My Inner Guide, The Doll

Neshamah

I would like to introduce to you Neshamah, my inner guide. A year ago, in 1997, I decided I needed to meet her and began to create her in clay. Originally, I had in mind a serene, beautiful, middle-aged woman who, walking forward and holding my hand, was going to lead me to powerful deeds. I started with the feet (to get grounded) and unknowingly molded them into a dancing position. I was made aware of this fact by my son who said, “Mom, have you ever TRIED walking like THAT?” Reluctantly accepting her dancing feet I pursued the elderly lady. As I worked on her head and face she developed into a fresh, young female with a peaceful and happy expression. My preconceived idea gave way to my inner intuition and I let her hands evolve into an offering/receiving stance. When all was done, it was surprising to see the unusual results since I was expecting a different figure to emerge. It was intriguing and amazing to meet Neshamah.

It took a month to sculpt and paint her. Once the head, arms, and legs were ready, I faced the dilemma of how to assemble the body. Having read Cassandra Light’s “The Way of the Doll” (the marvelous book that inspired me to make this life size figure), I was encouraged by the inventiveness of her workshop participants, and optimistic about my resources. After much thought, I decided to make the inner structure of plumbing pipes strong enough to let Neshamah to stand free of external support. Although it was scary to drill a hole through her right leg, the piping was easy to assemble and proved to be a sturdy infrastructure. She was ready to dress.

For the first eight months, she wore many wonderful outfits until I finally decided she would only wear clothes designed by me. After choosing the colors, I painted the silk and sewed her dress in less than a week. Having few sewing skills, I was especially pleased with the results. Once dressed, it was time to spruce her with jewelry I had previously made with copper, clay and oil paints. I decked her with a bead necklace, bracelets, anklets, and earrings. It was fun to see her develop a personality of her own.

Neshamah’s name comes from the esoteric Jewish cabala, referring to the “Deep Self”; she who listens, the soul who inspires or guides. I hope she can help me take care of the creative blocks I encounter in my work and that she will provide inspiration and good company in my studio. So far she is a joy to watch and I am happy I brought her forth.

 

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