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Weaving words into art...
Weaving Words into ArtIt's been about two years since I've been making healing dolls.....and the writer part of me is craving involvement lately. The above image is from my 2010 participation in a project called the "Traveling Artist Guild" which in a way was what got me on this whole doll-making journey. As part of this journey, I made a doll, a book, a map and a box to put them all into. Here are the words that go with the above image, which was a description of the doll beginning her journey with the Traveling Artist Guild.
Kalili answers the call
The soft voices of the chanters begin. I close my eyes and my mind is still. As I attune my senses to the Chanters, individual threads of language unravel themselves from what at first is a diffuse tapestry of sound. Layer upon layer of chanted words, some clear and new, some indistinct, as if roused from ages of slumber. I recognize the ancient Mexican language that is in my blood, the Greek words, the Druidic, the Norse and lightly interwoven with these darker languages, the words in English. Each language stimulates all of my senses, each carries with it a corresponding aroma, taste, physical sensation and color. The older the words, the darker the color and muskier the smell. My body is afire, no longer under my control, something stronger and higher is in power here. I absorb the words into my being, knowing that with the words comes the knowledge and wisdom that will carry me through my journey.
Weaving words into art...
As I've been working on the large doll I had hinted at in my last post here, the healer doll, I was looking for healing stories and images to put on his cloak. Another hint. I had forgotten somewhat about the Traveling Artist Guild story. But this week I was rereading this story and I saw that it is all there. The protagonist, Kalili comes up from her underworld to heal the overworld of an unspecified sickness. The entire story is about healing of the land, healing of the people in it and the healing that Kalili herself undergoes. It's like discovering an old diary, rereading this story and seeing how it fits with the work I am doing now with my dolls.
The creative process
What that story describes is the power that words have on the protagonist of my story, Kalili. I've been wondering, as I said, how I can integrate words and stories into my work with the dolls. Now it is as if I have found a map for the way forward. I don't know exactly where this will take me. It's a bit scary not knowing what's coming. But this is the nature of the creative process-sometimes you get a glimpse of the lay of the land from on high and sometimes you are laboring one step at a time, seeing only what your headlights illuminate in the road just of you, out of the dark.
What are you working on? What are the threads of your life that you are seeking to integrate?
I'd be curious to know. To reply, depending on where you are reading this, answer on the FB thread, on the website blog or send me an e-mail by responding to this newsletter. I will keep you posted on my progress as well.
Several doll making workshops that are coming up in the month of April at the Smith Center for Healing and Arts, at Arlington Parks and Recreation and another workshop for creative arts professionals, also in Arlington. For a preview about these workshops, check out my workshop webpage.
Where to find Erika and her dolls over the next months:
February 1-March 1 in the Associate's Gallery (TAG) at the Torpedo Factory, now moved to Studio 319.
First week of March in Studio 32, short!
I will be submitting my work to several shows in the area and will let you know about those.
The Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery is another place where you can find me throughout the year.
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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!