Tag Archives: wooden dolls

Carved Wooden Spoon Wooden Dolls Hearts and Flowers 2

In my previous post, I showed you the little sister of this wooden spoon wooden doll- Springtime LINK 

Her big sister is also a celebration of flowers and hearts and love …

Flora is in love with flowers-

and dreams of them, night and day

She has a Compass Rose to help guide her by the Sun and Moon:

Her heart shape spoon is extra large to help her gather and carry and share a whole lot of love and beauty.

When I was carving her, I was sure that there was a poem that was supposed to accompany her.

Sure enough, when I had finished the carving,

I went to bed, wondering what poem it was that she wanted me to burn on the back….

As I drifted off to sleep, this little haiku popped into my head,

so I jumped out of bed and wrote it down.

I burned it onto her, first thing the next morning.

Here is the poem:

“In the Seed

The Flower waits

Birthing

the Universe”. …………

May all your seeds and flowers give blossom and birth all manner of beauty in your life!

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Carved Wooden Spoon Wooden Dolls Hearts and Flowers 1

I have fallen in love with carving flowers on my wooden spoon wooden dolls.

Nowadays, I carve the wooden spoon part of my wooden dolly spoons in the shape of a heart, to symbolize gathering and sharing love and kindness.

This  Hearts and Flowers Sister is about 6 inches/15 cm tall and is a celebration of the river and the ocean and flowers and butterflies and dragonflies:.

To be honest, she’s also about dreaming of much much gentler weather than we are experiencing right now.

We have had a brutally long ferociously cold spell of winter, and I am so longing for Springtime, and for flowers to be in bloom

instead of blistering icy cold shattering winds!

I miss the ocean, and it’s so cold that I am not even going out to say hello to the river, even though we live close to it.

so I carved  flowers as a love song to the flowers and waves for my longing to walk along the ocean’s shore:

It has been such a long time since the dragonflies danced in our neighbourhood

and of course, the butterflies are cozy in their cocoons, dreaming of springtime…

Seriously…. Springtime, I am longing for you!

I carved ‘Springtime’s Sister and the next blog post is all about her. LINK

 

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How Fairy Tales Influence My Work

I love the fairy tale, ‘Vasilisa The Fair’, which is a Russian story of a feisty and stalwart young woman with the usual cast of troublesome characters… miserable step mother and step sisters etc’ with the astonishing Baba Yaga thrown in to boot.

I discovered the story more than 45 years ago in a gorgeous version that was told by Alexander Pushkin and illustrated with gobsmackingly exquisite pattern and color play by Ivan Bilibin.

The part that I have always loved the most in the fairy tale is that Vasilisa’s mother wanted to embody her love and feelings of protection for her daughter

when she knew that she was dying and grieving the leaving of her child.

So, she made Vasilisa a small doll that carried all her love for Vasilisa, and became a mentor and guide.

The little doll that the loving mother made was a living blessing for her beloved child that she had to leave too soon.

In my workshops on dollmaking as a healing art, I have always told the story of Vasilisa and her mother making the blessing doll.

I invited participants to make a doll that would represent Vasilisa’s doll for them.

So that’s my history of Vasilisa’s doll….

A few weeks ago, I shared a photo of a  Comfort Doll that I named: Middle Sister, to a dollmaking group on Facebook that focuses on healing dolls.

This dolly spoon is one that insisted on me ‘getting her right’, and  I wrote about that process HERE 

The moderator of the group said that the Middle Sister doll made her think of Vasilisa’s doll,

which hadn’t occurred to me as I was thinking that I was being influenced by the  thousands of Comfort Bears that I have woven, knitted and crocheted over the past 20+ years.

But, the moderator’s comment gave me a   H.U.G.E   ‘AHA’

Yes! indeed!

I felt that this little doll, who was the third in my ‘Comfort Doll’ series

was VERY much an homage to that wonderful energy of  Vasilisa’s doll.

