North Carolina artist Mary Paulsen has taken folk art to the extreme. Since 1996 Mary has been building a literal village of houses for her collection of dolls. To date, Mary has over 6000 dolls, which she keeps inside her Holden Beach home and gallery, and she's invited you to come see them.
According to Mary, God spoke to her on two separate occasions and told her to begin building the village, which is made up of small homes that line the length of her property. Each of the houses are decorated for a specific purpose, one is a church, a schoolhouse, and all of the buildings are decorated with special messages, brightly colored bottles, scrap art, and gardens.
“Like Noah building his ark, Mary set to work despite her lack of carpentry skills, armed only with love, faith and a non-stop sense of humor. God had put a blueprint in Mary’s head, and Mary followed it to create a village that consisted of a chapel (which she was later married in), a little Red Schoolhouse, a Soda Pop Shoppe, a Train Depot, a Library, a General store, and a Make A Wish for Jesus Fountain.” - Mary’s Gone Wild
Mary’s art is a mixture between pop-culture imagery, cartoons, wedding scenes, and religious iconography, all wrapped up into one brightly colored doll village. Most of the property is covered with Mary’s strange sense of design, and even though it might not look like it, according to Mary, everything has a purpose and a place.
Mary invites anyone to come and take a poke around her property, in fact she’ll probably come out to greet you and give you your own private tour. Much of the artwork that Mary has on display is for sale, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Feed the Children organization.
If you’re going to be passing through North Carolina, stop by Mary Paulsen Mary's Gone Wild Folk Art and Doll Museum and spend an hour exploring the brightly colored bottle houses, before taking a a spin through the gallery, and while you’re there you might want to pick up a Mary Paulsen original!