Thursday, November 09, 2006

New Concept
For Spirit Dolls

Thanks to all who wrote comments or sent private email about the memory dolls I'm making for everyone in my family in rememberance of my Dad. Some who responded wrote about related ideas, such as Tressie, who said her Mother made memory bears from her Grandfather's shirts. How sweet is that!

One person, Nancy Combs, who is a writer for CQ Magazine Online, sent me a picture of an "essence doll" she had made for a friend. According to her explanation of the concept, she tries to capture the essential essence of the person for whom she's making the doll.

spirit doll by Nancy Combs
This one, made for her friend Beth, captures Beth's vibrant personality and tells her story. Here's what she wrote about the doll and Beth, "Here charms include a spoon, teapot and skillet" (representing her career as a home economics teacher), "sea shell and cards for our bridge club retreats to the beach, a black glass bead (representing Coal) and a Cardinal, both to represent WV, a cross to represent her work with her church, scissors for her prolific sewing and, a suit case for all the traveling she and her DH are doing since their retirement. Her hair is representive of her red, usually out of control, hair."

Besides the idea, I also like Nancy's use of pieced fabrics and thread embellishments. Thanks, Nancy! I see some "essence dolls" in my future as well. Actually there's only a subtle difference between the type of dolls Nancy makes and the memory dolls I am making about my Dad. Rather than trying to capture the essence of Dad, I'm trying to capture the connection or bond that exists between him and each member of our family.


  1. I like Nancy's take on spirit dolls. Very unique. Hmmm...maybe I need to do another beaded doll...

  2. This is a very interesting idea.
    My mind keeps getting drawn to the idea of poppets though (small dolls tradtionally used in witchcraft)..

    The museum of witchcraft in Boscastle, Cornwall, UK has a selection of them.

  3. I always enjoy info about art/spirit dolls. I am still struggling with this type of creativeness. I get ideas but then have so much trouble actually executing them. Maybe I'm just not a beader afterall!! Some people are just meant to admire and appreciate while others do the creating. And you do the creating part so magnificently!

  4. I love this idea. I'm impressed at how you are working these dolls and working through your grief.

  5. This is really a great concept. I really like the butterfly face and the technique used for the hair. Not sure what it is, but it looks wonderful.

  6. This is wonderful. I am a big fan of Memory/Spirit/Friendship dolls. Lovely work, Nancy.

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