Friday, September 30, 2016

Emerging from the Cocoon...Part 2

I want to share with you this part of my journey of transition from where I was to who I am today. I have done the work and am well into my "new" life, so it is easy for me to look back with all wholeness, with no regrets. I am thankful for each and every hard earned step that brought me to my life as it is now- happy!

Plato's Allegory of the Cave...

What?? you say!
During my time of transition, I found that there where many things that I could relate to and see a connection from who I was to who I am at present.

One of the things that I found soulfully and at times mournfully fulfilling was music. I came across a song called the The Cave by Mumford and Sons...

And I'll find strength in pain

And I will change my ways

I'll know my name as it's called again.

While sharing this with (most incredible therapist) Mary..she said that is based on the Allegory of Plato's Cave..and yes, my turn...What??

So, of course I had to find out more..I just LOVE life and how it can speak to us and make us grow!!

Basically, it is that there are people (prisoners) chained to a wall in the cave. They can only see what is in front of them - shadows from behind cast by a fire. They think this 2 dimensional world is THE WORLD. 

One day a prisoner breaks free and comes out the cave to see the world as it is- as it can be. He is initially blinded by the sunlight but adapts.
He comes back to tell the others of his discovery, but when he enters the dark cave he cannot see after being in the sunlight. His people think that he has been cursed and will not listen to him.

My Summary:

How can someone understand what you have been through if they have not themselves been through something similar!??
BUT there are others who will relate and there is a new found bond, that I find personally incredible!

or here

So...follow me here...
My transition was a way of looking at things differently...I found that it is how I perceive my world around me...

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again.

...doing the work internally-emotionally to understand myself better and therefore understand the world better and who I am...and who and what fits into my world now.

So to the dolls...
I knew that I wanted to create pieces that spoke of transition and of emergence. I initially, thought of too perfect to pretty...I thought I have been through a hard time and I have some singed edges...and some dust on me...but I can fly!

Moths...of course! 
As you well know, I have to know the symbolism if what I wanted to're going to love this!!

“We gather these symbolic attributes because night creatures conduct their life-sustaining activities in complete darkness.

As humans, we may translate this as symbolic of living our lives by intuitive feeling rather than physical sensory perception.
Philosophically speaking, night creatures do not tumble in the dark, and neither do humans. We use our dreams, our awareness, and our deeper, inner knowing to navigate through the darkest hours of our lives.

Faith is another tool we use to move through shadowy times of uncertainty, and the moth also shares this aspect. The moth never questions provision. She has complete faith that all of her needs will be meet each night.

Bingo! There it is again- that connection, knowing by my gut what I was to create and the confirmation (faith) that I was on the right track!

I knew that I was going to make my smaller dolls that are more fragile and graceful in stature. I knew that I wanted them to be Japanese and that the kimonos were to be their cocoon. you well know I love doing the research:

Beautiful Cocoons of Moths:

Now for the fabric. I chose cheese cloth to mimic that beautiful texture of the cocoon. I dyed it several times to achieve the varied coloring.

I tried sewing it on it's own but it just fell apart. I realized that it needed to be lined so I hand-dyed dupioni silk to be a reflective underlining.
What struck me the most was the feel of the finished kimono, it actually felt like a cocoon!

This is a series of three dolls. I will cover one a week.
Photography: Alan Rodriguez Villalobos
Custom made stools : Gary Leitch
All three dolls in a private collection

Tiger Moth is the master of disguise and reminds us to be aware that we could be hiding from ourselves. Are we using our emotions to keep ourselves hidden from others? The Tiger Moth transforms emotional energy away from drama and into something closer to the heart. They symbolize having faith in the journey and trust that although things seem to be complicated right now – it will eventually see the light. It reminds us to use our heart to guide us.

In this series, each doll's kimono is closely the same, it is in their facial expression and wings that they differ. Of the same group yet different...still sisters.

Each set of wings are made from vintage kimono fabrics. I find it very spiritual that the right fabric is always is the right symbolism!

Side note: When researching the moth versus butterfly wings, I found that each open very differently. Butterflies close and open their wings up and down while moth tuck and open their wings from their back...just another one of those things to make this all work so beautifully. I believe that these moth wings could also be interpreted as the bow of the obi!

Below: Top wings of Tiger Moth.

 (right) sewn with added quilting around each segment and (left) with hand embroidery.

Back view
 Spread with interior view
 Top view

Close ups:
Hand sculpted head of DAS clay with overlay of silk crepe.
Moths differ from butterflies in their antennae, in that moths have 
feathery ones where butterflies have wire-y antennae.
Again, I feel a perfect connection in creating the Moth Series. 
 Tiger Moth's hair is of tussah silk that I hand dyed with a 
black acid dye to create the deepest black.
I usually use a mohair silk blend for my wigging but 
wanted a much more earthly-organic feel.
Close up of hands and pants.
Close up of obi- Japanese vintage kimono fabric 
overlaid with the hand-dyed cheese cloth to give 
a continuity to the feel of the cocoon.
Wing detail of hand-embroidery
Underside of wing
depicting the quilting effect
Shoes of silk
Underside of sole- silk

Tiger Moth

Next Week:

Ghost Moth

Monday, September 12, 2016

Emerging from the Cocoon...Part 1

It has been some time since I have written my blog. I have had quite a journey getting to this place and have come out looking back at my trials as true blessings.

