Top Dollers 

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a doll!

The Flying Phoebe Cloth Doll Club wants the world to know that dolls are not just for little girls. "We would love a new generation to become interested in cloth-doll making and textile arts," says Judy Fleck, the club treasurer and this year's show chairwoman. To that end, the club's annual show will offer doll-making demos for kids and adults, beginners and experts. "'Evolution of the Doll' is the name of the 2004 show," she says. "We are showing this evolution of our dolls in our work as we incorporate various art mediums in our dolls."

The show will feature displays of children's art from the MOCHA children's art program and the Alameda County 4-H Club as well as from the Flying Phoebe membership. The work of this year's featured artist, Ingrid Cole (above), will also appeal to both little and big people: Some of her creations are willowy, expressionless, supermodel types in sleek fashions, while others illustrate storybooks and bear bee-stung lips and sleepy eyes. Two years ago, the show held a tribute to late member Mary Thomas, a nationally known doll artist whose work was shown in the White House Christmas collection. "She left a legacy of kindness and creativity to the entire cloth-doll community," Fleck says. "Many of us own and cherish our 'Mary Dolls,' and they made a fabulous display at the 2002 show."

The Flying Phoebes took their name from a doll pattern by Elinor Peace Bailey, the group's most famous member when it formed back in 1987. The club now has a maximum of 25 active members and approximately 80 associates. Anyone can become an associate member and participate in doll shows and other activities. Just show up at an associate meeting on the third Thursday of January, April, July, or October at 7 p.m. at Centennial Hall in Hayward. In the meantime, attend Evolution of the Doll from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday at the La Quinta Inn, 20777 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward. Admission costs $5 at the door, and is free for those under twelve. Info: FlyingPhoebe.com

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