Kirby on display at Boneyfiddle

August 25, 2013

Joseph Pratt

PDT Staff Writer

The Boneyfiddle Arts Center (BAC) will be hosting an exhibition on Cara Kirby during the remainder of this month, in pair with Deborah Doll’s “A Juxtaposition of Creative Endeavor.” The exhibit is just some of what Deborah Doll achieved in her 75 years of living, after most of her work was lost in a flood. Kirby’s exhibit features many of her paintings, portraits, Japanese inspired menus, sketches and outfits she hand-sewn herself.

A biography sent in by her family stated that Kirby loved art and fashion throughout all of her childhood. After Kirby graduated with high honor from Notre Dame High School, she moved to New York, to pursue an education at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Over the course of her career, Kirby worked at design firms Jonathan Logan, Junior Accent, Adele Martin and R and K Originals.

Her designs have been featured in magazines like Mademoiselle, Glamour, Good Housekeeping and New York Times Magazine. After her career in New York, she settled down and worked in her personal art studio and produced much of her sculptures, caricatures, commercial artwork and a large supply of whimsical jewelry, some of which can be seen in her exhibition.

“A lot of us got together and realized we were all doing work, but separately. We then got together to spread our work out in the community more and help grow the artist recognition. I have been around since the beginning and this is my first exhibit,” Deborah Doll, BAC board member and recent exhibition holder said. “I shared my month with Cara’s work. I didn’t mind; I don’t need a whole month, two weeks is just fine.”

Doll’s “A Juxtaposition of Creative Endeavor” and Kirby’s work go hand-in-hand in some ways, both being lovers of fashion and art. Doll’s work involves a lot more black and white design than doll’s color and flair, but both go together to create a well-fitted exhibit pair.

“Art isn’t only a sculptural or painting that is hanging on the wall, but it is really a part of our everyday life. Chairs, are designed by artists. Clothing is designed by artists, too, which is what I am focusing on. Looking at ourselves, women in particular, we are sculptures that can be decked out everyone once and again. I’m sick and tired of seeing drab all of the time. Art feels good!”

Kirby’s displayed fashion contains several final draft paintings of dresses that she made and a few examples of suits that she has hand-sewn herself.

“I don’t know if she wore the pieces on display to an event, or what, but they are just so vintage and I love that,” Doll said. “She did wedding dresses and specialized in that, but this was all they had left of what she made herself. I just love the gold and turquoise she uses, as well as her black and white piece. There are so many contemporary and trendy things. She was a hard-working and talented artist and did almost every genre of art you can imagine. She was a work horse and we should display her work. We are always talking about the people that come out of Portsmouth and the surrounding area in football. We have a designer from New Boston that designed for Michael Jackson, even the outfit he was buried in. We’re not that obscure, just quiet.”

The Boneyfiddle Arts Center can be found at 546 Second Street and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission into the art center is free. For more information concerning art classes and exhibits you can contact the artists at 876-9668 or visit