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Halloween Art and Travel

Nov 29, 2018

Episode 3 is a special 20th anniversary celebration. My guest is artist Joyce Stahl, of Enchanted Productions. Joyce’s whimsical dolls are the stitching together of her experiences in theater costuming, 80s hair, teaching, painting, illustration, and a love for Halloween. Joyce will share with us a retrospective of her art journey so far, including two of her mentors who are invaluable to what Enchanted Productions is today.  Joyce’s work has been exhibited at Roger’s Gardens, Ghoultide Gathering, and Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween.  You may have seen her doll, Mary Venom the Widow Queen in the Fall 2018 issue of Art Doll Quarterly. In addition to her role as an artist, Joyce is a wife, mother, and Ohioan.

Joyce was creative from her beginning. Even from the age of 3, she was drawing all the time. She knew she wanted to be an artist. She learned to sew in home economics class. She still isn’t good at functional sewing (like hemming pants) - her love is in creative sewing. As a student, she worked as costume assistant with a local theater group. That is where she honed her sewing and discovered a passion for period clothing.

She was the go-to friend for bang trims in high school. After graduation, she went to beauty school. She spent the 1980s creating big hair styles and inhaling a lot of Aqua Net. She loved helping people achieve their desired styles.

She left the salon to stay-at-home with her son. When he was 3, she started working at a frame shop/art gallery. It was time to get serious about her art career. She worked at the shop by day, and learned art at night, mostly though books. At the shop, she met artist Nancy McDonald, who mentored and encouraged her. Recently Nancy invited Joyce to participate in a studio show.

As time went on, she got into sign work. She progressed into murals so large she needed to use scaffolding. In 1998 she started doing local art shows. She decided it was time for a studio name, which was the birth of Enchanted Productions. The name was inspired by Stevie Nick’s “Enchanted” CD set.

In the beginning Enchanted Productions was paintings, many of them wildlife. They were infused with magic, moon, and stars. She wasn’t aware of the world of Halloween art yet. She also did illustration and design part-time.

 She created her own primitive print line. One of the shops that carried her work was the Village Gift Shoppe. The Shoppe is where she met owner Lori Davis. Joyce had been experimenting with clay and made a Ghost of Jacob Marley (from “A Christmas Carol”) doll.   During a trip in 2006 to restock prints, she showed the doll to Lori. Lori told her she needed to sell it on eBay. Lori was tapped into the art doll world. Lori showed Joyce the work of Scott Smith, Sheila Bentley, and some other doll artists. Joyce was blown away. Jacob sold quickly, and Lori told Joyce she needed to make more dolls. Lori became her assistant and best friend.

Joyce found doll work thrilling and created a doll a week the first year. In the beginning, Joyce created for all the holidays. After 2 years, she narrowed it down to Halloween because she had too many Halloween characters she wanted to create. Around this time, she developed her signature eye-style. She knew she was on the right path when her husband called one of her dolls “creepy.”

Joyce doesn’t own any of her dolls. Some of her favorites were Edgar Allen Poe, Cobbie the Cornfield Creeper, and Winston the Werewolf. She created a whole family, The Ravenson Family, in the feel of the Addams Family.  

Joyce loves to put a Halloween filter over pop culture. She’s done a Staying Alive skeleton and an agent inspired by Get Smart. She loves history. Her favorite periods are the 1960s and 1970s.

Lori and Joyce loved attending the Halloween art show, Ghoultide Gathering, as collectors.  She leaves Halloween art up all year. Her ravens get tinsel decorations for Christmas.

 After 2 years of creating her dolls, Joyce was invited to participate in Ghoultide. She was over the moon with joy.

Tragically, Lori passed away from cancer 4 years ago. Joyce still hears her voice guiding and encouraging her. Joyce always includes Lori’s witch hat in her show booth. You’ll easily find it in pictures from this year’s Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween.

Every job Joyce has done comes together in her dolls. As she looks ahead, she plans to do more 2D painting and create a book of poems about her characters. She also wants to revisit some of her early characters in her current style.

If you are interested in Joyce’s work, follow her on Instagram (@joycestahl1031) and/or Facebook (

Joyce sends enchanted blessings to all!

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