Making Spirit Companion art dolls goes through a specific kind of process unlike many of the other pieces I make. Those of you who have been in their physical presence know that they are more than actual physical materials. I don’t really know why I’m able to infuse them with spirit and a presence other than it’s a gift I was born with.
My parents were so overwhelmed by all the many responsibilities and emotional ordeals of life that they didn’t really have much time for me in my childhood years. When I made my first doll at 8 years old, I totally loved it as though it was a breathing living creature. I carried her everywhere and eventually my parents started nagging me about putting her away. They said I was too grown up for dolls. This created quite a dilemma for me as I was able to feed myself love and companionship through this doll. Much like many other deeply spiritual and fulfilling experiences I was having at the time, I decided not to obey my parents completely, but to keep the magical connections and hide them. Eventually, I did put my beloved doll, Suzy aside, however; she lives with me still.
Fast forward many years to a time after my husband died in 1990. Once again I connected to making creatures albeit much smaller and in a different form. I started sculpting little beings out of polymer clay. By little I mean around an 1 ½” tall. I incorporated them into necklaces and small wall hangings. Even then I was receiving very interesting feedback from people who had purchased the tiny creatures. Often they would inform me that the creature connected them to special times and special places in their lives. In all instances the creatures brought them a sense of well being and connection.
Also, right around the time my husband passed away, I discovered Kachina dolls. I was totally fascinated by them and began to educate myself about what they are and how they were used in the cultures they came from. I thought to myself, “Wow, I want to do that!”. Let me be clear that I did NOT want to copy them, but only to create a doll that carried archetypes, healing, and significant symbolism. At that time, I had not realized that I was already doing that.
The more I planned, designed, and worked from a specific idea for a doll, the more stressful the project became. Their magic got lost in my trying to make something flawless and as good as other art dolls I had encountered. Those days were great in that I learned a lot about technique and fabrication. The best way to learn is to practice, create, make. If you love doing it, the years fly by.
As I taught myself how to make more complex art dolls, I began to understand that the frame of mind I’m in while working is where the magic comes from. When I am centered, calm, and able to focus on the joy of creating, my creatures come to life. I don’t make them to show off my skills or to copy other artists ideals. I’m not trying to duplicate what is already present in the physical world. I make them because when I do so, I feel most like myself. Funny how I feel most like myself when my ego is most quiet.
When my thoughts are focused on what certain materials feel like in my hands, or how one piece fits with another piece, or how an eye is shaped, I’m not thinking about me, how good I am or how bad I am. I’m completely in the present moment. It is through that trance in the present moment that spirit flows through my hands.
About 10 years ago I decided to go more deeply into my process by making intentions before working. Intentions are basically prayers. I would ask that the energy of unconditional love flow through my hands, into the physical creation, and then out to whoever benefits from it most. Intentions are powerful! There’s always creations ready to come through me. My intention is that this joyful exercise in my life serves the greater good.