Norfolk artist creates doll series inspired by Ru Paul's Drag Race

Crochet artist Shauna Richardson has created a collection of Ru Paul's Drag Race-inspired dolls

Crochet artist Shauna Richardson has created a collection of Ru Paul's Drag Race-inspired dolls - Credit: Shauna Richardson

A crochet artist from north Norfolk has designed a series of creations inspired by Ru Paul's Drag Race that pay homage to 1970s toilet roll dolls. 

Shauna Richardson, from Overstrand, "laughed out loud" when she thought of the idea and has since made over 40 dolls which she calls 'the original johns'. 

The collection can currently be seen at North Sea Coffee in Cromer and she hopes to continue making them ready to be shown at Norwich Pride next July. 

The 'Ann of Green Gay Balls' doll by Shauna Richardson, inspired by Ru Paul's Drag Race

The 'Ann of Green Gay Balls' doll by Shauna Richardson - Credit: Shauna Richardson

Mrs Richardson said: "Living with ADHD can have its interesting moments and I frequently have random ideas pop up.

"This idea came to me while walking along the beach with my dog Bob during lockdown and it made me laugh out loud.

"I enjoy humorous and subversive things. I love the big warm-hearted explosion of colour and creativity of Drag Race and the influence on the John project is plain to see."

Crochet Artist Shauna Richardson and her collection of Ru Paul's Drag Race inspired dolls

'Orange Gina' doll - Credit: Shauna Richardson

Each 'John' has her own colour-themed name such as 'Lemon Dribble,' 'Mauvy Dick' and 'Purple Wayne'.

Shauna Richardson north Norfolk crochet dolls inspired by Ru Paul's Drag Race

'Lemon Dribble' - Credit: Shauna Richardson

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As well as Ru Paul's show, inspiration for the project also came from her grandmother.

"She was full of wicked mischief and I remember she had a 'Crinoline Lady' toilet roll cover in her bathroom which was a grotesque pink affair" she said.

Toilet roll crochet dolls gained popularity in the mid-20th century as a way of hiding spare toilet rolls. 

Shauna Richardson's Ru Paul's Drag Race inspired dolls north Norfolk

'Teal Lady' - Credit: Shauna Richardson

Mrs Richardson learnt to crochet at her "grandmother's knee" and has explored using it as a sculptural medium ever since.

She is best known for her realistic life-size crochet animal sculptures which take several months to complete so making the 'Johns' has been a welcome reprieve.

North Norfolk crochet artist Shauna Richardson and Ru Paul's Drag Race-inspired dolls

One of Shauna Richardson's Crochetdermy® scultpures, titled 'Bremen Musicians' - Credit: Shauna Richardson

"I spend a lot of time in the company of brown and neutral tones" said Mrs Richardson adding: "I'm currently working on a couple of different sculptures including a black bear portrait of the artist Whistler.

"Although having crochet in common, this work is very different.

"The Johns represent a bright injection of colour and frivolity and they continue to make me laugh.

"I think laughter and concept in art is key to me, both as maker and viewer."

North Norfolk artist crochet dolls inspired by Ru Paul's Drag Race

'Mauvy Dick' - Credit: Shauna Richardson

The Johns can also be viewed on Instagram: @theoriginal_john