Tag Archives: doll making

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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Larger Vasilisa Comfort Dolls

I have been carving a series of dolls that are intended to bring comfort, inspiration and delight.

I call them, Vasilisa Comfort Dolls. They began as very small dolls but the series has branched out in several directions:

Small Vasillisa Comfort Dolls LINK

Vasilisa Comfort Dolls: Great Mother Series: LINK

Vasilisa Comfort Dolls that are Lucet Cord makers: LINK

These Vasilisa Comfort dolls are larger than the original ones….

This photo gives a sense of the size difference:

ARCH SHAPE VASILISA COMFORT DOLLS

HELPING HANDS:

In gratitude for all ways that people help one another. 3 1/2 inches/9 cm tall

THE BLESSING CUP: SOLD

about 3 inches/ 8 cm tall

“Being a Mother and Being a Daughter”

about 3 inches/ 8 cm tall

SWEET DREAMS:

about 5 inches/12.5 cm tall

A BLESSING FOR THE CHILD

about 5 inches/12.5 cm tall

AND THIS GROUP OF LARGE VASILISA COMFORT DOLLS HAVE JOINTED ARMS:

“Sunflower Song” We’ll never see Sunflowers in the same way again, will we? Praying for Peace in Ukraine and an end to the invasion

about 5 inches/12.5 cm tall

ROSIE:

about 5 inches/12.5 cm tall

BUTTERFLY DREAMS

I did the tatting, using shuttles that I carved myself. She’s about 5 inches/12.5 cm tall

DREAM CHILD

about 5 inches/12.5 cm tall (GLASS BACKGROUND NOT INCLUDED)

SURPRISE and her BABY

Surprise was a fascinating doll to create…. she kept taking me in new directions…. including wanting a baby…..

With her hat, Surprise is almost 8 inches/20 cm tall

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PURCHASING ONE OR MORE OF THESE DOLLS, PLEASE LEAVE ME A NOTE IN THE COMMENTS (IT WON’T BE PUBLISHED) AND I WILL GET BACK TO YOU ASAP

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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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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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How to make lucet cord with the Bee and Ladybug Vasilisa Doll lucets

In my previous post, LINK, I showed how to make lucet cord with the Vasilisa Comfort Dolls that have peg legs.

There are also links to a whole slew of videos that I have made about what to make with lucet cord in that post.

I have made another video tutorial that shows how to make lucet cord with the Bee and Ladybug Vasilisa Doll lucets that I design and make.

Here’s the for the video:

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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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Learning to love the surprises when carving wooden dolls

I absolutely love carving wooden dolls, and have learned that the dolls have ways of taking me in unexpected directions while I am carving them.

This little bunny was carved from upcycled maple wood- a huge tree in our neighbourhood was cut down and we were given enormous chunks of the trunk.

I knew that a bunny was waiting to be carved from the wood,

but didn’t expect her to insist on a different body than I initially carved….

and then to want to go back to her original body once I had done more carving on it.

This lead me to make some changes and now, there are 2 rabbits, where once there was just one….

I was VERY surprised by this new rabbit, and am delighted with the ideas that she has brought with her!

Luckily, ‘Maple’ Bunny and ‘Surprise Rabbit’ are the best of friends:

I’ve made a tiny video that is all about going with the flow when creating one of a kind wooden dolls.

It also has a slide show showing the step by step process of carving a Maple Bunny’s head.

I hope that you have some lovely surprises and not unwelcome ones!

Take good care ❤

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Taking the Scenic Route with My Carving

When my husband and I talk about ‘taking the scenic route’, what we are really saying is:

“Well, that certainly didn’t go the way I expected it to, but we/I/it  ~’got there’~  in the end!”.

Several of my carvings did that this past week.

For instance, I was convinced that one particular little piece of  upcycled birch wood

(‘upcycled’ because it came from a tree that died and was cut down, but didn’t go to the landfill, and this piece didn’t go into the fire)

wanted to be a Panda bear Spoon Doll.

I drew a Panda bear with a heart.

I sat down and started carving.

A Panda bear…..

which, after several hours of carving, finally pointed out to me that,

really, all it wanted was for me to finally twig to the fact that it is a Kitten.

Sigh.   She made herself heard… eventually!

And, so, she became a Ginger Kitten with Mittens, Thank you very much.

Thank goodness there was just enough wood to make sure that she had a perfectly question mark shaped tail.

Now, every time I look at her and turn her over in my hand, where she fits so sweetly,

I feel very happy.

Another little carving – a Hug Sister Spoon Doll let me know that I had totally missed the boat on her face and hair.

I was puzzled and twitchy about what was going on with her.

The face that I had painted on her was just so NOT her!

I’m not going to post a pic of the ‘wrong’ face, because it was wrong.

I thought and thought about her, then had an ‘aha’ .

I  went to the studio did  something else entirely different than the ‘aha’ to give her the face she wanted.

Isn’t that often the way?

I did what felt right, though, and was thrilled that, indeed – it WAS right!

She finally looks like she is supposed to!

Yay!

I rushed off to show her to my husband

and did a little happy dance

and he joined me in the happy dance and

that made us both happy 🙂

(We are possibly the world’s WORST dancers, but that doesn’t stop us from doing little dances together in the kitchen

almost every day, and laughing and thanking goodness that no one can see us).

So, anyhow, this little Hug Sister Spoon Doll brought a little happiness into the world,

and that’s a good thing, I do believe.

And, the other day, I noticed that the ‘Kindness’ Spoon Doll had a problem.

I had written the words: ‘The Small Book of Kindness’ on her little book with permanent fine Sharpie,

and, oh, no! The walnut oil that I used to finish her had eaten the words…. they had faded from the cover of the book.

Eep.

So, with great trepidation, I used my wood burner to burn the words onto the cover, and was enormously relieved

that the whole thing didn’t explode or catch fire- what with all the coats of walnut oil soaked into her!

Unfortunately, it’s much messier than the  original words were. Sigh.

I also had been troubled by the heart looking more like a dagger than a kind and loving heart, so I re-carved it.

Now it’s softly rounded and kindly shaped heart. Whew. That’s better.

The Scenic Route.

Sometimes, it takes a few ‘goes’ to get to the place that feels just right.

Some people  think that getting it wrong is a disaster.

Nope.  It’s essential to be willing to take chances and see if something works.

If it doesn’t, then trying again

and again

until it does.

It’s a challenging and interesting path to follow, but it’s a good one.

Here’s to the Scenic Route!  It makes life so rich and interesting!

My week has been full of other ‘Scenic Route’ carving, but more about them, later.

Be well! Be safe, and be kind….

 

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A Yarn Baby Doll that Hugs Your Finger

Today, I figured out how to make a Yarn Baby (Yarn Tassel Doll) that hugs your finger like the Comfort Bears.

We all need a little extra comfort these days, so having a small yarn doll in your pocket to give you a hug when ever you need it is a good idea!

Take good care of yourselves!

Here’s the how to video

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Teneriffe Lace Weave Along Fairy Hair

In my last post, I showed how to make a Teneriffe Lace Fairy.

The video got so long that I decided to make the ‘Hair making’ video separately.

And, so, here’s the video showing how to make the hair for the Teneriffe Lace Fairies 🙂

The links for all the videos in the Teneriffe Lace Weave Along is   L I N K

 

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