Here are the first 2 dolls in their original state:

I had been feeling that these 2 dolls were not finished… they needed to be painted… which I struggled with,

because I had been wrestling with adding color and somehow thinking that it was against the rules,

(Huh? What rules? Who made them? um… I did… oh)

And, so I jumped into the wonderful fairy tale energy of color and pattern, and re-imagined these two little dolls:

Big Sister:

and Little Sister:

And, NOW, they are truly what they are supposed to be!  Hurrah!

The Three Sisters have been joined by 2 more Vasilisa Comfort Dolls:

I was processing having seen 2 heart wrenching documentaries about grim realities in the world,

and that sorrow flowed out into this Comfort Doll:

Her name is: Vasilisa Comfort Doll: She Stood at the Lake of Sorrow.

I tried to lift some of the sorrow from her face, but she said not to do that….

to acknowledge the sorrow but reach for the beauty.

So I did.

And, the latest little Vasilisa Doll is part of a series of carved wooden dolls that are also spoons,

that I am carving flowers into.

We live in a winter world here in Western Canada, and I am longing for flowers!

So I am carving them!

This is Vasilisa Comfort Doll: Sweet Little Flower:

Carving out space to honor the sorrow and reach for the Beauty,

as well as the longing for flowers is very much a Vasilisa thing to do,

so, I believe that this is how a fairy tale percolates through my mind,

and influences my work as an artist.

Oh yes, one more thing: The Vasilisa Comfort Dolls have Heart shape spoons as essential elements of them,

which is a powerful metaphor for me about gathering the love,

and stirring up healing and empowering energy.

I think that Vasilisa’s mother would approve.

What fairy tale stirs your soul?

 

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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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Carving Spoon Dolls as a Way to Make Sense of the World

I have been pondering and mulling and thinking and feeling and questioning and reeling from world events.

To soothe and heal the stress and anguish that watching the unfolding of the dramas out in the world,

I have been using the power of metaphor and the physical process of carving my wooden spoon dolls.

to start to make sense of things, I felt like I needed to re-connect to nature.

Immersing myself in carving wood that has come from trees that lived and then died in our neighborhood is a powerful way of connecting to the energy of the earth, the stars, the rain, the sun, the snow….

I began last week’s carving with a Tree Spirit Spoon Doll…

As I was carving her, I realized that from now on, all the bowls of my spoon dolls need to be heart shaped-

They are invocations of Love.

Carving images of love and connection made me think a lot about sisterhood and how precious dear friends are.

These two little Sister Spoons were directly influenced by all the thousands of Comfort Bears that I have made over the years.

I wondered if I could combine the softness of lucet cord handspun (alpaca and wool) yarn with the solidity of wood to create

‘Comfort Sisters’.

The answer is, ‘Yes’…..

Our neighbors on both sides have babies and toddlers and I love watching them blossom.

I want them to grow up in a world that is in much better shape than it is now.

I want them to live in a world where people are kind!

So, this Spoon Doll is dedicated to the Little Ones, who deserve to have the Book of Kindness being a guidebook for everyone.

 

I was thinking about accountability and responsibility and the image of a very firm, loving, but ‘Listen Here!” Granny

who laid out a couple of really important rules and guidelines emerged.

 

As I was carving her, I loved the feeling of the gouge lifting petals of wood up,

and the feeling of ‘Yes-ness’ about working with a precious material that is a living thing- the lifestuff of trees.

 

Trees are ancient and don’t need rules the way people seem to….

Here are Granny’s Rules:

 

I have had so many powerful and wonderful conversations with friends and family this week about the healing power of making art.

That has been such a restorative thing for my soul.

I ended this week’s carving with thoughts about how we are all made of stardust,

and that we are part of a much greater cosmos than we can ever imagine, but we need to try to remember to imagine that,

and so much more….

So, I carved another Starbaby (with lovely Chokecherry wood)

as a reminder of our roots in Source energy,

and also as a reminder to myself of a dream that I had more than 35 years ago-

In the dream, the Northern Lights filled the sky, and

thousands of laughing, chortling, squealing with delight, Starbabies

slid and tumbled down to earth, bringing incredible joy and goodness with them.

May they continue to do so!

