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August 6, 2013

In Memory of Akira Blount, one of the true original artists I have ever met. There simply was no one else like her. Akira died this past week at her home in the foothills of the East TN mountains.

In the early 1990s I visited Akira at her studio in Bybee, TN to select a Christmas gift for Michele. Akira was in the last stages of preparation for a big show in Atlanta.

I remember a long set of stairs that led up to the studio. When I stepped inside, the world changed. Now I was at the mercy of the Imagination, the Magic of Akira Blount. It was not a bad place to be....

Fairies with light lacy hair looked at me. Deer dressed in pine cone vests surveyed the room. Lift the deer's head and the doll is a girl. A little Jester with deep Indigo leggings and a red vest sported circus rings in his hand. He was looking right at me. I was there to buy the tall deer doll, dang it... I had no intention of buying a second doll, but the Jester would not let me leave the room without him.

The studio was full of little beings, each one with a personality born somewhere in Akira's other worldly imagination. There were maybe 25 of these spirits in the room. It was as close to pure Magic as anything I've ever experienced.

Akira's husband, Larry, spoke of having to run interference and act as referee with little ladies who camped out at the doors of the convention centers in order to rush through at opening and descend like mad banshees upon Akira's booth. If two ladies both wanted the same doll, well, that's where things got dicey.

That day in Akira's studio remains as one of the most memorable days in my life. What a studio, what a world class talent.

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One of the world’s premier dollmakers, Akira lived in Bybee, Tennessee. She was known for incorporating pine cones, berries, feathers, twigs and other natural material into her work. We have three of her dolls, one from 1990 or 1991 and two from 1996. Akira’s style changed over the years; each of these dolls has features that tie it to a particular 4-5 year stretch of her career.

For by far the best view of these dolls, please use the slideshow feature (red button upper right corner of this page).

Akira and Larry Blount’s website is
Girl with BasketThe JesterDeer Girl