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Life-like . . . Sharon Mitchell with Mufasa, one of the characters from The Lion King which she has created as a doll. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

You can watch The Lion King at the movies or on stage – and now you can see selected characters in cloth doll form in Harbour St.

Cloth doll artist Sharon Mitchell has presented her first exhibition at Crafted Waitaki Artisans Gallery, featuring dolls inspired by the stage production of The Lion King

Mitchell was influenced by the music of the production, of which she has viewed many different versions on YouTube.

“I loved the colours and expression and I wondered if I could make any of it,” she said.

“Once I got started I was away.”

Since the production opened in New York in 1997, it has become the highest-grossing Broadway production ever.

Mitchell’s cloth and needle sculpted figures of Lion Kingcharacters hold their shape with wire.

“That gives it the sense of shape and movement.”

The exhibition took five months to put together and Mitchell said she was happy with the way it turned out.

“My dolls have to have attitude – they need to be saying something.

“They need to be expressive in their body and eyes.”

Mitchell started crafting about 12 years ago, and now tutors the Oamaru Cloth Doll Crafters group and runs other workshops around New Zealand.

“I did every course I could find with it.

“I wanted to take it to the next level.”

Her foray into creating dolls and materials was an evolution.

“I have always been a sewer and I have done a lot of life drawing and art all my life.

“I always loved fabric and what you can do with it.”

As well as teaching, Mitchell is part of a huge online community of figurative cloth doll artists and sells materials, dolls and patterns all over the world.

“Mostly I just do what I like, but I also take requests.

“One lady in America wanted me to make an outrageous saloon doll to hang on her Christmas tree.

“She wanted to upset her family and she told me that was very successful.”

The exhibition, Reflections from The Lion King, opened on July 26 and runs until August 29.

Mitchell will be at the gallery on Tuesdays from 1pm-4pm.