Here’s to Goodness! ❤

 

 

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Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam Wooden Dolls

I have loved wooden dolls all my life and have made many, many of them throughout my life.

More than 20 years ago, I began a series of flat wooden dolls that I called: ‘Merrie Sunshine’.

I’ve worked with Merrie Sunshine off and on for all these years, but until the pandemic unfolded, it didn’t occur to me to make a mermaid sister for Merrie Sunshine.

I’ve been working on larger articulated wooden mermaids and it was these dolls that brought Merrie Sunshine to mind,

and then inspired me to give Merrie Sunshine a mermaid sister.

Here are Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam with my most recent wooden mermaid (the inspiration for all this)

I asked Donna and Gary McFarland of Dewberry Ridge Looms if they would be interested in making

unpainted, unfinished Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam dolls that people would then be able

to make uniquely their own.

They said that they would, and so here are what the dolls look like fresh out of the envelope from Donna and Gary:

MERRIE SUNSHINE: LINK TO ORDER from Dewberry Ridge Looms

and

MINNIE MOONBEAM MERMAID: LINK TO ORDER from Dewberry Ridge Looms 

I have made 4 videos that show how to paint or color or decoupage the dolls to make them uniquely your own and how to stitch the dolls together

LINKS TO “HOW TO ASSEMBLE AND EMBELLISH MERRIE SUNSHINE AND MINNIE MOONBEAM DOLLS’

PART 1- How to’s for the Face, Hair and all kinds of things:

 

PART 2- More Embellishing 

 

PART 3- How to use Washi tape and origami paper to dress the dolls:

 

PART 4- How to stitch the dolls together:

Here’s a little inspiration for the Merrie Sunshine Dolls”

and a glimpse of how I have embellished some Minnie Moonbeam Mermaid dolls:

And, dolls need clothes, right?

So, I have designed an eBook of CROCHETED DOLL clothes for Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam

Available in my etsy shop- LINK

AND  a book of KNITTED DOLL CLOTHES for Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam

Available  in my etsy shop at LINK

AND a book of Doll Clothes WOVEN ON THE 2 INCH PIN LOOM

Available  in my etsy shop  LINK

 

Here is the link to the  facebook group for the Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam dolls  LINK  🙂

How to make Tutus for Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam:

 

How to make shawls and other wraps for Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam:

Watch this page for more links to fun things for Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam.  😀

I hope that Merrie Sunshine and Minnie Moonbeam will bring you as much joy as they have brought me! ❤

 

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Wooden and Woven Dolls for Christmas

Recently, I had a lovely conversation with my darlin’ grandson.

He said to me: ‘Nanma, I LOVE your dolls.  Will you make me one for Christmas?’

I was thrilled that he is pleased with my work and that he wanted me to make him a doll for Christmas.

What an awesome 7 year old he is!

I asked him if he wanted a wooden one or a woven one, and I was convinced that he said, ‘Wooden’….

So, I stayed up very, very late one night, and got up early, to carve him a wooden doll:

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I used a birch branch from our son’s neighbour’s tree.  It’s been drying for a year and a half and is lovely to carve.

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Tottie Tomato cheered me on as I carved.

She comforted the new doll, because she knows that the knives, chisels and sandpaper are very uncomfortable, and that paint brushes tickle….

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After he was done, and I had knitted his sweater and jeans, Tottie Tomato and New Boy went to hang a few ornaments on the tree in the village.

Something was feeling not quite right….

I thought: I have to check and see if Grandson actually said that he wanted a wooden doll…..

So, I asked him which dolls he loved?

Wooden or the woven art dolls?

We were out at a concert of his Grampa’s music, so I sketched the shape of the 6th Sense art dolls in the air.

YES! he said, firmly!

THOSE are the ones I love!

Oh oh….

I asked him to draw in the air and show me what shape he had in mind.

Yup….. Woven Women 6th Sense art dolls, and NOT 6 inch tall wooden dolls….

oops.

He specified that he wanted it soft to cuddle and that it had to wear black shoes.

I asked him to draw exactly what he wanted…..

