We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
[Marianne Williamson]

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dollies and a Booby

I think the thing I like most about blogging - other than the chance to get my writing out of my head and into a space where someone else might read it - is the opportunity it gives me to communicate with people I would otherwise be isolated from. My sister is in that category - if it wasn't for blogging, we would not know each other in the way we do now.

Another person I am very grateful to have met through blogging is Farida from Saints and Spinners. Although we have never met in person (and most likely never will, living on opposite sides of the world) I count Farida among my dearest friends. I have been fascinated by my glimpses into her life, from the first time I stumbled across her blog and was captivated by the image of her daughter dancing with the dust fairies, through the gradual expansion of her storytelling business, to her recent successful venture into the world of doll making.

You can see Farida's dolls at her etsy store: Alkelda

So far, Farida has been concentrating on nature dolls and elementals. A collection of saints is also planned and I can't wait to see what she comes up with! They are sweetly detailed little creations, just right to hold in your hand or inspire you from windowsill or tabletop - and I am lucky enough to own two of them.

It all started when Farida mentioned - possibly as a joke - making a doll to represent the heroine from The Seven Ravens fairytale. I immediately started thinking how I could a) coerce her into making this dream come true and b) make it mine! (My favourite long-term writing project - and the one I am most determined to finally finish one day - is turning the Seven Ravens into a novel.)

Thinking back, I remembered Farida once expressing a wish for a Blue-footed Booby puppet, and so a trade was proposed and accepted.

Here she is - my lovely Seven Ravens girl. She sits atop my computer monitor and nags me ceaselessly, as all good muses should. Her cloak is embroidered with the sun, the moon, a sprinkle of stars and a track of raven footprints. She is independent, impatient, anxious about her siblings, and in her minds-eye, already far from home having marvellous adventures. I love her!

Seven Ravens Girl

Seeking her brothers,
she has crossed oceans to be
my inspiration.

Then, when Farida opened her etsy store, I went window shopping, knowing that I could not afford to indulge myself by buying dolls, no matter how beautifully made. I fell in love with one, in particular.

Dressed in cobalt blue, with embroidered dragonflies skimming her skirt, standing tall and elegant with her staff topped with delicate blooms in blue and pink... I immediately wrote to Farida, intending only to express my sincere admiration for her creation (and my intention of 'stealing' her dragonfly embroidery design). In an incredibly act of friendship and generosity, Farida decided I should have her, and now she stands beside Seven Ravens' girl, as my totem of love, hope and courage! Sweet Borage is cosy and stay-by-my-side, ready to light my way through the darkness with her starflowers, and inspire my dreams with her flitting dragonflies.

Borage: Starflower, Herb of Courage

A kindred spirit
one mother to another
lighting the darkness.

It has taken me many weeks to finally, publicly acknowledge these lovely creations - partly I wanted to keep them to myself and enjoy their company, partly I was waiting for sunshine so I could photograph them as they deserved, and mostly, I was waiting until I FINALLY finished my part of the bargain. With two small boys constantly demanding my attention, it seemed to take forever. I have been stitching seated on a toddler-sized wooden chair in the playroom, I have been stitching out in the grass watching the acrobatics, I have been stitching under pine trees (and lost my needle).

Starting with nothing but a blank sheet of paper, a bag of felt and fabric scraps and a lot of imagination, I amazed myself by creating a blue-footed booby that I am actually really happy with! (Wombat loved it too, so I am crafting a second one for him - he was really disappointed that I wouldn't let him play with the first one!) I would love to share it with you, but I want it to be a surprise for Farida when she opens the box...

Oh, all right - just a sneak peek then!

Although I would dearly love to follow Farida's example and begin my own etsy store, I have way too many irons in the fire and could not justify the neglect of my children which would necessarily follow me indulging my obsession with making things. I have no self-control when it comes to such matters... and so I live vicariously, enjoying her adventures, and counting myself incredibly lucky to be gifted with such companions on life's journey :D


Saints and Spinners said...

What a lovely post! Thank you so much. You are dear to me too. While a trip to Australia is not in my immediate future, I am much nearer to your continent-country than I was 10 years ago when I lived on the East coast of the United States. Now that I am on the West coast, Australia seems much nearer. :)

I'm looking forward to my package!

Steff said...

Oh i neverrealised te connection - I mus admit i have constantly followed your posts in facebook to those adorable little dolls and drooledover them myself. I am glad of blogging too as i think otherwise we would never chat asphone calls always seem so...awquard

katew said...

What a delightful post! I too think that the Saints and Spinners dolls are entrancing. Wish I had one!
By the way, If the first Fairy tale contest works, I'll have another. I promise to open it to Australians, Canadians, UK folks, etc.

Schelle said...

Yippeee! Now that is good news, Kate! I am already working on my version of Sleeping Beauty :D

Saints and Spinners said...

Pssst. Schelle's lovely needlework creations are featured on my blog now. Here's the short link: