The class I looked forward to the most at our retreat was Jenny Rohr’s Art Doll Pin workshop. I had seen examples of the art doll pin at a previous class of Jenny’s and couldn’t wait to get my hands on the clay to make my own.
I wanted my doll pin to symbolize something for me. I knew when the class actually happened that “something” would be something I might not have thought of before, but I brought along some special things of my own to use in making my special doll pin.
With all the preparation and anticipation I had brought to the class, I’m glad Jenny reminded us all that we cannot marry ourselves to anything we do with the clay. Things change (pieces break, glue drips, colors smear, surprises happen). We have to go with the flow, she said.
I brought a real butterfly with wings closed which I had found lying on the ground at a nearby park. The butterfly signified change for me. It was a beautifully colored orange Monarch… but when the liquid solution was poured overtop, it burned the dried insect and turned it to a black color.
Also included in my collage of elements was a simple, tiny gold cross pendant. It was nestled between the lightweight butterfly and the trillium… so I knew it would probably move when the clear solution was poured. Yep, it did. But I didn’t mind, because that’s the way my faith is with me. I don’t broadcast it much, but it’s always there, an important element in my life (a quiet cornerstone)… all that matters is that I know it’s there… and that faith is evident in my life.
After the clear solution was poured, before it could dry, I quickly placed the Trillium below the butterfly. The Trillium used to be an earring, made with leather, and had long ago broken off from its backing. The pair of earrings used to belong to my Canadian grandmother (Nana). The Trillium signified my past life and childhood in Canada where I was born (the Trillium is Ontario’s provincial flower).
So the art doll pin ended up reflecting all the things that are important to me.
- The butterfly signifying change and teaching me to accept change.
- The cross symbolizing my faith, and my quiet way of expressing it with people (by preferring to witness through example).
- And the Trillium explodes forward to remind myself, “Hey, I’m Canadian, too, eh?” As any other immigrant, I never want to lose a sense of where I came from, though I love my American citizenship as well (dual citizen).
And at the top is the doll’s face — which was a happy accident: her expression. She has an expression of peace. She looks as if she is nuzzling the star beside her. I love that. In my mind, that star has to symbolize God, because God is what gives me that kind of peace.