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Jan Calloway

born 1954, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Jan identifies as a self-taught artist. Although she almost completed a doctorate in
modern literature from the University of Tulsa, she has taken no formal visual art

Jan started making dolls approximately 30 years ago when a friend taught her how
to make Waldorf dolls. Since then, she has learned to make other kinds of cloth dolls
from books as well as from workshops; both in person and online. She is currently
instructing the same doll making workshops.

Over three decades, Jan has made many different types of dolls and each is uniquely
her own. The materials guide her process and influence who the dolls become. She
describes some as goddess dolls. One such example, Deer Mother, is displayed in this exhibit. The second doll in the exhibit, Loose Threads, shows Jan’s current approach to doll making, which she calls “showing your work.” This approach consists of cutting the fabric intuitively and sewing entirely by hand, often with the doll’s seams showing and loose threads dangling. Additionally, she finds special meaning in the process of making “healing dolls” to lessen depression. She talks to them and they talk back. When she had a hip injury, she unconsciously made a doll with one leg
shorter than the other, which is also true of Jan. She keeps her creations until they
tell her it’s okay to let them go.

Jan is a full-time doll maker and instructor. She is retired from teaching high school
and university level courses in writing, literature, and the humanities.

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