Feb. 21, 2016. I'm moving very slowly on this doll because I keep putting it aside as "ruined." But I also know that ruining an art project is license to start experimenting and having fun. To hell with perfection.
With dolls, there is a moment of "quickening." It's alive!, as Victor Frankenstein would say. The quickening usually occurs when the doll gets a face, especially eyes.* Who she is becomes less a creator's decision and more a conversation. This is when I have to haul out all my boxes of fabric and trimmings for the doll to start instructing me about how to proceed. She is usually reticent.
Yesterday, I pulled out everything and laid my doll-in-progress among the boxes and the lovely wool roving I bought at a local shop. Going to bed last night, all I knew about her was (1) she was a "winter" doll; and (2) she was not cute.
This morning I woke up and understood that she is an anchorite. I kind of know what that is, but better look it up.
Anchorite or anchoret (female: anchoress; adj. anchoritic; from Ancient Greek: ἀναχωρητής, anachōrētḗs, "one who has retired from the world", from the verb ἀναχωρέω, anachōréō, signifying "to withdraw", "to retire") denotes someone who, for religious reasons, withdraws from secular society so as to be able to lead an intensely prayer-oriented, ascetic, and—circumstances permitting—Eucharist-focused life. Whilst anchorites are frequently considered to be a type of religious hermit, unlike hermits they were required to take a vow of stability of place, opting instead for permanent enclosure in cells often attached to churches. Also unlike hermits, anchorites were subject to a religious rite of consecration that closely resembled the funeral rite, following which—theoretically, at least—they would be considered dead to the world, a type of living saint. Anchorites had a certain autonomy, as they did not answer to any ecclesiastical authority other than the bishop.
The anchoritic life is one of the earliest forms of Christian monastic living. In the Roman Catholic Church today it is one of the "Other Forms of Consecrated Life" and governed by the same norms as the consecrated eremitic life. [Wikipedia]
Gosh. Seems a little harsh. But she does have kind of a harshness about her -- an adventuress, who did it all, and has the scars to prove it, now retreating to a contemplative life in spare surroundings. I'm aware that achorites of yore lived in cramped little dungeons, but surely mine lives by the seaside.
She will tell me more.
An addendum. Today we went browsing an an antiques shop. I was drawn to a pair of baby shoes -- brown leather, with very worn soles. I bought them for my Achorite, even though they might be clownishly large for her. They will give her some magic.
*In Tibetan painting, the eyes are always painted in last. That's when the painting is "awakened."
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