Saturday, August 30, 2008
I've heard that many little girls learned how to make dolls and doll dresses in preparation for their lives as mothers. I'm sure that's not going to be my path, but I do see the dolls I make as my children in a way. I have a vague idea what they will look like when I begin, but they "come alive" near the end when the hair & jewelry is added and I'm usually a bit surprised by the end result.
I started thinking bigger and decided to make a cradle for an old man who meant so much to me. His was made in 1910 or 1911 but had long disappeared; happily I found a drawing and description of it and decided to remake in a smaller version. Its hard to find many examples of Plains Apache cradles; maybe they are all mislabeled as Kiowa or maybe women received Kiowa cradles from relatives instead. Sadly Alfred passed just before I finished his but I decided to complete it for the family. Its been a good learning exercise and I'm now making one for a friend who is expecting in the spring. I was challenged by a lack of direction and information; once common cradles have become rare family heirlooms or museum pieces. I've worked from photos and tried to puzzle out as much as possible but recommended reading includes Gifts of Pride and Love, as well as Brave Hearts. I also found some good directions in the discussion forum at www.powwows.com
While there have been challenges along the way, the projects have gone smoothly....both have been from the heart.