Welcome to Transformative Healing Dolls BLOG
Meinrad Craighead: Visionary artist. The image to the left is entitled "Feeding Crow Mother" and is by one of my inspirations, visionary artist Meinrad Craighead. I've never taken a class with her but ever since I first saw her work, I was blown away by it.
In preparation for my up-coming "Doll Making from the Inside Out" workshop, I've been giving a lot of thought to the idea of guides and guardians, as I will be leading participants in the creation of their own inner guardian dolls.
Over the years, I have looked to Meinrad Craighead as a source of my own inspiration. Her work is inspired by her visions and is incredibly rich with dense symbolism and meaning. There is a link on Facebook to a documentary video, "Praying with Images," about her life and work.
Craighead's images connect one to oneself, to spirit and to nature. They are like nothing else. She was a nun for a period of time and her work is imbued with spirituality and deep meaning.
I hope you take the time to visit her website.. I hope you are as inspired by her work as I am.
What I'm up to:
Tomorrow, September 18th, I start another week at the Torpedo Factory in Laurie Field's studio on the third floor.
And for two Saturdays in October, (October 18th and 25th, 10 am to 3 pm) I will be offering Doll-Making from the Inside Out at the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts.
...Guides and Guardians
I've been preparing for my "Doll Making from the Inside Out" workshop at the Smith Center and I've been thinking about guides and guardians. The felted doll we will be making in this workshop is the first of a series of four dolls that I learned about while training with one of my mentors, master healing doll maker, Barb Kobe.
The four part healing journey in doll making
For the purposes of this post, I'll focus on the first doll, the guardian, but just so you know, there are four dolls in the series and they represent stages in the healing journey. They are the guardian, who guides one through the entire journey and serves as a "believing mirror," the scapegoat, who holds all the pain and troubles that prevent you from being able to continue on your journey, the talisman, who represents the transcendence of those struggles and finally the healer, who connects all of the threads together.
Discovering my own guide, the dragon
In preparing for this workshop, I've been thinking of the dolls that have served as my own guardian. I realized that my "Taming the Dragon Within" doll, depicted in a detail at the top of this post, is one of my guardians.
Slideshow about Taming the Dragon on my FB page
For a slide show of the making of "Taming the Dragon Within" check out my FB page. The doll started with an image of a woman taming a dragon that was a part of her. The dragon represented contradictory feelings, including creativity, passion but also danger, anger and frustration. A very powerful force. I made many sketches and then as you can see in the slide show, I tried out at least two different versions of the dragon in 3D before it felt right.
Dragons of myth and legend
The final version represents a woman whose "Inner dragon" grows out of her back, and is tamed in the process. Instead of being a force of danger, the dragon has become a friend. I could go on about the meanings of the dragon in literature, fairy tales, myths and legends but for now, I'm just going to stick with my personal story. After I made the woman, the sculpture didn't feel finished until I added the details on the sides, the Medusa head, depicted at the top of this post, a snake and a trickster character climbing up the side of its neck. These images represent what the woman had to overcome in order to tame her dragon.
Find out more, Smith Center workshop and an up-coming on-line class
And now as it is finished, I see that the dragon is actually a guide, a powerful and passionate guide, to the woman's inner and outer life. This is an example of the places that doll making can take you. If you are interested in learning more about the Smith Center workshop, please look at their website. And if you are not in the area,stay tuned for an on-line workshop that is in the works, possibly for the winter.
It’s that time of transition into fall, when we can be particularly susceptible to impulsive actions and quick decisions. We might buy clothes we don’t need or say yes to activities we don’t want to do, all in an attempt to create order and a sense of certainty in our lives. When the uncertainty of the season is compounded by disruptive events in our personal lives, whether illness, loss or job change, or even positive changes, we can forget to feel the ground under our feet. Even though we know we can weather changes, a part of us can feel like we are going through an earthquake. Changes can make us feel like the skin of the earth is broken and what was once a layer deep beneath the surface of the earth is now exposed on the top, or turned to the side or upside down. It can be extremely disorienting.
Change, even though we know it’s a part of life, can be a shock
During change, whether slight tremors or cataclysmic earthquakes, we may see the people in our lives, including ourselves, in strange new ways. We might see the underside of ourselves, and others, upside down, arranged in ways that we hadn’t seen before, and they look completely unlike themselves. It can be a shock, a real shock. We can feel un-prepared, ill equipped. We can feel exposed. We can even feel broken or damaged during periods of major change.
We’re still here, we’re still whole
But we are still here, the earth is still here, we are still whole. Our basic natures haven’t changed. It’s just the arrangement of the various parts to each other that have shifted, revitalizing what’s on the surface, bringing new growth, in a way that might never have appeared if the earth hadn’t shifted. This is not in any way to diminish the times of such severe real pain and suffering, when just getting through the day is all that seems possible. But eventually, even then, there comes a time when we can begin to make meaning out of change.
Doll making from the Inside Out: Workshop at the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in DC (Saturdays, October 18 and 25, 10 am to 3 pm)
I’ve been working over the past month on a plan for my up-coming workshop at the Smith Center for Healing and Arts “Doll making from the Inside Out.” As I’ve been making preparations, I’ve become interested in that thread of connectivity that holds us together during times of change. And I’ve been marveling at how doll-making can provide a sense of connection. We slow down enough to connect to ourselves, to each other and with the soothing process of creation. The process of making a doll can provide a reflective mirror, showing us to ourselves. Making dolls in community can be a way of marveling in our innate wholeness.
If you live in the DC area and think this might be something you want to take part in, please sign up at the Smith Center website. And if you don’t live in the area, stay tuned for an on-line class, possibly for the winter.
I've been making dolls for about five years now. I believe that dolls serve as representations and reminders of the best part of ourselves. I am exited to share with you here my learnings about new methods and techniques for doll making and healing. So glad you are here!