Copyright: All artwork/content protected under ©2007-2011 Lynne Ciacco

All content herein copyright © Lynne Ciacco

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Postcard: Whey-ah-Wichen

(handmade cloth art doll, approx. 10" tall)

"Whey-ah-Wichen" (Facing the Wind) is the name given to the park near my parents' house. Its forest and beach provide a place of solace, refuge, and joy to me on each of my visits "home." I created this spirit doll, or talisman, the year my father died. It's free-form,entirely hand-stitched, and uses objects mostly found in the park or on the beach there. The body is made from a man's handkerchief that had been lying on the grass in the rain and the sun for several days. The hair is a tuft of dog hair that I found billowing along the trail. Sticks, shells, stones, dried moss were all gathered there. The beads, paints and threads were part of the "arsenal" I'd brought with me, knowing I'd have the urge to create something, somehow, during my 5-month stay. When the figure was finished, I still felt something was missing, but I knew it would eventually come to me. Sure enough, on a visit to a native art gallery, I picked up the last free postcard advertising an event in the park, "Whey-ah-Wichen" in bold print across the front. I cut out the name and stitched it to her body.

With this talisman, I was able to bring the spirit of the park, and my memories of that time, back with me when I returned to my east coast home.

Here are some pictures of my beloved park. If you'd like to see more, head over to my Decollete blog.


  1. What a wonderful set of stories. I love the doll and the idea of the doll. I am amazed at how that doll, for all her coming together 'on her own', is perfectly a part of your other art works. It is so 'you'.
    I'm sad today (happy too) because my toddler grandson is leaving soon after 15 months with us. His mom is back from the war. Your art just reflects that feeling perfectly for me. I'll make a doll! From some of the things he leaves laying around my house. A happy/sad doll. Thanks for the idea.

  2. What a special doll, how it came about, how you used what you found and how personal it is.

    It is very touching.

  3. I like it, and strangely it reminds me a bit of 'corn dollies'...I'm going to go look at more of your photos.

  4. Hi Susan, I think it's so cool that recognize my personal style that you've seen in my other art work in this doll as well. I sometimes think that I am too all over the map to have a distinct voice as an artist. Thanks!

    I'm really touched that my humble doll has inspired you to make a talisman of your own. I was once so furious at my husband (I have no idea why) that I shut myself away behind a closed door and made an "anger doll." She turned out be completely comical and created much mirth. So I guess it worked.

    That is really a tough one, watching your grandson return to his mother after 15 months in your care. Big time happy/sad. It's wonderful that you were there for them both.

    It's beginning to seem to me that all life, at least after a certain point, is about letting go.

  5. JafaBrit, Lovely that you stopped by. I'm pleased that this strange cloth being and her story somehow touched you, thus taking her intrinsic meaning beyond the merely personal. (my mother thinks she's hideous!)

  6. Hi J, "Strangely" would be the key word, I think, in this cloth icon reminding you of corn dollies! Now I want to go look at pictures of corn dollies. I seem to remember them being quaint and dainty somehow. Maybe their connection with my doll is that they, too, are made from materials found at hand.

    Lord spare me from ever looking at corn husks as material for making stuff (although I think I have looked longingly at the "silk tassels" at their tips more than once).

  7. It's wonderful, Lynne. It looks so YOU but also something prehistoric--genuine and real. I absolutely love the third eye! A source of wisdom for you, a way of getting in touch with your intuition. And I'm sure it holds that special connection with your Dad. xxox

  8. Hey-ho, Margaret
    So glad you made it over here. I find it marvellous how you can recognize what is so "me" through such a short and virtual time we've shared together. Magic!

    Yes, the third eye was indeed the only feature I included for the doll's face. It expresses all. xo

  9. I hope you don't mind my looking at your tailisman doll over and over again. I have a coupleof parks that have been sanctuaries in my life. I feel motivated to do something similar.

  10. Hi Lisa,
    Look as often as you like! Please come back any time! I'm sorry that I've been neglecting this blog and haven't been coming back enough myself, so that's why I failed to notice your comment before now. Please accept my apologies! I'm happy to meet you.