I am grateful for where and who I am today.
I have grown greatly with the help of incredible dear people in my life.

Have I emerged a new person? Perhaps, I am a person that has integrated those loose parts of me that faced the challenges into one better person who has some nicks but much better compassion towards others and hopefully, more wisdom...

As an artist, I feel it is part of my soul's experiences, to take these experiences and translate them into my work.

At this year's 2016 NIADA Conference I was ask to be the keynote speaker. Susan Scogin had definite ideas of where she wanted this presentation to take the audience. We spoke quite in depth about the deeper meanings of being an artist and how to inspire others through their emotions and feelings to extend inwards and using this in their art.

So over the next month or so, I will share with you my presentation in this limited forum...The one thing that I thought was (and still is) interesting is the difference in not only the dolls but also in the photography of the two very talented photographers!

I started with my Four Seasons Dolls as follows...and in later postings transition into my Moth Dolls.

·       I found that we don’t create reality, it just is but it is our response to that reality that we create our world that we live in.

·       I also discovered that how I responded to each part of my journey was directly related to distinct parts of my being and that I was able to see a connection to my art as the Four Seasons.

Winter ~ Snow Flower

 When one was about to give up hope that the cold winter would never end, an angel spirit appeared, transformed some of the snowflakes into snowdrop flowers, proving that winter eventually gives way to spring. This simple little flower is a symbol of transformation, hope, purity and consolation. life everything is cyclical...everything has a season...everything changes.

·       My dear Dad said "Nothing is permanent except for change".

·       In our own lives, we may be in the midst of a coldness and even perhaps deep darkness, but as time wears on a light will appear within the darkness.

·       A light that will bring forth hope and calmness in knowing that nothing is permanent.

·       I found the more I reached for that beauty, the more I found the balance that was so needed at that time.

·       Hope does not come naturally us humans, we must practice at it.

Spring ~  Delicate Blossom 
New blossoms symbolize feminine beauty, grace, gentility, and happiness. Pink blossoms convey youth, innocence, and joy. It is the end of difficult period and the beginning of a new Life cycle. 

Spring...a fresh start...a new blossom.
·       I find that in our hearts, Spring can happen anytime, in any season, after any life changing or challenging event.  

·       We have all heard the words of Spring sweep out or get rid of the unwanted.

·       I fell that it important to integrate these things that have touched or tortured my heart.

·       They became a part of me and now I could start spring forth with new knowledge of what makes us- us.

·       Spring forth with those new blossoms of wisdom and grace to learn more about me and who I am without restrictions.

 Summer ~ Plum Rain
Summer, in most climates, is the warmest of most seasons. The sun is a warming presence, so it heats up our passions, our desires, and warms our hearts to the potential that we may bring to our life.

In China, the rainy season kicks in across southern and eastern regions. The rains are nicknamed the plum rains for the season when the blossoms ripen into fruit.

·       This was the time when I was able to feel safe enough to start to feel things emotionally, to shed tears of things that I never was able to have in my childhood or as an adult.

·       I was becoming a woman, I was growing and I was stronger within myself.

Autumn ~ Beautiful Haven 
Chinese lantern flowers symbolism - they have an endearing and joyful emblem of warmth. Given that these flowers enfold and defend the small, delicate fruit buried within their husks, they may be the perfect symbol for protection. Their fiery orange red hue denotes a passion for life, amiability, endurance and vitality.

During this part of my journey, I felt fragile, exposed, and felt that I needed some emotional protection. I researched many different things that bloom in China in the fall and this is what I found... the Chinese Lantern... protection and also lantern as light to lead the way.

·       Through my challenging life’s journey, I found that I was finally able to let things go.

·       By letting go I was now able create a new beauty even in the most challenging times. I was able create my own life…my own haven.

·       It has been an incredible time of learning so much about myself and who I am.

Next week: Transition

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year...New Life

I normally tend to stay away from very personal things going on in my life...My goal has always been to inspire and bring some bit of joy to your lives through my work.

As we have stepped into this new year, I feel an importance to share lessons that I have experienced over the last couple years of deep personal struggles.

We go through life and it does change...most of the time at best we stumble and at worst we are face down in the dirt, bloody, and wounded. With help we are able to get back up and start walking again...and with great personal introspection the possibility to take flight.

I have found that my struggles have had a profound change within me. My life as it was, will change and my journey, to date, has unfolded to a beautiful future that I will be able to create.

