Last fall, I participated in a round robin art doll swap with several other women. The process was quite beautiful.
We started by creating a figure using pipe-cleaners and wire, shaping it into a head, arms, body and legs. Foam, quilt batting, and fabric were used to provide structure and shape. We added as much or as little to the doll as we chose before mailing it to the next person. Precious objects or words could be woven in, along with keepsakes or fabric that held special meaning.
Our figures were named – not an easy thing to do when you’re looking at a very rudimentary form that is only just beginning to take shape…and yet, the dolls ‘told’ us who they were. We intuitively responded to the emerging figure – playing, imagining, listening. A story was begun and accompanied the dolls to their next destination; we would add to the story as we added to the figure.
In May, we gathered together for a potluck lunch and a much anticipated exchange. Amid laughter and smiles, we opened our packages, slowly drawing forth our finished art dolls. Well, some of us were slow…others not so much. 😉
Amazing! Fabulous!! I can’t begin to share with you the pure delight in that room as we gazed at our dolls, enchanted by the transformation we were witnessing since they’d left our homes months before. Every doll was so unique – lovingly stitched or glued with fabric, wool, feathers, buttons and beads. Precious stones brought back from Brazil were a special addition that adorned each one.
A BIG thank you to the hands (Celia, Cheryl, Toby and Dara) that held and created my wonderful Funky Spirit Doll. She sits in a place of honour in my studio window, and when the sun hits the prism she holds, multi-coloured light streaks into the room. Beautiful. Special thanks to Dara for teaching and organizing this fun swap – you can read more about it here.
I’ll be teaching a variation of this doll-making technique as part of my fall/winter workshop offering. Perhaps you’ll join in??