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More or less monthly posts about Transformative Healing Dolls
The Body Speaks...
To the left is an image of the participants at the recent "Mapping Our Internal Landscapes: A Felting Workshop" at the Smith Center...for Healing and the Arts in Adams Morgan, DC. Participants rested on mats and visualized sending messages of gratitude and healing to various parts of the body. Then they created a felted landscape, incorporating various elements that had come up during the visualizations. I was moved by the creativity, openness and forthrightness of the resulting images. Vulnerable, yet strong, an overarching theme of courage emerged. Figures flowed with the waves, merged with the trees, and embraced parts of themselves that needed special healing energy. Elements from nature, such as trees, roots and leaves, dragonflies and shells made their way into the work. One participant, whose image, for me speaks to the whole theme of the workshop, created a body with a mouth in her belly, allowing the body to tell it's own message, to speak its own truth.
More photos from "Mapping Our Internal Landscape..."
Arts therapists and other therapists explore felting at the Spring Institute...
Earlier this month, wet felter and art therapist, Sarah Pitkin and I offered a workshop at the Expressive Therapy Spring Institute in Arlington, VA, an expansion of the workshop we offered for the Expressive Therapy Institute in New York last November. This time we allowed more time for the actual felting, and participants explored the possibilities inherent in needle felting and wet felting. They created needle felted faces and then made either wet felted rocks or rattles. There was even time to create a simple landscape with felt. The most interesting part of the workshop for me was hearing the workshop participants explore the ways in which they could apply felting to their therapeutic practices back home.
One woman who works with children experiencing trauma envisioned using felting to create a box to hold difficult feelings. Another mused about mothers and daughters, wondering how the felted dolls might deepen the conversations between the mothers and daughters she works with. All responded to the tactile qualities of the felt, to the soothing process of felt-making and the built-in learning about frustration tolerance that can occur. I always learn so much from the participants in these workshops and will be thinking about this for a while to come.
Photos from the Spring Institute workshop of Doll heads, rocks, rattles and explorations with wet felting.
!Stacy Cantrell, fiber artist and curator and I submitted a show proposal to the Crave Micro-grant dinner, organized by the Torpedo Factory and Convergence, in Alexandria, VA...We had to present our idea to an initial jury panel, who picked four proposals. We and three other groups presented our ideas at a micro-grant dinner, where over 80 attendees voted and chose the grant winner. We were the winner!
Our proposal is a show called "Materialized Magic: Mythical Creatures in a Yarn Bomb Habitat." It is an exhibit of large fiber creatures, mine are felted and Stacy's are crocheted. And the environment is created by members of the community during several months of preparatory crocheting, knitting and felting sessions, where free materials and instruction will be provided. Here is how our proposal is described on the Convergence blog.
We are currently seeking a venue for the exhibit and I will post when we get a place. We welcome participants of all experience levels, so stay tuned. We have a proposal in to the Target Gallery at the Torpedo Factory and are exploring several other options. Keep your fingers crossed for us and for our magical creatures!
If you remember my newsletter from two months ago, you may remember hints I gave about my dolls getting bigger (hint: I showed the hands of one of my bigger dolls.) Well, in the photo above, you can see me holding one of my first larger dolls. He came and helped us win the award and will be part of the Materialized Magic exhibit. Below (left) is another detail of his construction. His is a four foot tall character and his name is "Tumnus," though he says he is not a faun. I will be working on him more, creating a large cape with felted images with scenes from one of my own magical stories. Stacy is wearing a crocheted "Medusa" hat.
In the works are plans for an on-line felted doll class to be added as a part of the wonderful Gretchen Miller's 60 Degrees of Creativity class. More about this to come...
And there are some workshops coming up this month, one this weekend at theExpressive Therapies Spring Institute, a class at Arlington Parks and Recreation on creating a felted spirit doll and a felting class Mapping our Internal Landscape at the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts.
I've been making dolls for about ten years now. I believe that dolls serve as representations and reminders of the best part of ourselves. I am excited to share with you here my learnings about new methods and techniques for doll making and healing. So glad you are here!