Saturday, December 6, 2008

DIY: Upcycle & Organic Voodoo Doll

Voodoo by nature is a religious practice that uses alot of upcycled & natural materials laying around. Growing up in New Orleans with a very strong voodoo oriented culture I had the privilege to see beautiful alters, dolls, bottles of dried herbs and handmade candles on a regular basis. These alters & dolls are made from all sorts of found objects, fabrics, beads, etc.. it's an eco crafter's dream come true! I decided to make a few happy voodoo dolls for holiday gifts but made one of me and my kitty Toots first to see how it would work...

Here is how to do it:
You'll need the following supplies: Fabric, cotton or some type of stuffing, needle & thread/sewing machine, scissors, & basic sewing skills. To decorate your doll you can use various found objects like beads, straw, charms, tiny pine cones, bones, sticks, sequins, jewels, etc.
Cut out the shape you'd like your voodoo doll to be. Traditionally the dolls have sticks in the shape of a cross as the skeleton and are wrapped in Spanish Moss for stuffing... but with voodoo it is very much about personal creation and innovation. So here I used organic cotton scrap fabrics and found some organic cotton stuffing.
I cut out several shapes ahead of time... those of you not on good terms with me don't worry about those other two white figures I cut out. ;) No really, those will be gifts for friends... these voodoo dolls are to help with dreams coming true & not for sticking pins in your slimy co-worker or bad in-laws.
Sew around most the edges but leave an open hole to stick the stuffing in. If you don't have Spanish Moss or dried grass you can use some good ole' cotton like me! Once all the stuffing is in, finish sewing up the little hole you used to shove it in there.
Then you can begin basic decorating - for Toots I gave her a colorful smile, golden eyes, and a little kitty charm over her heart. Adding decorations as you obtain more specific dreams and goals to manifest can be done at anytime.

Traditionally a Voodoo Doll is wrapped, so even though with this type of doll wrapping is not necessary I still wrapped it cause... I am unbelievably superstitious.
For my doll I wrapped her (me!) in purple (my favorite color), gave her a healthy red smile, and each eye is made of three clear beads put together (for a symbolic 'third eye' seeing clearly from each real eye.) I added some leg warmers, long dark hair and even tried to make some cute bangs. :) YAY! Me and Toots make some fun voodoo dolls!
When you have a specific dream or idea you would like to be part of your destiny then you add symbolic charms, notes, beads, ANYTHING you want to your doll to represent what you want to happen in your life.
"The Voodoo doll is not used in Voodoo practices in Haiti, but rather as part of the complicated melting pot of traditions in New Orleans and the Louisiana delta areas. The Louisiana Voodoo practices combine the spiritual elements of Haitian Voodoo with the magical beliefs of Southern United States hoodoo. In the first decades of the 20th century, Voodoo dolls are believed to have been used to cause sympathetic magic on the desired recipient, sometimes in painful ways. The use of pins was not meant to cause pain in a particular area of the real person, but rather to reinforce the spell being cast.
Modern Voodoo dolls are still sold as focal points for spells, but usually with the intention of creating positive effects. Many dolls have specific concentration points for wealth, love and financial success. To use the Voodoo doll, you must call upon the powers of the Loa, spiritual beings somewhat similar to saints in Catholic practices. Spells cast with a Voodoo doll are meant to be spells of love or blessings, rather than revenge or pain. "
WATCH more about Voodoo in New Orleans HERE.


Nick doo said...

That be some good juju! Toots looks like a gremlin and yours is really cute!

.·:*¨¨*:·.gm.·:*¨¨*:·. said...

i love this idea! I am going to make one too. thanks for the inspiration!

The Oko Box said...

Thanks Nick!-
Good mojo, good juju, good gumbo :)

.:*-**-*:. -
YAY! Can i just say that your google blogger identity creation is inspiring, I want dots & stars around my name too!!! When you make your voodoo doll, please send a picture :)

Susie Collins said...

I've been thinking about your voodoo dolls for days now!! You really captured the essence of you and Toots, not an easy thing to do. And of course, that you made them with nontoxic fabric is so true to YOU, adding to the magic. I used to make dolls, there's something really powerful about the process of dollmaking. They do become entities unto themselves, I'm fascinated with that. I love that you've explained what the voodoo dolls are all about. They are as misunderstood as witches.

The Oko Box said...

Thanks Susie -
Dolls do have a life of their own... i have to admit any doll that's not a voodoo doll, i am usually creeped out by them! lol

Someone asked me to make some as gifts for their family, so I am open to making them for a good price - but i have to have a picture of the person I am making the doll for.

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