The Spirits of Austin

Sometimes the timing and the place are exactly right for creating together. The two-day Spirit Doll workshop in Austin was one of those times, shadowed by the Uvalde tragedy, inspired by the wish for immersion in making art as spiritual healing.

There were ten of us in the workshop and by the time it was over, we were a bonded community. Some came from Austin, some from Dallas, Houston and other places, but the Austin School of Fiber Arts was our heart-home for the weekend.

Lynne Brotman, director of the ASFA, has a wonderful space available for workshops in the newly-arty southeast section of Austin.

The first day, we worked with the basic spirit doll armature construction.

Everyone talked about how the word “doll” connotates a toy, but figures like these are ancient and profound. No one had a better word, however – it’s always problematic describing this art/craft genre of figure-making.

We all completed our figures, all started the same way, all finished in different ways reflecting the intentions of the makers.

On Day Two, we broke out the plaster and the air-dry clay and built armatures using a different method still with sticks and very basic, natural materials – like our toilet paper rolls!

Patrice put feet on hers!


At the end of the second day, we looked at all the spirits we had created. They mirrored the community that we had made over the weekend – a group of like-minded people coming together for a purpose that revealed itself most clearly at the end of the process. I am so grateful to each of the artists in the workshop for teaching me lessons about ingenuity and generosity.

I’m inviting you to share in the workshop experience by watching this video of how we started, what we did, and how we finished.


I’m planning another Spirit Doll workshop in San Antonio in July. Let me know if you might be interested and I”ll put you on the email list. In times like these, we need all of the good spirits we can get!

Thanks for reading SHARDS – take good care, and stay cool.

17 thoughts on “The Spirits of Austin

  1. The workshop was so much fun. I truly have no words for how deeply it touched me and the mental, and spiritual, shift that came about. Yes, please put me down for the San Antonio workshop in July!

  2. I had a bumper sticker for years (on several car generations) that said: ART SAVES LIVES. I think this [workshop] is a wonderful example of how the process of making art can help us work through and absorb the incomprehensible – not a solution but a way to survive and go on. Thank you for sharing this…

    • Kathleen, what you said resonates – ” the process of making art can help us work through and absorb the incomprehensible – not a solution but a way to survive and go on.” Thank you.

  3. I’m sure it was a wonderful event. I love the process of art and work alone have for decades. Looks like the community was fed by working together. What a gift.

  4. Lyn
    Thank you for your spirit and your creative inspiration during the workshop. I will be interested in the workshop in SA. Let me know when to register.
    Virtual Hugs

  5. I like “Spirit Beings” because it is genderless and even species-less (is that a word?). The creations are marvelous. Being together really fosters creativity, doesn’t it?

  6. Hi Lynn,
    “Making art as spiritual healing”, seems so simple, yet it’s so profound. Just seeing all the little beings that you all made is delightfully healing for me.
    I wish I could join you, I think of this dream often…maybe you’ll venture to California one day? Thank you for sharing this along with all your posts that I gobble up and cherish.
    Side note~ I’m not able to see the video link, is it just me?
    Looking forward to seeing more!
    Love, Holle

    • Sylvia, it will be in July on the 16th and 17th – I have not set up registration because I am deciding between two locations, but will let you know when I do. Thanks!

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