I would like to share some of my stages, so far, with you, in hopes that if you are in a challenge this may bring you comfort or those who are not- inspiration.


When we are initially faced with a life challenge, we are in shock and really deny that it is even happening. The fog sets in.

We stumble, we fall, even have knee-jerk reactions.
We are tired.

Choice to lie down or stand Up

At this point, we can be defeated...or we can choose to stand up and grind our way through it.
We have a choice..we do.
We are responsible for our own happiness....our own destiny.

We put on our heavy armor.
We find the courage and strength we never knew we had to carry on. 

Facing the Demons

At this point we need the armor. I am so fortunate to have tremendous help in facing the challenges. To fight, walk, or crawl through experience all they are putting out. In retrospect, I can profoundly say that you have to face them head on. It is the only way to get through them and heal. You will find out more about yourself than you could ever realize. You are strong and you are not perfect. That is the balance.

The Fight up the Cliff

It is a hard, hard process. For me it was climbing up a cliff, many times just hanging on but I was not alone...that is the need someone there to help you hang on and navigate the terrain.
Someone to grab your hand when you believe you just can't pull yourself up one more time.

Gaining Wisdom 

As you go through this process, you will gain wisdom and that gives you incredible understanding of life and choices you have made and are making.  You are able to get up over the cliff and stand there..maybe even seeing your future way off in the distance. At this time, I still had some clouds hanging over my head but was able to see the sun ahead, still fully aware that the land in front of me held many bumps.
(altered) photo- SM Bukhar

Shedding the Armor

And now, I am standing strong with moments of weak shaking legs. I am able to shed my armor but still carry my trusted sword (my wisdom).

The interesting thing about shedding your armor, now you feel everything, but not in a tragic way. You are able to feel the happiness as well as the sorrows without letting them define you. They are part of life and you have learned from them and appreciate them for that.


As I have walked and crawled through this journey, my art was a strong hold in keeping me balanced. With all the chaos going on around me I found that creating beauty was so very important to express life.

The Four Seasons (of Life)*
Summer, Spring, Winter, Fall
* I will have articles about each of these pieces
in Art Doll Quarterly  for the next four issues 
Winter 2015- Autumn 2016

Finding my Wings

It took many years of holding tight to my armor with great control. With these life struggles it was not only singed and beaten but I was able to remove it to reveal a strong woman who can now see the beauty in all things tragic and happy.

I still have a ways to go in my healing journey, do you ever find the end? does it matter?

I have found that my heart is more open than it has ever been and I believe that I am more myself than I have every been. I have plans for my career...and my life? I have given up control...(well -ok still catching myself) and am filled with joy at the surprises and beauty that have already entered into my life.

My heart is filled with gratitude for the people who have been there for me in the years and even in the moments. I would not of made it without you.
“Then right before my eyes, she flew. She actually flew like a bird. No, she flew as a ...woman might fly, if people were meant to fly. She soared through the air. And that changed the course of (her) life forever.”
― James PattersonWhen the Wind Blows

Friday, December 4, 2015

Wind in My Hare PT 3 Details

It is a natural part of my nature to zero in on the details. In life and in creating one of my pieces...I love all those tiny little things that work together to create a whole...I love discovering the connection from one piece to another.

I believe when creating an original piece the importance of actually being original, from you, being made by you. Which goes to the details and looking at each part of your piece as unique and made by you.

Wind in my Hare in Detail:
Photography: Mark Mortensen

I sculpted the head from DAS air dry then overlayed it with velvet exposing the eye, nose and mouth area to hand paint.

Below is a very close up of the eye, nose, and mouth painted with several layers of acrylic paint and finished with gloss. Eyebrows are embroidered.
Shadows are created with chalks and liner is done with coal pencil and fine line marker.

When sculpting I make small holes for the horsehair whiskers which are added close to completion of the pieces. The whiskers are then steamed into a breezy position.

The positioning helps create the movement, then I add the clothing and how it would react in the wind.
Part of creating movement is choice of fabrics, with dupioni silk as a the jacket liner with the ability to hold shape. I pretty much, let the fabric determine where it wants to go. These rolls are held into place with tacking stitches.

The pants are of a soft wool. I wired the hem of the pant legs to hold this look.

Button, button...
Little hand punch leather buttons line up on the jacket.
Note: even the buttons are hand made.

Red leather button with linen pick-stitch for the pants opening.

Boots and Skates
The boots are from leather with linen ties and bottom linen soles. Top-stitching sets the top part of the boot from the toe.

Skate strapping is also top-stitched and a small buckle is added for a secure roll around the block!

The skates themselves, have many components/ details to them...
Below photo of pieces and parts...this is enough for two sets.

The bottom of the skate shows the metal plate with wheels.

All together now..

With these details all together, it create one fine rabbit out for a roll in the sunshine!

Look out World here I come!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...