You have just come through a major transition. A relationship or job has ended and now you are starting off anew. Or you have just suffered a traumatic loss or a sudden illness. It’s difficult to figure out which side is up. Your life is busy, and it is taking all your energy to stay on top of the demands of this huge transition. You’re feeling overwhelmed.
You’ve been addressing this overwhelm through traditional therapy or alternative healers. Or you’ve been staying very busy as a way to distract yourself from the disorientation you may be feeling. Sometimes you may even have tried to escape it all by doing things like binge watching Netflix or comfort eating. What is it that makes this newness so hard?
The healing techniques and strategies have been helpful, yet it seems like there must be something more than all this talking and rehashing of the past. It isn’t helping you to recognize this new self that you are after all this change but you can’t and don’t want to go back to who you were before this change happened.
Who am I?
I’ve had 13 years as a professional art therapist, working with hundreds of people. I conceived of and ran a Women’s Vision group, guiding women through change using art for a period of two years. Since moving to DC, I started Transformative Healing dolls and-for eight years, I’ve been making commissioned dolls, leading healing doll workshops for a total of 50 plus women.
At the same time I have been making and exhibiting my own healing dolls in galleries and museums in the greater DC area and beyond.
I have a master’s degree in art therapy from New York University and have studied art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. I have also attended multiple art workshops, including healing doll maker, Barb Kobe’s year-long healing doll making training course. I’ve also taken additional courses in shamanic healing, mindfulness and meditation.
Why do I make and teach others to make healing dolls?
There’s an image ( see above) that has stayed with me for over 30 years since I first finished graduate school in art therapy and was beginning my first art therapy job. At the time, when I was adjusting to my first full time professional experience, beginning a marriage, I saw an image of a large full-figured woman standing on a rock and holding what looked like a shed skin over a body of water. I didn’t really know what to make of it. Through the course of three moves after that, the birth of my two children, more work as an art therapist and then starting art school, that image stayed in the back of my mind.
At art school I studied a variety of art modalities but it wasn’t until my fourth and hopefully final move, to DC, that I really understood that image. I made a doll based on that original image, which had come out as a series of drawings and paintings and in seeing that doll in its three dimensions, I knew what it was about and what I wanted to do to heal both myself and others. Her name, she told me is Rhea and she is shedding her skin, representing the paradox of change, how we are vulnerable and strong at the same time when we are going through change. I made that doll and she reflected back to me all the feelings of vulnerability, loss, fear, joy and triumph that had accompanied me during all those transitions. She represented that part of me that was going to stay with me and comfort me throughout whatever came next. I knew that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, make healing dolls.
Alter ego Flip Doll (in process) Sin Eater vs Guardian of the Spirit Garden, fabric, wool, embroidery floss, sari fabric, quilt batting, buttons, Caran D'ache and oil crayons
Testimonials and Appreciations for Transformative Healing dolls: