Sunday, February 10, 2013

Tatanui - A Manifestation Dolly

Tatanui's inception - beadbacking cut to shape and peyote petals ready to attach.
Plenty of my favorite colors and 24K beads and pearls to play with.
I've written here and here about the Improvisational Bead Embroidery workshop with Robin Atkins that I'm organizing for March. It's filling up and there are only a few spaces left, which is really exciting. I've been focused on attracting students who will learn and enjoy and have as much fun as I'm going to.

At the end of the first night - her tatas look as big
as her head and she gets her name.
 As often happens, I made an intention and start working on it, energized it fully in the beginning, and began to see results. Then life and grief intervened, and my energy and attention took a dip for a while. I couldn't feel enthusiastic about much of anything except crawling into a hole and pulling the edges in after me. I wove prayer nets on the needle, and tried to focus on beauty.

Tatanui's 3rd day - she sits next to a replica "Doll of the Vespi," Russian fertility doll.
She has a 24K ruffle and heavy 24K border.

 So, the question is: How do we persist and keep the vision and intention energized when entropy and daily life start to wear it down? Well, how do we persist in anything? Step by step, meal by meal, 10 minutes at a time on a work project if that's all we can manage, thought by thought, bead by bead.

I persist by making art that consciously symbolizes and energizes my intentions. As I stitch each bead, I say a prayer. I see my intention coming to pass and I feel the emotions that I would feel in that moment. I see it, I savor it, and I save it in memory.

Bodice has been filled in with vintage sequins and pearls,
more gold. Peyote stitch sleeves begun.
I don't have hours every day to do this, so she developed over a period of 10 days. There were a couple of nights I didn't do much except look at her and focus. I created a graphic of the checks I wanted to receive, and kept her on it, near my computer. I also did a number of practical marketing steps, like follow up on email leads, post to Facebook, follow up with a venue. This is important - simply thinking and dreaming does not produce a comfortable, well-organized workshop with great food. And how would any other sort of workshop attract students?

Up in Kokee - the head enlarged and a lovely face by Dottie Hoeschen
added and temporarily bound with string until bezel is complete.
 I like to take my dolls out into nature, to strengthen them. Doc Matt and I went up to the mountains on our Sunday date. He played guitar and I beaded happily and we went home refreshed and energized.

 Tata's front is done. Her tatas no longer look as nui as they did in proportion to the rest of her body. It's the giant head, which could symbolize the power of the imagination. The hot pink vintage sequins have consistently morphed into ovals, possibly from being under a warm lamp, or leaning up against a warm battery back-up. So do the components of our intentions change and modify as we go along.

I can hear you thinking: "Is EVERYTHING symbolic to this woman?" And the short answer is... (wait for it) ... YES. Everything is symbolic when you operate on a symbolic level.

The next night, the 8th night, I finished the back. I kept thinking it needed a tassel or something, but in the end I liked the simplicity and the power of the words. Words are strong, they have power. The words we use to describe our emotions and situations influence our reactions and eventual outcomes. This is easy to demonstrate: Say to yourself "I feel like a huge pile of crap." See how you feel. Say to yourself "I feel lucky! I always have been lucky and I always will be. I get what I want. I win!" See how you feel. Which is more effective?

Tatanui is done! Sitting on her checks and energizing my intentions.
Every day after I played with Tatanui and focused on my intention, I got some return, either new registrants, or checks in the mail. Focused intention brings results! The work doesn't stop when the doll is made - it doesn't stop until you reach your goal.

We are very near that goal - only 4 spots left. This doll was created using 5 basic stitches, all of which you can learn in this workshop. Now is your moment of power to sign up!


I just googled "January is the cruelest month." Turns out to be a misquote of "April is the cruelest month," from T.S. Eliot's Waste Land, but Google had 283,000 references, so some other people have thought it was January.

It felt cruel. Dr. Sherman Merle, the father of one of my dearest friends, passed away and was buried with military attention. His granddaughter Sarah, a rabbinical student from New York, presided over the service and it was beautiful and comforting. The loud chirping and song of birds interrupted the prayers and testimonials, which was appropriate since his nickname and handle were "blackbird".  I'd never attended a full-on graveside funeral and hope to never do so again. It was weird and hard, even though his passing was a blessing on many levels. He was 90.

The day of the funeral, one of my best friends of 35 years, John Foppes, AKA Foopes, was in the hospital and hung there in a coma for several days, 1 foot in each world, before waking up and then lapsing into complete liver failure and passing away. He was 60 and one of the most loving people I've ever known.

Foopes and his son Nathan

Another close friend is divorcing her husband and experiencing that loss. The end of a marriage is often the end of a way of life in a beautiful place and that is a loss in itself. On some level, I've been grieving that loss, too - of my own first marriage and our family, friends, and dreams together in that magical place in the woods.

Grief is insidious sometimes. There are the hard constantly tearful days, weeping and more weeping, ending up at night unable to sleep because your head is pounding and your heart hurts. Those gradually pass, and then come the days when you think you're more or less done grieving for now and a song or a poem or even a happy memory suddenly starts the tears afresh. Or you have to tell someone, and that makes it more immediate again. Sometimes I feel disloyal for being alive, enjoying myself, laughing. This is all normal. Anything we feel or experience is normal.

A prayer net for Foopes - this is what I do when I don't know what to do. I bead and I pray. I pray and I bead.
New losses bring up old losses to be reviewed and healed, if necessary. Some people believe that grief has a basis in anger at the person we've lost. I don't feel angry now, but sometimes new loss brings up old anger, and that is illuminating.

Foopes and Rhiannon, back in the day
 All these things made it difficult to work, dream, plan. A couple of times I thought I'd give up the dream. "OK, it's not working, it's not going to, why waste energy on it, waaaaaa, etc etc". REALLY? Doc Matt put it clearly: "Your friend is sad because she's going through some big changes, and you are depressed because your best friend died. It has nothing to do with this dream. Give it a chance, don't give up."

After a while, I get bored with the tears, the focus on what I've lost, it's limiting and it's tiresome and it makes me sick. It's not good for my eyes to cry this much. I have to turn to appreciating all the things I HAVE, because grace is boundless and they are many. The world doesn't stop being a beautiful place just because we've been focused inward. It is still there, waiting to help us heal.

I decided to make a doll that would focus my thoughts and energy on what I wanted to manifest - a fabulous improvisational bead embroidery workshop with the right number of participants.

Voila! Tatanui.....