Tag Archives: carved wooden dolls

A Wooden Teddy Bear Carved in Response to Grief

The death of our beloved 15 year old small dog has been really hard on both my husband and me.

I wrote in my previous post about the Comfort Doll that I carved from a fallen branch- LINK

When I was carving her, I was inspired to carve a Teddy Bear that would have an open space in it’s heart…..

I used amber color shellac to paint the Teddy Bear to look like our little dog, and then…

My husband and I each placed a tiny scoop of our little dog’s ashes in the open circle.

Then I glued a gold heart over it to seal it….

The glue seals it completely.

It took a while to dry and turn clear.

We both held the little teddy bear and found it to be very comforting….

We sat Teddy Bear and Pollydolly in front of the box of our little guy’s ashes, but when I finished weaving her outfit and knitting a red sweater and blue jeans for him, we sat them on top of the box:

My husband loves working with metal, so he made a little steel doggie: Edward Alloy in tribute to our wee fellow, and it has joined them on the box…..

We have found this tender making of small things in celebration of our wee dog to be very comforting!

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Vasilisa Comfort Dolls: Great Mother Series

The Great Mother series of my one of a kind hand carved Vasilisa Comfort Dolls have their roots in my feelings of connection to the Feminine Divine.

I am influenced by images of the Goddess in all her ways of Being, as well as the Black Madonna, and by my dreams, drawings and tapestries, as well as my love of Sacred Geometry. I have a passion for flowers, especially the wild roses that bloom so freely here in Western Canada, so they are an important element in my work- for their connection to the Feminine Divine and for how they symbolize how I am rooted to the land I gratefully live on.

Each of these Great Mother Vasilisa Comfort Dolls is an expression of healing energy and of all the ways that LOVE unfolds in us and around us. My intention is to create one of a kind dolls that will lift the heart of the person who interacts with them.

I also see these dolls as a way of connecting our Present Self to our Future Self, and also to the Inner Child that still lives inside of each of us.

They are lovely to hold in the palm of your hand, but also to have in a special place like an altar or on a shelf with other treasured objects of contemplation, meditation and prayer.

I use all kinds of wood to carve them. I love using upcycled wood (including pieces of old pianos that have come to the end of their playing life, so our friend, a piano tuner, passes pieces of wood from the dead pianos to wood carvers and furniture makers to ensure that the wood is re-created into something lovely).

We are often given logs or pieces of trees from our neighborhood to burn in our wood burning stove.

But, we don’t want to just burn these precious trees that have lived long and lovely lives and then died.

So, my husband has built a sawmill from an old bandsaw, and he cuts slabs of wood from the pieces of log so we can make art with the wood, giving new life to the trees.

Here’s one of the Great Mother Dolls on one of the slabs (I carved her from another one of the slabs):

The chainsaw marks were really hard to sand out! Luckily, Jim’s sawmill now cuts us much smoother pieces of wood! This tree was a maple, so the wood is very hard.

The average height of the Great Mother dolls is about 4 inches, but it does vary with some of the dolls.

If you wish to purchase one of the Great Mother dolls, please post a note in the comments and I will get back to you asap.

GREAT MOTHER: DREAMING OF PEACE (MOTHER AND CHILD)

GREAT MOTHER: HOSPITALITY:

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- “Grace”
Can you see how my tapestries influence the way I carve?

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- Holding Close

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- Water of Life

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- Dream of Greening

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- Rose Child

I have placed her on a fused glass piece that I recently designed and made, that is not for sale as it is going to become part of a larger piece.

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- Paradox

It can be challenging to live with paradox….

Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother- Forgive

The Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother Series has subsets –

One of the groupings that has emerged is the ‘Sisters and Aunties’

Here are the first 3…. Singing Together:

I love how they work together. I drew their shapes on the wood all at the same time, so it makes sense to me that they would form such a good trio.

The Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Great Mother Series – ‘Sisters and Aunties’

Great Mother Series – ‘Sisters and Aunties’ Bending, Not Broken

Great Mother Series – ‘Sisters and Aunties’ Courage

Great Mother Series – ‘Sisters and Aunties’ Dreams of Roses and Greening

GREAT MOTHER: Courage (Dreaming and Waking) 

MORE Vasilisa Comfort dolls that are available can be seen at LINK

and at  LINK

To see the larger Vasilisa Comfort Dolls, please click on LINK

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A collection of available Vasilisa Comfort Dolls Feb 2022

In my previous post, I showed photos of the Vasilisa Comfort Dolls that are Lucets and also some Vasilisa Comfort Dolls that were inspired by and an homage to the Orkney Venus. LINK

If you would like to buy one of the Vasilisa Comfort dolls please post a comment and I will get back to you asap. (your comment won’t be public)

THE GREAT MOTHER Vasilisa Comfort Dolls can be seen at LINK

To see the larger Vasilisa Comfort Dolls, please click on LINK

‘CHOICES’ Vasilisa Comfort Dolls:

Making decisions can be so challenging right now…. The Choices Vasilisa Comfort Doll is great at helping to make choices. ‘Yes’ on one side…. for a Wholly ‘Yes’
And, ‘No’ on the other…. for the Holy ‘No’……

HOME:

Listening for Wisdom, The Owl as Guide:

TOUCH THE EARTH:

Peace….

I carved these Vasilisa Comfort Dolls from Walnut to give them darker skin tones:

Vasilisa Comfort Doll (walnut) Singing a New Song
Vasilisa Comfort Doll (walnut) Mother and Child
Vasilisa Comfort Doll (walnut) Dream Guide

Vasilisa Comfort Doll (walnut) Storyteller/Storykeeper/Guardian of the Books
Vasilisa Comfort Doll (walnut) The Heart of Lovingkindness
This Vasilisa Comfort Doll is a necklace made with a beaded lucet cord. She has a tatted necklace around her neck, made with a tatting shuttle that I carved myself.

Vasilisa Comfort Doll Starbaby:

This group of Vasilisa Comfort Dolls is influenced by Goddess imagery:

Vasilisa Comfort Doll Serenity
Vasilisa Comfort Doll She Guides the Journey
Vasilisa Comfort Doll Dreaming Rabbit

This last group of Vasilisa Comfort Dolls is all about my love of flowers:

Vasilisa Comfort Doll Rosebud Inner Child
Vasilisa Comfort Doll Healing Laughter in the Blossom
Vasilisa Comfort Doll Protected by the Flowers

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AvailableVasilisa Comfort Dolls updated Feb 5 2022- Lucets and Orkney Venus

This past year has been the year of carving dolls for me.

Here is the first post about a collection of the Vasilisa Comfort Dolls that are currently available- please send me a note if you would like to adopt one.

MORE Vasilisa Comfort dolls that are available can be seen at LINK

THE GREAT MOTHER Vasilisa Comfort Dolls can be seen at LINK

To see the larger Vasilisa Comfort Dolls, please click on LINK

To see the explanation about how and why I have been carving the Vasilisa Comfort dolls, click this LINK

If you would like to buy one of the Vasilisa Comfort dolls please post a comment and I will get back to you asap. (your comment will not be listed publicly)

How to make cord with Vasilisa Comfort Doll Lucets: Here and Here

VASILISA COMFORT DOLLS THAT ARE LUCETS:

Healing– May all Beings be Well, May All Beings Everywhere Be Healed…..
This Vasilisa Comfort Doll Lucet is a prayer for all the animals that are suffering because of the war in Ukraine.

I have started a new series of Vasilisa Comfort Doll Lucets:

She’s the first in a series of Vasilisa dolls that I am calling: “I Hold this in my Heart”.

This first one was a challenge for me…..There is so much unhappiness in the world right now, that I was daunted to even suggest that we still need to hold happiness in our heart, but I am convinced that we do need to find happy moments each day.

I Hold This In My Heart: Happy

Hope is essential, isn’t it?

I Hold This In My Heart: HOPE

Vasilisa Comfort doll- The Gardener
Vasilisa Comfort doll- Flower Baby

THE QUEEN BEE AND LADYBUG LUCETS:

The Queen Bee with round black glasses is slightly larger than the Queen Bee with red glasses and the Ladybug is a tiny bit smaller than either Bee.

VASILISA COMFORT DOLLS INSPIRED BY THE ORKNEY VENUS:

Last summer, my daughter read about the Orkney Venus, an ancient, charming tiny stone figure found in an archeological dig in Scotland in 2009.

