Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Dammit Doll

Perhaps the real title of this post should be "and then I lost patience." That seems to define so many of my choices lately. Diane Harris, of Stash Bandit Quilting, started it. She posted a picture of her pandemic doll, covered in writing, that she used to help work out some of her frustrations, what we've all felt over the last year. And I thought, what a great idea! After some angst about making a doll of my own, and how that felt like more work than I wanted to do, I remembered that I had blank dolls squirreled away in my fiber closet. (Of course I do, doesn't everyone?)

The problem was that she was flat white and that felt too harsh. I have fabric dyes, but that also seemed like too much work. I have tsukineko inks and pens, so I started with that. My plan was to sneak up on the color, diluting it in water, soaking the doll and getting a lovely peach tone. Well, then I lost patience. The ink wasn't taking. So I dragged out my Derwent Inktense blocks and started shaving them into the water. Now she has a sunburn and freckles.

When I was a little kid I loved making dolls. I always did their eyes last because I didn't want them looking at me while I was poking them. Having matured some since them, the face was the first to be embroidered. I toyed with buttons for the eyes, and then beads.

Diane's doll is quite primitive, covered with words of sadness and frustration. As cathartic as that seemed, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Instead, I hope my doll is going to lead me back to my creative self with a little bit of sewing every day.

So, embroidered eyes it is. And of course they are green, because mine are. She's a little lopsided, but then, aren't we all? And there she sat for a few days, nekkid and bald, while I thought about how to do her hair.

After considering yarn, and wool appliqued flat to her head, I ultimately chose to tear strips of fabric. I haven't had my hair cut since right before the shutdowns last year. (I've decided to hold off until March this year to see how long it can really get before I lose my entire mind.) The torn strips were then sewn down to another strip of fabric, which is about an inch wide and about five inches long. There are three rows of strips so my dolly can have a luxurious mane, and give me more choices for styling.

After my last post I've been contacted by several quilt teachers who are also struggling with depression. People who, for all to see, look like they totally have their shit together and haven't a care in the world. Let's find our way back together. 

I challenge anyone who is struggling with their creative mojo to clear a space, even a little one, and do one thing each day. Sew one seam, just sew two random pieces of fabric together, no plan. Make a mark on one page, a letter, a swipe, a fingerprint. Thread a needle, make a knot and make a stitch, any stitch in any piece of fabric that comes to hand. If more happens, that's cool. We fell in love with our art one tiny step at a time. Let's do that again. We can do that again.

When I turned on my machine yesterday, for the first time in many months, this is how it greeted me. Yeah, I know, I programmed that in, but I'd completely forgotten about it. Now I'm thinking it's time to look for my tiara. It has to be here somewhere. You better bet my doll will get one.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, all hail the queen of applique. Love your blog. Mojo, here I come.