Once a week I've been joining my fellow artist and dear friend, Brigit Snyder to work on Spirit Dolls together. Since she is the one who introduced me to the genre, I am always honored and in awe watching another artists' process. We laugh and giggle while we work together, talking about our pasts, our families, our hopes and dreams, each of us working on her own separate doll but with a similar pacing to the work, trying to create something wonderful out of a few branches, bits of yarn and swatches of fabric. As I watch the process of another artist whose style is so different from mine, I realize that there's room for every artist, there is no competition between us and the shared bond of solving creative challenges draws us ever closer together as artists and as friends.
Working with someone else is a completely different experience than working solo. It's great to get a 2nd opinion, especially when I come to a challenge. When I ask Brigit for her appraisal of my work, she is always generous in her praise, and encourages me to step out of my comfort zone and reach for ever higher manifestations of my creative visions. She is unafraid of making bold choices and always delights me with her unexpected assemblages.
The results of our work together satisfy and surprise both of us because we each have done things differently than we normally would. While working together, a shared energy flows back and forth getting wrapped up in the fabric, woven into the yarn and strung up in every little bead and embellishment. In Brigit's astute observation, "Isn't this fun? It's like playing with dolls when we were little girls, isn't it?" And once again, her astute observations summed up my experiences perfectly. She has a knack for knowing exactly what to say when I need to hear it. And it's just so much fun!
I can't believe I just said that. Playing dress up sounds so frivolous and unproductive. I'm used to approaching things in a much more restrictive manner consonant with my Chinese thriftiness and economy of energy and materials.
But now, I'm finding myself picking out things I would normally have saved for a more special occasion at some future date. Isn't life at every moment a special occasion? I'm really appreciating allowing myself to play while working and watching my visions come to life. As in songwriting, there's a feeling I wish to convey creatively to another human but unlike songwriting I don't need to find the exact words; I can skip the clumsiness of translating my thoughts into a language you may or may not understand but also, unlike a strictly visual medium, Spirit dolls have an additional component in that you can touch the fabric, trace the yarns and fibers and hear the beads swing back and forth. Most artists know that capturing the ethereal is next to impossible like catching butterflies with no net or a fish with your bare hands. But it's a wonderful vision quest because eventually with enough determination and a willingness to be uncompromising in what I wish to achieve, I can hold my dream in my hands. How powerful is that?
So, when I get to share this process with another human it is a rare and special occasion to be treasured. Here's one of my dolls I've created with Brigit and a couple she's created with me. See if you can tell a difference in the results of my solo work.
I'm eternally indebted to the awe-inspiring wonder woman named Brigit Snyder and I hope you'll check out her work on Etsy, too. Her store is Brigit's Beauties and her work is stunning.