witches & demons

(and magpies and coffins)

Hey you all!

This month I celebrate a few anniversaries. I started making dolls 6 Novembers ago, I had my first (doll) art show 3 Novembers ago, and I began selling as Rag & Bone 1 November ago. The dark grey skies of this month are favorite and are particularly inspiring.

So. Tomorrow, November 30th at noon, I will be adding a new collection to my Etsy shop. There will be some wee demons, some little Unfortunates in coffins and a bunch of handstitchery.

For the next year, I plan on spending a lot of time in my workshop creating a series of Story Dolls. It’s not a stellar name, and I may change it, but it’s what I keep going back to in my head for the moment. I have a longing to tell the stories of real people, who’s tale may be forgotten. Mostly, because I’m a little bit obsessed with the person, time, or event that surrounds the person. Mostly they will be women, but that may change. The doll will be either a likeness (because i’ve been able to track down photos) or just what I imagine them to look like, based on age, description or circumstance. And their story and if available, the person’s own words will be stitched into their clothing.

The first of these story dolls to become available, is The Testimony of Bridget Bishop. Bridget lived from 1632-1692 in Salem, MA. She was first person to be executed as a witch as part of the Salem Witch Trials. On this part of the doll, we see the 60 year old puritan women, accused of the most outlandish, ridiculous things, and her pleading to be heard. Her actual words are stitched into her dress and pinafore.

But- this doll is different. She is a ‘Topsy Turvy’ doll. When you hold her upside down, and lift her skirts, another doll is revealed. On this side, we see the witch as she is described in folklore, and what is stitched into her dress is the testimony that her neighbors, John Louder gave in evidence against her (she apparently sent flying black pigs and deformed monkeys into his orchard, because of course she did.)

The Testimony of Bridget Bishop was such a delight to make. I cannot wait to start on my next Story Doll.

I will also have a pair of magpies available, with an old nursery rhyme stitched into their clothes. Last time, I presented “One For Sorrow”, this time, I happily present “Two For Joy.”

And demons! and Unfortunates in coffins! Yay!

Happy November all. Hang in there.

xo jana