Why blog?

Spirit Doll Mermaid by Michelle Hazell at The Painterly Magpie

Why Blog? Or have an online presence at all? It’s something I’ve been thinking about for so long that i can hardly remember my initial reasons for wanting to do this. I can say that the reasons have changed and morphed many times over the months (maybe years) that i have been considering this blog. I suppose I just want to record and share how I work, how it helps and possibly help others to tap into their creativity (yes I do believe we are all inherently creative, whether it be with words, with paint, with food, with interior design or your garden) So if that sounds like something you’d like to know more about please read on.

Spirit Bundle

Right now, I am mostly obsessed with making spirit dolls (Katie Kendrick calls them Kindred spirit dolls-which I love!!). Small delicate wrapped objects a tender expression of an inner life only discovered once I had made one or two. Wrapping and cosseting a human form in the outer world seemed to facilitate a gentle unravelling under the surface. I was initially inspired by seeing these bundles of saints relics in the British Museum.

I found them powerfully affecting. The reverence with which these bundles, containing tiny pieces of hair or bone were carried and treated is extremely moving. They are often contained in ornate reliquaries.
My first urge was to create a kind of magical bundle containing words written by me (or poems) and wrapped in sari silk, I attached one to a pin and wore it like a kind of amulet. A reminder of one of my favourite poems and people (Ode by Arthur O’Shaughnessy and Erin Allen!!) I made another containing the Mary Oliver Poem Wild Geese, I didn’t need to read them it seemed enough just to know they were there.

Pile of poem bundles

These little bundles made me think of babies and swaddled babies, the next bundle i made was bigger and i felt an urge to give it a head, and hair. This first experiment, was quite baby like, and terribly delicate, she now resides in a handmade box on the wall in my studio surrounded by family photos.

I have since made several more Kindred spirit dolls (thanks Katie Kendrick!) using different “bones” wire and twigs.
Since making these I have looked around online and found many others making beautiful examples and using them for personal growth work and in therapeutic settings. Human forms have been created and used in ceremony, celebration and prayer since the first people walked on the earth. Im surprised it took me so long to get round to making my own!

Spirit Doll Tree Twig Branch