Spirit Dolls are special “Found Art” sculptures, they are heirloom keepsakes made from old bottles and decorated with small trinkets like: old flower petals, pebbles, and twigs and left over craft supplies. Some Spirit dolls have wishes or prayers (written on small scraps of paper or cloth) and other symbolic items placed inside the bottles as well.
Spirit Dolls can be an expression of Archetype Energy (Peace, Hope, Protection, Courage, Strength, Healing, Wisdom, etc...) or Elemental Energy (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Forest, Sea, Sky etc...) or they may be expressions of the doll makers themselves, something they are drawn to, yearn for, or fear. A spirit doll can also commemorate an event or a special person.
"Doll" is a bit misleading, these are small pieces of art that are heirlooms in their own right, not to mention each one is so unique it has its own essence or spirit. Dolls can be free-form and purely creative, but some people have a particular issue they'd like to make a physical representation of (Releasing anger, or bad relationship energy), they can also be inspirational and help manifest success wealth and other positive energies.
The Spirit Doll story:
I took my mother to a workshop for her birthday. At the workshop the origin of the spirit dolls was revealed to us before we started. The founder, owned some land in the country and would go out every morning and pick up all the glass beer bottles that people threw out of their car windows overnight. This was really irritating to her and became a real sore subject and nasty part of her day. After throwing away an unusually large batch of bottles she had been collecting, she wondered if she could turn all this negative stuff into something positive. It struck her like lightning, she could wash the bottles out and re-use them. She experimented around and found that by twisting some wire around the neck and stretching it out to the sides as the arms. Filling them with sand from her property and capping with an acorn or other natural object completed the basic doll starter. By sharing these with others she found that everyone could bring their own scraps of material yarn and whatever little bits were left over from other projects and too small to use for anything else, worked great. Unmatched beads, half a feather, broken necklaces, 1 inch remnants of lace and ribbon, everything was being used up to create these amazing little wonders. One special item she likes to incorporate are tobacco pouches, as an offering to the spirit the dolls come from. My favorite are the ones made of scraps of natural materials that present themselves during outdoor festivals. The only thing left for these creations was an inspirational exercise to get everyone ready to create something special. She began each workshop by telling this story and doing a short breathing exercise combined with visualizing what your spirit doll wanted you to choose when making it.