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He held his hands up in the air and showed me the size.

So…………………………

I have been weaving up a storm…………….  well, a doll, along with a few other things……

I used the tapestry weaving technique to weave the body front, and plain weave for the back.

I did a clasped warp technique for the arms and legs to make the color changes work for the arms and legs.

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I hope that he approves of how I interpreted his design!

I hadn’t thought of making him a doll for Christmas, so I am incredibly grateful that he asked.

And, because I didn’t get the brief right first time around, our little sweetheart gets TWO dolls, not one!

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For now, they are chilling out by the Village Christmas tree, enjoying themselves in knitted armchairs that I designed for Findlay and Flora Bear.

The pattern for the chairs is in my etsy shop:

LINK

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I can’t bear to wrap them until the last moment, so I will have a chance to enjoy them, too!

Merry Christmas, Happy Channukah, Happy Solstice, Happy Yule, Happy EVERYTHING to you and yours!

Love and blessings all round.

May 2017 bring Peace, Wisdom and Compassion!

 

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6th Sense One of a Kind Art Doll- Tree Mother

Last month, when there was a spectacular Super Moon, we stepped outside to admire it.

The gigantic moon looked like it was suspended in the huge trees that line our street.

The image of the Great Tree Mother, rocking the Moon in her arms, rose up in my mind….

and I knew that I had to build one of my 6th Sense one of a kind art dolls.

Here she is:

Great Tree Mother Rocked The Moon in Her Arms:

6th-sense-tree-mother-rocked-the-moon-in-her-arms-1-c

While I was contemplating how to build the Great Tree Mother piece, my husband and our daughter took the dogs for a walk one morning.

Chloe came home with a wonderfully gnarly branch that had been pruned from someone’s tree and tossed into the alley.

She just knew I needed it…. even though, at that point, I hadn’t told her what I was mulling about 🙂

We have a very deep connection!

It is perfect.

So’s our daughter….

Anyhow…

The faces….

Years ago, my dear friend found a moose antler that had been shed and she asked me if I could use it.

I cut 3 faces from it, and carved them and painted them.

Two of them became part of this piece:

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Tree Mother’s face.

She also has a ‘Hidden Face’ that is hidden inside the piece and will never be revealed.

Too bad I didn’t photograph it!  Oops…

Here is Moon’s face:

6th-sense-tree-mother-rocked-the-moon-in-her-arms-3-c

I carved the hand from wood.

I wove the bands on 2 different looms and knitted the grey hand spun cloth of her robe.

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All of the 6th Sense Woven Women have 6 pennies incorporated into them, as a metaphor for coming to our senses, and embracing intuition, intelligence and inspiration.

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She is 29 inches/72.5 cm  tall and the branch spreads out to 15 inches/37.5 cm wide.

She is not for sale.

By the way, she is also a celebration of creative adaptive re-use and upcycling.  I love that.

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Wooden Doll Pauline meets a London Goose

Yesterday, Miranda,  Siobhan, Coco and Thallie were wondering about their friend Pauline, who has moved to London with her Human…..

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They were thrilled when Pauline’s  Person kindly  sent photos of Pauline’s outing in one of the parks in London.

Pauline began with a little exploring:

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and then ambled off to the pond, where she caught the eye of a Canada Goose:

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Hmmm… Small Person, do you have food?

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Are you potentially a meal?

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Neither.   You are a disappointment to me.

All Pauline photographs are copyright Kennie Wittebrood and are used with her permission.

 

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Story Door Dolls- Coco loves music

Tiny Coco loves music:

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She was so excited to go to see Jim and Michael playing last week:

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She enjoyed telling Miranda, Siobhan, Thallie and Pupster all about it:

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Miranda and Coco chatted about how much they love music:

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While Siobhan told Thallie about her adventures at the Symphony:

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They all agreed that they enjoy getting out to a good concert.

Miranda sighed, and said that she hasn’t been anywhere interesting lately.

They all gazed at the tiny vintage postcards a friend in England sent them last year:

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And wondered how  Great Traveler Pauline is enjoying herself in London…..

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