Welcome to Transformative Healing Dolls BLOG
More or less monthly posts about Transformative Healing Dolls
Summer Fun: Stitched pins and tiny wall hangings
Here's (top row left and middle) another view of my mother's pin and a view of her wearing the pin. Next (top row right) is a pin entitled "I love Gully" that I made for my sister, Ingrid. She loves birds and this one is about a seagull that has been returning to the beach at Lake Ontario near our family summer house in Sackets Harbor. This bird has a backwards twisted leg and my sister has been feeding him for about five years now! Amazing that he keeps coming back!
Next (middle row left) is a dancing dragon pin inspired by a medieval image of a similar theme. This is for a friend, Chris, who loves dragons. Then you can see (middle row middle and right) a pin I made for my mother in law, Shirley, after wonderful family vacation on Mount Desert Island, Maine which she made possible with her husband Paul. I combined some of the experiences we had there, kyaking, whale watching (we didn't see whales but saw dolphins and porpoises) lobster dinners and the wonderful Mount Desert itself. It is called "Mount Desert Island Family Retreat, Summer 2018."
And in the bottom row are three images of progress on a pin I made for my daughter who is going off to McGill University in Montreal. She asked for Winnie the Pooh and a bee, so I put a small bee in an image of Pooh with Piglet. When I showed it to her first (middle image) she said " but what about the red jacket that he always wears?" I thought, "oh no! I already sewed it together, how will I do the jacket?" But I was able to do it. I embroider these pins and then turn it inside out and sew the front to the back with quilt batting in between. I had already turned it rightside out and sewn it together. But I was able to still attach a tiny piece of red felt, making it into Pooh's red jacket, with black stitches. I think she's right. He looks better with a jacket. All of these pins use a very simple stitch, back-stitch.
Note: My sister, Ingrid is a fabric designer. She makes beautiful designs that then get turned into couch covers, wall hangings, bags and more. I have a few wonderful bags with her fabric designs and some pillows.
My mentor, Barb Kobe's book is out and some of my dolls are featured in it.
My healing doll making mentor, Barb Kobe has a new book out, The Healing Doll Way: A Guided Process Creating Art Dolls for Self Discovery, Awareness and Transformation. It is available on Amazon and also on her website and is just amazing! She talks about the process of creating healing dolls, something that she teaches over a period of a year. She invites participants to make a series of five dolls, (the guardian, scapegoat, lovingkindness doll, talisman and healer.) Each doll builds on the next to create a healing journey for the participant.
Barb's method is not to give patterns and tell her students what to do, but instead to create an safe environment that fosters creativity. She includes prompts for journaling, mind-mapping and other methods to inspire and challenge those who want to use the powerful medium of doll making as a means of personal growth.
She features many of her own expressive and creative dolls in the book, and also dolls by artists who have participated in her workshops. Some of my dolls are in there too, mostly the ones I made as part of her healing doll class. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in healing dolls or even just in the healing process.
Update on the Kalili Project: Two Sources of Inspiration
This summer I've been thinking about what I want to do with the Kalili project, but I haven't done a lot of work on it. I have decided, I think, that I do want to make the whole series in fiber to complement the twelve painted triptychs that I made earlier this year. But I still haven't figured out exactly how this will look.
I have recently seen a couple examples of story-telling through fiber art that inspire me to go deeper with my own project. If you haven't seen them yet, you should check them out!
The first is Sandra Sawatsky, from Calgary, Canada and her Black/Gold Tapestry project, featured in Selvege magazine. The artist decided she wanted to make a sixty-seven meter long tapestry that celebrates the history of oil or "black gold" and that encompasses the history of the world, starting with dinosaurs. This project took her nine years to complete. She was inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry, from the 11th Century, which depicts the Norman conquest of England. Sawatsky uses three rows of images, with a central featured image and then two on-going scrolls of images at the top and bottom, similar to the Bayeux tapestry. I am enjoying reading her blog posts about the process of making her tapestry.
The other project that inspired me is a fiber artist collaboration and curated, I guess you could say, by a writer Alexander McCall Smith. It is called the Great Tapestry of Scotland. McCall Smith put out a call and many volunteer tapestry artists responded, sending individual scenes depicting various significant moments in the history of Scotland. McCall Smith was inspired by the Prestenpans Tapestry at the Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh. For the Great Tapestry of Scotland, he commissioned a writer to create a narrative to go along with the tapestry panels. I am fascinated with Scotland myself, though I have only been there twice.
I hope to get back to my Kalili project by October and will keep you posted on the progress.
Dates and Details for Two Fun Events that I will be participating in this September:
Adams Morgan Day: Here's the poster for the September 9, 12-6 event that I will be doing with Amelia Shachoy. We will be sharing a table. She draws, paints and makes prints. I will be selling small items, such as my woebies in tins and some stitched pins such as the ones I showed above, along with some new small dolls. Please let me know if you have a particular theme you would like me to do for one of the stitched pins. They are more fun to do when they are personalized!
If you are in the area, I hope to see you there. I haven't been to this street festival before but I love street festivals and am looking foward to being a part of it!
Celebration of Textiles: Above is a poster for the Celebration of Textiles that I will be participating it along with Jill Newman on September 15th from 10-5 at the Textile Museum in D.C. This looks like a lot of fun too. Jill and I will be demo-ing needle felting. She makes wonderful fanciful creatures, jewelry and some abstract pieces, all infused with her "zazzy peacock" motifs and inspiration. There will also be dancing, opportunities to try out various fiber techniques, food, guided tours of the museum and more.
I am going to show my latest piece inspired by Frida Kahlo and having to do with my father's ancestry, five generations of grandmothers, as well as some other recent pieces. I will be starting a new piece inspired by my mother's German ancestry. We will see how it goes because I have only just started the piece and usually at these demos it can be tough to get a lot done. Hopefully it will be interesting to see what I start from and the progress I make.
Hope to see you there if you are in the area on that day. I know it's going to be hard to choose because there are always a ton of intriguing fall activities in the beginning of September.
Below are studio views of my first ancestor doll, inspired by interviews with my father. I used photos of five generations of grandmothers, my father's mother on up for this doll. I will be showing this doll at the Celebration of Textiles and will be demonstrating the beginnings of a similarly inspired doll about my mother and the generations of mothers before her.
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!