Doll 3: Craft as care

Hello. How has the start of April found you? We’ve had snow in Chicago (just 2 days ago), but today the light and birds are back.

I’ve sewn another felt doe. I decided, after the last one, to put a pause on the doll-making in order to focus on my other project, but I couldn’t resist stitching this one, very much driven by a vision and a feeling. So, I did my best to make time for her in the interstices of other goings on (Easter, a new academic quarter, and so on). Now the doll is done! As you’ll see, this one is a little under the weather, a little blue, and in need of general proximity to a blanket. It was only after I finished that I saw the doll as a kind of mashup between Eeyore of Winnie the Pooh and Linus of Peanuts (they share an emotional kinship, don’t they?). But, not to worry: this doe is in good company.

It’s been my habit, after completing projects, to write up a ‘process post’ and unpack some of the working-up from my (maker) point of view. This time, I thought I’d tell the hand-crafting story from a slightly different perspective and, in the process, create a short visual narrative about care — or, how I’ve come to understand the caring space that crafting creates for me. Craft is a space of openness, patience, generosity, and exploration; it’s a very good place to find one’s feet, heal from whatever is ailing, and support renewal and new directions. This supportive aspect of making leads me to believe that making is kind of like a second immune system (and one nurtured by continuous practice). 🙂 In this way, I’m coming to discover how the things we make quite powerfully (re)make us in turn.

Enjoy. And deer hugs!

2nd deer final.JPG

Have you ever felt “crafted” by a project you were working on? In what ways?

22 thoughts on “Doll 3: Craft as care

  1. The little afghan for your blue deer just adds to the cuteness factor. I love all the little details you put on her face, too. I suppose I feel “remade” every time I see something I made turn into a favorite thing because I remember making it, why I made it, etc. as well as feeling special because something I made is someone’s favorite. As a matter fact, there’s an afghan like that in my house and the someone who has made it a favorite is wearing it out, which I really really like. It makes it an even more wonderful feeling.

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    1. Thank you for reading, Tony! And that sounds like a wonderful thing, to have something you’ve made become someone else’s favourite thing! (I haven’t made + gifted enough things/nice enough things to know just yet, lol!). I imagine it’s a huge and reassuring boost to know that the thing you created is getting the love and attention it deserves, while serving its purpose. I would not have thought of seeing wear and tear as a moment of feeling remade through handmade work, but can see why it would be super wonderful. Thank you for this interesting insight! 🙂

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  2. Oooooooooo. So many Oooooos come to mind. First the post was a beautiful read, I love reading your thoughtful musings. Then the biggest Oooooo – is the sweet little blue deer hugging the first one. And it was wrapped in a blanket. That’s it – I am sure you cross some sort of threshold into EXTREME SWEETNESS! So soon you can quit your day job and start making and selling these! Fantastic! 🙂

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    1. Thank you for the extremely sweet comments on the post, Tierney! And thank you for appreciating the deer hug! I would like to branch out into selling these online; the felties themselves are still in beta test phase, and I’m hoping to keep tinkering with different designs! I appreciate your encouragement: thank you! ❤

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  3. This is beautiful, both the dolls and your thoughts on craft. I’ve had projects save and rejuvenate me in unanticipated ways and I think the possibility of that happening is what keeps me creating.

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  4. Thank you, Mandy. I like how you put it – I resonate with the idea of projects that save, and have been thinking, for the last while, about one of your IG quotes on creating art/things to save oneself. I feel this couldn’t be truer! Thanks for reading. 🙂

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  5. I LOVE HER SO MUCH!!! Another incredibly special creation, Shirley. I’m so glad your first doe now has someone to care for… and that this sweet blue doe is getting some needed affection. I also love you description of being remade by the things we create; that’s a lovely and powerful proposition. I think this doe looks how Fiona Apple’s song ‘Sullen Girl’ sounds… ‘it’s calm under the waves/ in the blue of my oblivion’ ❤

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    1. Thank you for reading, Weekes, and for the kind words. I’m also reassured that they’re both in good company. And, I remember that song from a mixtape from a dear pal! (it brings me back, and yes, the deer and the song very much share a wavelength!). What an interesting correspondence. Thanks for pointing out the spot-on craft-music connection! (and I’m suddenly seized by the desire to re-listen to Tidal!).

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  6. Oh, I’ve been so taken with this little felt deer since I first spotted her on your Instagram… So it was nice to see her “origin story”. That’s such a sweet take on the usual process photos, too! As for the idea of craft as care, I can definitely see that – I really notice a difference in my general outlook when life gets in the way of my making! Have a nice crafty weekend, Shirley 😊

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    1. Thanks, Helen, for your thoughtful comments! Yes, I notice that happens, too, when life interrupts my making. I’m beginning to wonder how I ever got by without my craft life! SO looking forward to checking out the new and improved Beastie site! Yipee! 🙂

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      1. Yes, sometimes I wonder what I did with all that extra time I would have had in my late teens and early 20s! Although I suspect it was something mundane like studying or working 2 jobs… 😆 Hope you like the new-look site!

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