Made from an old quilt and doilies, Zelda, my Doily Woman is a symbol of the inherent strength of women throughout time.
That strength is visible in her posture and the timelessness of it in my choice of materials, the old quilt, and the doilies, both creative avenues traditionally available to women.
I named my Doily Woman after my sheep Zelda. And Zelda got her name for being a strong-willed ewe who, since the moment we got her caused us trouble. But what was trouble for us, breaking out of fences to go where she wanted to and often taking the rest of the flock with her, was just Zelda getting what she wanted.
Zelda, my Doily Woman came together quickly in my studio the day after Zelda, my sheep died. I had the old quilt backing (which always reminded me of a pie crust) laid out on my floor. I was unsure what I’d do with it when I emptied out my box of doilies and started arranging them on the quilt.
As if by magic, the Doily Woman appeared before my eyes. I felt at the time that it was the creation herself that was guiding me. As if all the materials wanted to come together, that she wanted to be made.
When I first stepped back and took a look at her, it was the strength of her posture that struck me. Much the same way I was moved the first time I saw the Bennington Beledi Bellydancers dance. It’s a certain attitude visible in the language of the body.
After the doilies were laid out on the old quilt, I found the butterfly doily and placed it where her vulva would be. Then I found the ring of roses for her head and the spiral, an ancient symbol of eternity, for her face.
I could see she would be more visible if she had an outline around her. So, I removed some of the red squares, sewn down by another woman long before me, from the quilt. It felt to me like I was rearranging history as I pulled the treads holding the squares down, stitch by stitch, then re-sewed them around the doily woman.
Once the outline was in place it looked like a red aura. Red symbolic for our primal urges, being connected to the earth, and enthusiasm for life.
I only found out after I named her, the meaning of the name Zelda. Short for Griselda, it’s German for Gray Battle-Maid. An unusually accurate description of Zelda, my Doily Woman.
When I first began making Zelda, someone emailed me and said she wanted to buy her. But her financial situation has changed. This happens from time to time and I completely understand it. I also trust that all my creation eventually find the right home for them.
So now, finally complete, Zelda is for sale.
You can follow my process of making Zelda here.