Here’s a link to an interesting article: LINK

I was so taken with the sweet little figure that I had to carve a series of Orkney Venus Vasilisa Comfort dolls. My homages to the Orkney Venus are bigger than the ancient original….

Orkney Venus Vasilisa Comfort doll with Rose and a pin on her back to wear as a shawl pin or on a hat, bag or lapel. 3 1/4 inches tall
Orkney Venus Vasilisa Comfort doll also with a pin on her back to wear her as a pin. 2 1/2 inches tall.
Orkney Venus Vasilisa Comfort doll Song of the Sea is 3 inches tall. (no pin on her back)
The smallest Orkney Venus Vasilisa Comfort doll has a small rose on her front and a spiral and larger rose on her back. She is 2 1/2 inches tall (no pin on her back)

MORE Vasilisa Comfort dolls that are available can be seen at LINK

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Carved Wooden Vasilisa Dolls by Noreen Crone-Findlay

(UPDATE: Many of the dolls in this post have sold. To see which of the Vasilisa Comfort Dolls are available,

please go to LINK 1 and LINK 2)

To see the larger Vasilisa Comfort Dolls, please click on LINK

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).

The Vasilisa dolls are all about 2 1/2 inches tall.
Just perfect to be embraced in your hand…. and held to your heart!

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. ❤

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Charlotte Mermaid

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.

But when she met the sweet Bunnymaids, she wasn’t shy at all, and she whispered to Bedelia that she likes them very much.

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!

Kate Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
KerryClaireJeanJon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, NancyDawn 2, Noreen,
Bear, Carol, Preeti and Edith

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Bedelia the Mermaid and where she came from

Once upon a time, there was a very, very old wooden bed frame.

It was so old that parts of it broke, and so it was taken apart and about to be thrown in the trash, when someone thought… wait… we know someone who makes things come to life again….

They gave the broken old bed frame to my son, who offered a piece of it to me:

It was very heavy old wood, which soon revealed itself to be exceedingly HARD… and I mean H.A.R.D wood!

I cut out 2 little mermaids from the former bed frame, wiggling around to try to deal with long notches, deep channels and bored out holes that large screws had once lived in.

I sanded the varnish off one set of mermaid blanks, and then remembered to take a picture of the ‘under construction’ stage… some of those scraps of wood are not useable for carving because they have hardware embedded.

Oh my word!  Carving the old hardwood was incredibly challenging, and there were a couple of nights when I was carving until the wee small hours.

I was so happy to finish carving Bedelia, but the incredible hardness and knife dulling properties of the wood made it oh so NOT fun to carve.

So, I am conducting an experiment:

Bedelia’s sister had a long lovely soak, which I hope will make the wood more carving friendly.

And now, oh, poor little mermaid!

She’s in the freezer, waiting for me to have enough time to carve her!

My fingers are crossed that I haven’t destroyed the wood with the soaking and the freezing,

and that I will be able to release the latent mermaid from her cryogenic state soon and more easily than Bedelia!

The next stage of bringing Bedelia to life was to burn and paint her Mermaid scales:

And then assemble her, making all her joints function:

Bedelia wanted to have some Mermaidly fun, so she went for a swim:

Which was a lot of fun, but very tiring, so she came back and relaxed in the studio.

Tottie Tomato went and made Bedelia a lovely cup of tea.

But she was still cold from the wild waves, so I went rummaging through the box of threads that I inherited from my Mother.

And crocheted a lace shawl for Bedelia.

She’s very happy and is looking forward to meeting all the other dolls in the studio.

She is  hopeful that I will get to carving her poor icy sister, very soon!

I hope so, too… but the studio has been a busy place lately, the icy mermaid will have to fit in with the other magic that is being stirred up!

I am so pleased to now be part of a lovely blogging group: Scrap Happy,  that was begun 6 years ago by Kate Chiconi and her friend, Gun, in Sweden.

The Scrap Happy bloggers all post once a month on the 15th about the wonderful things that they are creating from scraps of this and that, and none of it new….

please check out their blog posts, too.   😀

Kate Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
KerryClaireJeanJon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, NancyDawn 2, Noreen,
Bear and Carol

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