For years, Kristie Billings has had a fascination with dolls and they seem to engage in a life of their own in her images. PHOTOS COURTESY KRISTIE BILLINGS

Dollface: Photographer collects and depicts once-cherished toy figures

BLUE HILL — “Sea Witch Forget-Me-Nots,” featuring photographer Kristie Billings’ portraits of dolls and images of her hometown of Stonington, are on view through March at the Blue Hill Public Library. A reception will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 12, where the public can meet the artist in the Britton Gallery.

Born and raised on Deer Isle, Billings comes from a long line of seafarers. She is most at home in the coastal environment. She even swims year-round in the ocean. A collector, and observer, she tends to gravitate to things others may pass by, and that some may find unsettling. “Life and art are sometimes uncomfortable,” she says. “I like it when both make me take notice, hold my breath and stand straighter.”

In the show, opening March 2 in the Britton Gallery and Roland Howard Room, “Sea Witch Forget-Me-Nots” focuses on Billings’ images of her collected dolls “in the era of a pandemic depicting an evocative rawness.” Also on view are her photographs from Stonington and around Hancock County. She uses different types of cameras, including digital and film. Writing poetry since she was a little girl, her poems also are featured. She says they tend to be “confessional and not for the faint of heart.”

“Kristie is an ebullient personality, the kind of person who makes you feel special the first time you meet her,” says Library Director Rich Boulet. “Local folks have known her for years in various contexts, from her former Ellsworth store, Shoegazer, to her years behind the counter at Black Dinah Chocolatiers, to her Saturday nights on the air at WERU hosting her long-running radio show, ‘Daydream Nation.’”

Billings has shown her work at the Deer Isle Artists Association and Ronald Harte’s Antiques in Deer Isle. Her exhibited work will be for sale. A portion of the proceeds from sales will benefit the library.

For more information, call 374-5515.

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