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Brown Spices Elves Workshop with Julee Dickerson Thompson

Brown Spices Elves Workshop with Julee Dickerson Thompson

Brown Spices Elves Workshop with Julee Dickerson Thompson


Free Registration

Space is very limited, please only register if you intend to come.


An interactive family friendly doll making workshop for children ages 6-12 accompanied by a parent or guardian. Pre-registration is required and the workshop will be capped at 15 people.  All materials will be provided. Sewing skills are a plus but not a requirement. Each participant will create a doll to take home.  

 Participants will learn how to make “Brown Spice Miniatures,” or small hand sewn cloth dolls representative of Dickerson-Thompson’s signature inclusive aesthetic that is an homage to children and families of the African Diaspora. For over four decades, Dickerson-Thompson has been steadily building a family of dolls, accessories, and educational materials that speak to the diversity of Black experience in the United States and beyond.  She regularly offers Brown Spice Elves Workshops (mini doll making) as a component of her Young Masters (YM) curriculum and programming. A celebrated arts educator, these workshops are as much about family storytelling as they are hand craft creation. Participants will be encouraged to use their own family members and experiences as inspiration for their dolls, while being walked through the nuts and bolts of basic patterns and decoration. 


Julee Dickerson-Thompson is an award-winning artist and D.C. native, who was nurtured in the Smithsonian museums, and the Workshops for Careers in the Arts (now, Duke Ellington School of the Arts)–arts institutions in her backyard. She continued her studies at Simmons University, Massachusetts College of Art, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the Corcoran College of Art.  All her works integrate influences from her experiences in West Africa, the Caribbean, and France, through experimentation with mixed media, soft sculpture, quilts and dollmaking. Her work is featured in exhibits, collections, galleries, museums, and “alternative spaces” nationally and internationally.

Artist Statement

In 1978 I made my first doll.  The next year, my first child (daughter) was born, and my mother, Ann Dickerson, collaborated with me to start Brown Spice dolls, which developed into Young Masters, Inc.  Regardless of the medium I work in, I incorporate themes of Womanism, peace, progressive concerns, deep spiritual symbolism, and intergenerational relationships and community.  I know the power of art, and seek to use it to uplift, heal, and change people’s minds and hearts into action.

About the Exhibit:

On View October 6th, 2023 – March 3rd, 2024

“The Calling: The Transformative Power of African American Doll and Puppet Making,” is conceived and curated by Camila Bryce-Laporte, (a noted doll maker herself) in partnership with scholar Phyllis M. Machunda. This exhibition includes dolls and puppets created by a group of 26 nationally acclaimed multi-media artists from the African Diaspora, who came of age in communities in the United States during the height of the Civil Rights and Black Arts Movements. Using mixed media, these visual storytellers chronicle the history, identity, and culture of their communities. Compelled or “called” to continue the special and enduring tradition of Black doll making, these artists recognize that their works are healing and transformative for themselves and for the communities they represent.


Nov 18 2023


2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

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