During her studies in Art School Marlaine Verhelst had a teacher, the Dutch illustrator Margriet Heymans, who made dolls not meant to be art but just for her own pleasure and for her (many) children to play with. These dolls had the same simple but strong expression as her illustrations. Margriet Heymans brought these dolls with her to school for the students to make water color paintings after them. After more than 35 years these dolls are still a source of inspiration for Marlaine to "Keep it simple". Marlaine's other motto is: "Don't stick to conventions". Marlaine Verhelst doesn't want to create existing people but with her dolls she tries to make a fantasy world of her own. Her Art School department was Illustrations and she still considers her dolls being 3-dimensional illustrations to stories that viewers can make up themselves. The dolls are hand sculpted directly into porcelain, fired once and painted with water color. The animals and attributes are made out of papier maché or air dry clay.
Marlaine enjoys teaching very much, mostly in air dry clay: her Holiday Workshop week in Paris, classes in Holland and online classes.
Together with Ankie Daanen she teaches the "Meet the Dutch Touch" class in the US. Marlaine Verhelst is a proud NIADA artist and board member and a proud DABIDA member.