Mad In Pursuit Notebook

twig doll on Lake Ontario

Twig Dollmaking

July 24, 2015. So I've been trimming shrubs and there are all these cool twigs. And all my craft supplies are lying half-organized downstairs. There must be something I can do.

For a while I had been pinning twig dolls on Pinterest. A human form growing from or merging with plant forms is beautiful and a little spooky, I'm not sure why. Something about fairies and woodland nymphs... or a human caught in the wrong place at the wrong time... or a messenger from nature...

Today was the day for an experiment. I gathered some small branched twigs for hair, long stouter twigs for the body, and a few short twigs for arms. Bound them together with rubber bands and began wrapping her with rosy green fabric scraps. What to do about the face? I had seen an article on How To Make A Spirit Doll (which involved twigs) and had already ordered the recommended faces from Earthshards on Etsy, but they hadn't arrived yet.

I was impatient, so decided it was time to dig out the paper clay I "had to have" last year, but never opened. I took a chunk of white clay and (lacking modeling tools) fiddled around with it till I had something like a face, on a head I could poke my "hair" twigs into. Paper clay air dries, so... that was that.

Maybe it was the Celtic music I was playing, but she seemed to come to life in my hands--a sleeping, vulnerable creature, deeply connected to this place where earth meet vast waters. Time for photos--to look at her in various lights. I was able to perch her on the end of a branch and we marched down to the lake at golden hour.

twig doll

twig doll

August 2 addendum: She definitely belongs to the Pagan realm, with overtones of crucifixion--the annual death and resurrection of vegetation. A couple people thought it conjured up "witchcraft," and that makes my conformist self worry that neighbors will think me wierd if I start hanging little twig people around. On the other hand, to hell with neighbors. My adventure here has much to do with allowing myself to sink into the natural world, to experience an alternative to my sealed-up, climate-controlled, suburban life... to creep a little beyond my comfort zone.

So, I'll continue to play.