Isis of the Healing Winds

Photos by C. Pennington April 2008

This non-traditional Isis was a commission piece for a friend and fellow artist. She requested a focus on water and wind, healing and protection, and that the piece be able to hang from the ceiling to watch over things and help as needed. The color palette was also part of the request of this commission – all pale: lots of white, blue and pale blue. In keeping with the pale theme my client choose the Tonner “Tres Chic Charlotte” doll with her ice blue hair as the base for this Isis, and off we went.

Isis’ sheath dress is made from cream silk with a slight stretch to it and fit on her body. Her over robe is pale blue silk chiffon that was pleated and then sewn at the shoulders to help it hold its shape. Her Egyptian style collar was an interesting (an nearly 10 hour long) adventure in teaching myself how to bead weave in a circle, but it was well worth the effort! The two layers of blue beads are separated by rainbow crystal seed beads alternated with copper and then sewn closed in the back and finally tacked on to her dress so that it would not fly around when she was hanging from the ceiling. Matching coiled bracelets, anklets, and earrings complete her jewelry set. All were made with matching seed beads in blues, rainbow crystal, and copper strung on gold wire. Her crown is made from paper clay and pins which help hold it to her head painted in pale silver blue to evoke the moon and framed by Hathor’s copper horns.

I sis’ wings are made from paper clay that was first molded in the shape of wings. Then over the course of several hours I layered in and sculpted the inner wing details based on images from several extant Isis and Horus status. Once the front was done and set up enough to trust that it wouldn’t break or shift, I started working on the back. While we look at her mostly from the front, the back did not need to be as detailed, I felt it still needed to be addressed in some way. I opted to give the wings the textural flavor of feathers and the coloring of clouds and sky. Once the sculptural work was done, I covered Isis in cling wrap, laid her faced down on my work table and draped the wings across her back and left them to dry in place. This gave the wings both the curve of her back, and outstretched arms, but also some additional depth as the wings sank down in the center from their own weight, rounding and softening all their lines. Once the wings were dry (about three days later) I started painting in layers of color to achieve the finial look she wanted. The wings themselves are structural as well as beautiful; they are part of the rigging which allows them to hang from the ceiling. The cords which bind them to Isis wrap through the wings in back, hiding under the blue chiffon when not in use, and come out to serve as supports to hang her from the ceiling when its time for her to fly.

I knew there was really only one choice for her eyes, the distinctive Egyptian eye make up (which was just a little terrifying to do on a doll that size!) I repainted her eyes were in shades of blue to match her wings, while her lips and nails were given a very pale pink color with a hint of copper over lay. Like her eyes, there was really only one option for her stand – sand, so now when she is not flying high, she stands on the sands of her homeland watching over us all with great compassion.