A New Doll Comes Into Being

A grovie commissioned me to make a small Persephone doll.  I wanted to share some of my process.  Every doll I make starts with an idea.  They are usually inspired by mythology, nature, or a combination.  I sometimes translate them into concept drawings but not always.

Next comes fabric selection.  As I’m still working with my client on clothing, I worry about the actual doll body first.  She’ll be wearing a peplos and I wanted the rest of her body to look natural as opposed to using different colored fabric for legs (stockings).  I used some tea and coffee grounds to dye white knit fabric to a more fleshy color.  The result was a pale cream.  Perhaps not quite Mediterranean, but she is an Underworld deity.  😉

Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2012.

Next comes the pattern. I’ve been working hard to develop my own doll patterns. Using other peoples’ is generally frowned upon. Many are protected and, therefore, illegal to use when making work to sell. I seem to always be tweaking my designs. The proportions, the shape of the chin, the fingers, the feet, the breast size… I’m always tweaking.

Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2012

Sometimes, even after cutting out the fabric pieces, even after stitching everything together, I’m not happy.  I have a few doll heads floating around because I didn’t like the size compared to the rest of the body.  Sometimes the shape is just wrong.  After stitching this doll together, I decided the torso was too long and adjusted it.
After stitching and adjusting, I’ve got a simple doll form ready for facial features, hair, and clothing!  That’s my favorite part.  My bigger dolls are much more complicated with breasts, more fabric sculpting, eyelids, articulated fingers, etc.  These smaller forms are fun, though, in that they aren’t as frustrating!

As I craft my dolls, I light incense and say prayers to Brighid, patroness of the arts.  While making a deity idol such as this, I meditate and chant during some of the work.  It’s up to the eventual owner to do further work with the deity to truly make it their home, but I start the process with love and care.

I intend to update as Persephone comes into being.  Stay tuned!

Published by M. A. Phillips

An author and Druid living in Northern NY.

4 thoughts on “A New Doll Comes Into Being

  1. I look forward to seeing more of your process! I’m about to embark on doll making of sorts and have been researching it. Thank you for sharing this glimpse! :>

    1. Sweet! Glad to inspire. I hope you’ll share some photos of your doll when you finish! I’ve found that the more I make dolls, the better I get. It’s an addictive process!

      1. Do you have photos of any of your past dolls any where? I’d love to look 8>

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