Thursday, January 31, 2013


Lisa Doll
This Saturday was spent doing something very special, magical and unusual....sewing self portrait dolls,  a doll made in ones' own image. This can be taken a step further by incorporating parts of yourself that you would like to bring out. The doll can signify a hidden part of yourself or maybe even help to heal an aspect of yourself from the past perhaps the inner child.  I've been making dolls for about 27 years and sewing probably since I was twelve.  The idea for this self portrait doll came as I was working through a somewhat challenging time in the midst of heavy life-changing transformation ( I still am) During this time a mentor/ teacher/therapist invited me to paint a self portrait....well the image of myself  that arose quite astounded me for what I saw on the easel when I was done was a vivacious, pretty, juicy, earthy, Italian woman who was bare-footed, with turquoise feather earrings wearing a flowery bright red dress and a strand of pearls..... the backdrop..... Sicily, with sky, mountains and ocean surrounded by grapes, grapes and more grapes.  I could see all the weariness of the hardwork of transformation paying off with the result being a vital beautiful woman presenting to the world her radiance and the fruits of her labor.  So of course the next step was to sew my self-portrait doll..... And so this playshop arose from my own evolutionary process, my love of sewing and especially my love of sewing with women.  On a side note as a Health Coach I see this as valuable work to use with my clients as well as they transform their lives.
We started the day off with the lighting of a candle to bring focus and intention to our task welcome the spirit of the doll that we were bringing acknowledge the gift of our creativity and to hold the clarity of what we were doing with the highest intention possible to bring benefit to ourselves and to others. Then we introduced ourselves briefly and I read the following poem:
And the time will come
that you can go 
no further
though it feels
you have 
come so far
and the trip 
is nearly done
you cannot 
go on
you are so tired
your will 
is gone
so you just
give up
you lay down 
in the dirt road
on the side of
the mountain
and pray
for help


the merit of all 
past action
to your side
like a sleek 
and rippling 
Bengal tiger
to pick you up 
lick you clean
and carry you 
by the scruff
of your neck
to the
(The title is affectionate Italian for 'Tiger Cub')

And the sewing begins....first we pick out the skin fabric.  Here is Karen shaping the head and body of her doll.  Then the tedious part.....making the arms and legs and putting it all together.
Here is Dorisse working on her doll and chatting, of course stories come out when we're working with our hands.........she invented her own way of making the legs and arms in all one piece right along with the head and body.....very clever....she has had a lot of sewing experience under her belt.   She made a beautiful doll at the last doll playshop and here she is in the picture below.  The little doll you see next to her actually lives in a pocket under the doll's skirt.  
Here I am at my computer reading a special piece called  Lick the Fire. You don't have to trust the process. by artist Shiloh Sophia. This piece of writing helped to get our creative juices flowing. Next to me on the floor is Deborah sewing her doll's arm piece. 
And here is Diana.....our resident pregnant mom.  It was so great to have her and what a blessing and a gift that her husband was at home with her two young ones so she could have a day to herself.  She was making a beautiful doll in a slinky gold lame evening dress with a purple velvet jacket... 

It was magical to see her doll's outfit and personality come to life.  (Sorry the picture came out blurry)  The doll's outfits were being made from various scraps of fabrics, recycled clothing and bits of trim and wool roving or yarn for hair.

The day passed so quickly and several of us had to finish our dolls at home.....but we took pictures of what we had and the finished doll pictures will roll in as they are completed.  So we have Deb's doll with red calico, gingham and embroidery to honor  her  Grandmother who loved to sew and......
....... Karen's doll with linen and calico who has a soft Country look about her.  
I can't wait to see the completed dolls.

Maybe the next playshop you can join us.....

Lisa Olko RN is a Certified Health Coach and Lifestyle Educator.  To read more about her and the
services she offers visit her website.  To get a Free Health Consultation with Lisa click here.

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