Last week, our darling little dog died. He was 15 years old and we miss him terribly.
The day before he died, a branch fell from the huge Elm tree in front of our house. I love the tree and so I picked up the branch and moved it onto our lawn, thinking that I should probably carve something from it.
A couple of days after we came home from the Vet, without our dear boy in our arms, the impulse to pick up the branch and start carving grew stronger and stronger.
I had been feeling called to carve another 6 inch doll like one that had carved last fall, so I used her as a companion and guide:
I used the same branch for her arms:
And for her legs, but I got the first pair all wrong, so I made another pair from another scrap of wood.
Of course, it took me a few days to carve her and to allow the still wet wood to dry before I could paint her.
This allowed me to follow my inner prompts that were a gift from this little healing dolly and start work on carving a teddy bear. I have posted about him here: LINK
I was surprised that she wanted a very round head, but when I went to carve it down, she firmly told me to just sand it smooth and live with it. Okay…. it’s important to not try to push the doll where she does not want to go!
She let me know exactly what she wanted for her hair, leotard, leggings and boots:
I knitted her a dress that was totally wrong for her, but works beautifully on a different doll.
Then I tried a different dress that I had knitted for another little doll. Nope.
She wanted me to weave her a white skirt and shrug from yarn that my daughter in law spun.
So, I did….
Her name is Pollydolly and I have found the process of carving her (and the teddy bear that I will post about next) to be very soothing and healing.
Dollmaking is very much a healing art and no matter what form it takes, it’s good for the soul.
Grieving is a journey that is unique to each person who has to follow the path, and it’s important to do the things that help the grief be nurtured in a transformative way that becomes the root of compassion.
Carving dolls and bears and knitting and weaving are an important part of my way of healing.
In the next post about the Teddy Bear that Pollydolly told me to carve, I’ll show you where she is sitting now. LINK
If you are grieving, please know that you are not alone. There is so much to grieve right now, and we all have to find our way through it. Blessings on your journey!
To see the larger Vasilisa Comfort Dolls, please click onLINK
I have been carving wooden dolls non-stop for the past year.
I’ve been working on several series of dolls.
One of the series that has brought me great joy is my ‘Vasilisa Comfort Dolls’ group.
I call them this because of the Russian folktale, Vasilisa the Brave. Vasilisa’s mother knows that she is dying, so she makes her darling daughter a doll that embodies all the mother love in her heart.
The little doll acts as a guide and comfort for Vasilisa throughout the story.
My Vasilisa dolls are also an embodiment of love, and even though they look very simple, they are deeply heartfelt, contemplative, meditative and powerfully healing.
I have used all kinds of wood- some it is from old pianos that died and the wood was given to me, some of it is from trees that were pruned or felled because of old age, some is from old furniture or planks of upcycled wood in other forms. There is a very small amount of new bought wood, as I prefer to plant trees, rather than use them up. Upcycling soothes me.
I have separated the Vasilisa Dolls into different categories.
Many of them are meant to be held in the palm of your hand or carried in a pouch (carrying them in a pocket with coins, keys, pebbles etc is not recommended, but on their own in a pocket is fine).
Here are the ‘Square Body’ Vasilisa’s dolls
Some of them have cords, because they are necklaces.
Some have dear little wooden legs that turn them into lucets, so they can make cords.
Some of them have brass nail antennae that also allow them to be used as lucets.
Some of them have lucet cord arms that allow them to hug your finger, thumb or house plant.
Here are the ‘Heart Shape’ body Vasilisa dolls:
Here are the Round Shape Body Vasilisa Dolls:
The group of Vasilisa dolls in the photo below all have pins on their backs so they can be worn as brooches.
The group in the next photo are necklaces and I realize that some of these should have been in the Goddess photo, too, but, you know… keeping everything straight…..
The group in the photo below are all Lucets (and I’ll send a pdf on how to use them as well as links to 8 video tutorials on lucet cord making with these Vasilisa dolls)
These are the Finger Hugging Vasilisa Dolls:
These Vasilisa dolls are based on Goddess energy and inspired by Goddess imagery:
The Vasilisa dolls are great for storytelling…..
I couldn’t resist making one little Vasilisa Snowlady 🙂
They are for sale and range in price from $25 to $95 +shipping, just send me a message or note.
Not all of them are still available.
I am quite emotional about posting them, as they have been such a source of healing for me through the pandemic…. I hope that you can feel all the love in them, too. ❤
Last month, I posted about Bedelia Mermaid, whom I carved from a very hard old piece of wood that was upcycled from a very old and fallen apart bed. LINK
Her sister, poor thing, languished in the freezer for several weeks, because I needed to force some moisture into the rock hard wood.
Bedelia thought that I was being rather harsh with her poor sister!
I named her ‘Frozen Charlotte’, which is actually a kind of doll that doesn’t have moveable arms and legs, but in this case, it was because she spent so much time in sub-zero temperatures.
Freezing the moistened wood made a world of difference!
When I tried carving Charlotte’s arm, I was delighted- carving the wood was now possible without my knife going instantly dull.
So, I moved on to carving the rest of her:
Bedelia kept her sister company:
And, when Charlotte was finally done, they sat and enjoyed finally being together after poor Charlotte’s dreadful time in the freezer.
Bedelia told Charlotte about some more sweet mermaids that have joined the flutter of memaids in the studio and wanted to introduce her to them.
Charlotte is rather shy, perhaps because of the time in the freezer – it takes her time to warm up to new people.
Baby Bunnymaid held Charlotte’s hand, and they all sang a small song and decided that they were happy to be in such fine company.
Unfortunately, Charlotte is still feeling very cold, so I think that I will have to do something about that!
SCRAP HAPPY- Once a month, a group of bloggers who are into upcycling all post on the 15th of the month, sharing what they have created with upcycled bits of this and that in the past month. Charlotte’s introduction is my contribution to Scrap Happy for this month.
Here are the other Scrap Happy bloggers- I always love seeing what they have been up to!
Tottie Talks Crafts Blog · Noreen Crone-Findlay talks about the crafts she loves with her friend, Tottie Tomato. They'll be sharing tutorials, how to's and step by steps for spool knitting, crochet, doll making, small loom weaving, wood working, paper crafts and all manner of other fun crafts. This is a family friendly blog.