “I could no less stop creating art than I can stop breathing,” and has always been engaged in one art form or another. Marla has been focusing on needle-sculpted cloth dolls for the past several years but also has experience with several other mediums including paper clay, and polymer clay. The expressions that she captures on the faces of her dolls brings a warm, nurturing quality to her art. It is hard to view Marla's dolls without finding a smile upon your face. Her love of antiques is also often reflected in her art by the use of vintage fashions, fibers, lace, and beads.   

Marla has a Masters degree in Education and has worked in the public school system for 20 years. This experience adds to her workshops the skills of a seasoned teacher along with a sense of humour  Her work has been exhibited throughout New York State and has been seen in Doll Collector on several occasions. Always striving to learn new techniques and sharpen her skills, Marla has taken workshops from a variety of talented doll artists such as Peggy Wilson, Barbara Schoenoff, Kate Church, and Colleen Babcock. She is currently an active member of the All Dolled Up Cloth Doll Club in Ottawa and has presented several programs to the group utilizing techniques and patterns that she has designed and developed. 

You can keep up to date on Marla's most recent projects by viewing her blog 

Marla Niederer, Cloth Doll Artist 


Noemi R. Smith

Born in Lima - Peru

Self-taught Artist; since little girl always loved making things with my hands. I started my art career as Doll Artist back in 2008, making One of Kind Art Dolls in polymer clay. I was so amazed by the art of doll making. Nowadays started making something more than dolls as was captivated with fantasy characters and creatures, and still constantly strive to improve my skills. I'm able to work in different mediums such as clay, polymer clay, fabrics, yarn, wool, anything I that can get my hands on.

Started sharing my knowledge of Doll Making back in 2013 to Hispanic Ladies in Peru, and every time I travel to South America I have been always teaching. So far I have traveled to Peru, Argentina, and Ecuador for teaching classes. Here in the USA, I have participated in Doll Conventions also had the opportunity to teach in New York to a Hispanic community of ladies and just recently I held my first in English 5 day workshop for making a Ball Jointed Doll, was a successful class held in San Diego, CA. I really love teaching and sharing with other people who are eager to learn about Doll making.

Proud member of the International Art Doll Registry and Professional Doll Makers Art Guild

Leslie O'Leary


You have heard art imitates life. I have found this to be truly so.

I personally went through a very profound transition to land on solid ground where I found another path leading me onwards. I have discovered this IS life….this is growth.

This has also been expressed in my art. Now that I look back at my art over the last 3-4 years,  it is very clear where I was in each of my transitional stages. I feel that I have broken free of my binds and cocoon and now am soaring on a continuous flight of discovery! Stay tuned for much new work coming from me! Transcending.

I am so very excited that color has returned to my life and I have a clear vision to where I want to take my personal one of a kind art and my Workshops that I share with all of you.

I have been a full-time artist created dolls for 30 years. My devotion to my craft, my hope is to inspire others by teaching my designs that are explicitly patterned you.

I am a member of the international juried organization, NIADA, and have taught my art workshop designs world-wide. My one of a kind works is held in collections around the world.

I love bringing my life as an artist, yoga health-life coach, SoulCollage® instructor, & committed optimism together and am devoted to helping others experience the best they can be!

I come here to celebrate with you in joy, grace, and faith in my own journey...ever growing!

I share my life with my darling husband, Sean, and our crazy little dog, Sparti, in Phoenix, AZ.



50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.