|Shaman Medicine doll created by a child at Chesapeake Middle School|
This year I have become enchanted by the spirit and medicine doll, this ancient craft and shamanic art is profound and I in the dolls I make for myself and for others I feel such a strong current of healing. It is beautiful to watch others create their own dolls and I am fascinated to observe the birthing of dolls in the workshops that are so much more than dolls - they are creatures so powerful and potent and mysterious. It is a beautiful way to reach the Dreamer birthing the Dream - the Wild Self, the Inner Healer. I have begun to receive guidance that in the future I will be sharing this healing art practice not only adults but with children too. That makes me excited and also extremely happy - how beautiful to witness someone so young birthing their ancestral medicine.
The Shaman medicine doll you see above was made by a child in a program created by artist and art therapist, Christine K Harris in Chesapeake in the U.S to help young students aged 10-13 to cope with acute emotional stress and deep trauma. When their creations were displayed at a nearby gallery, visitors could not believe that the dolls were made by children.
During the sessions, which took place at the school after hours, Harris discussed the concept of shaman dolls and what they symbolize, the concept of the "amulet" and the use of symbols, fabrics, colors and accessories. She brought in baubles, trinkets, fabrics, feathers and textiles which the students affixed to armatures (figurine "skeletons").
"These kids learned quite a bit in that short period of time," Harris said. "And learning is another path to recovery."
During the two days, Harris said she noticed that the nine participants encouraged and supported each other. One youngster "did and un-did" his creation over and over again, until his peers, and a school art teacher, praised the work, which signaled to the young artist that the project had come to a satisfactory completion.
"They enjoyed what they did. It seemed to give them satisfaction in making something on their own, and the process seemed to create a catharsis," she said.
After the two days, the youngsters created dolls they gave various names including "The Unknown," "Beatrice," "Horns," "Alone," "Grandma" and "Lost Love."
"I noticed that some of the students were very protective of their dolls," Harris said. "One didn't even want it to be displayed or photographed."
The results were beyond what was expected. Via