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The Sand Shaman

The Sand Shaman

Inspired by Will Taylor's new album, I found myself wanting to make a spirit doll (art doll) for the first time in a long time. I was surprised by this but also very happy because the process of making these little sculptures is nothing like anything else I've ever done.

So meet the Sand Shaman and his story ...

When I first start out, I know nothing of the spirit who will come to me in the process of making these dolls; and I don't "make" them as such, they unfold themselves through the processes.

The first step is to make their body. It's a simple thing involving wire, sometimes bubblewrap and clingfilm but it's surprisingly meditative. The "bones" know exactly how long they want to be, what proportion they want to be, and in this case I could tell it was a tall, slender individual with long arms and long legs.

The next step is to make their face. That also happens, without volition, yet I have to know their face because how else could I know that this is right, and that feels wrong?

Next are the clothes. I have a reasonable collection of bits of fabric and I right away drifted to sandy colours for this spirit; then I found the gold and sand skin print and that was a definite, "Yes! That's it!"

The clothes for this spirit wanted to be very simple, very comfortable; I got the impression of long roads travelled, time spent alone with nature, sleeping under the stars and the clothes had to be only a help, never a hindrance, and not designed to impress anyone. It was in the making of the clothes the understanding began to unfold that this spirit was a Sand Shaman, a magic man travelling in the desert, searching for magic and treasures.

Spirit Doll Sand Shaman bag and desert glassLater on, when I was looking at him and wondering what else he needed, it came to me that he had only one adornment, a piece of desert glass as a pendant; and that he had a bag in which he would carry the desert glass he collected on his travels.

But before that was the hair. Hair is very important in the making of spirit dolls; it brings the person to life and instead of some kind of archetype, they become a real person. I found some multi-coloured sparkling wool in perfect desert colours - dawn, day, evening, dusk and night - and the joy you feel when you "get it right" is really something else in working Art Solutions style.

And that was that.

Some of my spirit dolls are very complicated and have a lot going on with symbols, adornments, but the Sand Shaman is a simple man of simple needs, which makes his magic even more powerful.

A fascinating process, a wonderful experience and - welcome to the Sand Shaman ... :-)

SFX April 2012


Art Doll Spirit Doll Sand Shaman

 The Sand Shaman by Silvia Hartmann April 2012


 The story of the Energy Art Dolls & more dolls are here:

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