Grandmother Doll Project

Making these dolls was an early phase in a larger project that culminated in my writing Winter’s Graces. Through a series of synchronistic events, I went looking for good news about growing older and started by tracking down myths of grandmother goddesses from around the world. In so many cases, all that remained were fragments – sometimes just a name or an attribution, perhaps the names of her parents or the region in which she was honored, and in some cases, bits and pieces of a story. I wanted to understand these grandmothers more fully and began making dolls as a way to get a better feel for them.

I chose fabrics, yarns, and other materials, based on what I’d learned about these grandmother goddesses, but the process was primarily a meditative one, guided by intuition and feeling. Belly buttons, for example, became very important – the place of connection to one’s mother – and all but one ended up wearing a crown of some sort (the word crone may be derived from corone, meaning crown.)

Carl Jung has been a major influence on my work and life, and for the past forty-plus years I’ve followed his suggestion to use art media to explore and express emotions and other conundrums. Hence the dolls….

  • The Beautiful Old Woman in Red Garments, a hearth goddess, who taught the Chinese cooking, herbology, and healing
  • Metis, the Titan / Greek Goddess of Wisdom, daughter of Oceanus and Tethys (goddess of fresh water)
  • Hecate, Thracian / Greek Goddess of Magic, Night and the Moon, and the Guardian of Crossroads and Byways – powerful ruler of heaven, earth, and the underworld (to which she has a key)
  • Fides, the Roman Goddess of Oaths and Trust, essential for community
  • Anna Perenna, Roman Goddess of Renewal, Health, and Plenty. Legends describe her assisting a village of oppressed peasants in overthrowing their tyrannical overlords by smuggling food in her apron pockets and keeping the villagers alive until they prevailed.
  • Baucis and Philemon, according to Greek legend, were a kind and hospitable older couple, who despite their poverty, were the only people in a village willing to take in and feed two strangers (who turned out to be Zeus and Hermes in disguise.) The couple served as guardians of the temple for the rest of their lives and were granted their wish to die together, when the time came. At that point Zeus turned them into an oak and a linden tree, and they lived on, intertwined, for a very long time.

Hecate doll

Hecate: Thracian / Greek goddess; guardian of crossroads and byways; and ruler of heaven, earth, and the underworld (to which she holds a key)

Beautiful Red doll

The Beautiful Old Woman in Red Garments, ancient hearth goddess who taught the Chinese herbology, cooking, and healing

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