Paper Doll Exchange Inspires Blessing Angels

What does the world need more of in 2021? Joy. Positivity. As I began my studio practice one sunny day, I reflected on the past nine months of pandemic-induced life in isolation. Instead of a focus on uncertainty, I thought of possibility, of positive energetic difference in the moment.

In that realization, Blessing Angels were launched.

The root of my mini movement was my commitment to a paper doll exchange organized by Gypsy Pamela Armas of Treasures of the Gypsy in Mountainair, NM. The online group of 30-plus artists from across the country represent a variety of creative mediums. Our loosely presented rules gave us a deadline of March 10th to complete our project.

Paper, so not my medium, opened a new project avenue. On the recommendation of other artists, I bought and read Izzy’s Book of Flat Dolls by Elise Peeples, cover to cover (more than once). Flying Colors angel demanded my attention because I immediately envisioned silk costumes for each angel. 

With little thought to what I didn’t know, I dove into creating Flying Colors. My fabric stash called. I decided to use dupioni silk, hand-stitching, trim and bead embellishments.

When other participants mentioned books or resources, I tuned into further possibilities. For example, Jacque Wrinkle of Phoenix recommended Isabelle de Borchgrave’s Paper Illusions and Pulp Fashion. My view of paper transformed. 

My first paper angel was terribly warped. Encouraged to work in “medium of choice,” my pellon-backed cloth angel looked unfinished.

Further research exposed me to chip boards and X-acto knives. Immediately, I could see the structure supported, elevated and improved. When ensuing challenges such as X-acto knife cutting, filing, painting, using matte medium, gesso, etc., (all things with which I was not super-familiar) threatened to pull me off track, I focused on making and let my hands do the work.

With each experiment, I grew more confident, imagining light-filled angel guides that radiated fun and joy. Eyelash yarn fragments for hair gave a whimsical top-off to the portrayal.

My first blessing angel was Play-Full. I wrote a note under her skirt:  “May the joy of MAKING create higher vibrations on the planet.” Even though I knew I could improve on the design of the angel, I realized I’d just birthed a brilliant idea. From that moment, I added an underskirt, a private blessing note to all the skirt bodies. 

As I described my developing army on a zoom call, one of my pod sisters conspired to give me a tagline: “Secret agents of upliftment.”

A project purpose came alive. Almost immediately the engineering problems solved themselves: longer grommets, double-sided tapes AND glue, fussy cutting. I handled each challenge with gathering momentum. 

Late in January, my bevy of seven blessing angels was complete. As other participants began offering pictures of their creations, I quit with the comparisons and returned to the joy-filled moments of stitching. 

With a quiet delight I packed each creation in a protective covering, addressed her envelope and shipped off each to the six exchange recipients.

Now as I look around the studio, I realize there are more completions awaiting. A skirt of lush kimono silk awaits embroidery. Lucious brocade fabric could become a gown bodice. Miniature stars would be cute embellishments for an angel skirt. Imagine a silver backing for the rich gray, black and beige-hued material!

Blessing Angels are perfect for many upcoming gift occasions: a friend’s new home, a wedding gift, a theme for the year. And the Blessed Angels are so much fun to make. Yikes. I’d best get busy!

What pattern will you use to head toward the world you want to see? Drop me a line. I would love to hear from you.

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