“when the village is rocked by a series of gruesome and apparently ritualistic killings, it soon becomes clear the local police are up against dark forces…” (CRY OF THE MACHI, A SUFFOLK MURDER MYSTERY – Alan s. blood)
story behind the cloth doll
This cloth doll was inspired by the title of my dad’s book ‘Cry of the Machi’, which is a fictional novel that weaves together a murder mystery involving Mapuche Indian shamanic rituals with the quaint English tradition of Morris Dancing.
mapuche indian ‘machis’
Machis are usually female with a similar role to that of a shaman. She plays a central role in traditional Mapuche culture. They perform many rituals, which include; trying to ward off disease and evil spirits and influencing the weather for a better harvest.
creating the machi look
Other than the descriptions in my dad’s book, I did not know much about Machis before starting this doll and naturally I did a google image search and created a Pinterest board to get me started.
The machi dolls’ clothing on a combination of images that I researched with the fabrics I already had in my material collection. Many of the pictures showed the women wearing patterned dresses over long sleeved blue shirts, which became my starting point.
The look is accompanied with a tartan shawl (similar to my traditional Welsh doll) and heavily adorned jewellery, usually discs of metal. Her main piece of jewellery and bracelets were adapted from necklaces and beads I bought from a second hand store and the cloak is held together with a crescent button that I already had. This, I felt fit in nicely with the shamanic and magical element.
the machi headdress
The Machis’ outfit is completed with an elaborate and floral headpiece. My version was created from a piece of elasticated fabric, decorated with a handmade fabric flower and additional pieces of silver discs to echo her necklace using the same piece of adapted jewellery. To create her thick black hair, I cut up strips of old T-shirt material that I stretched slightly to encourage the fabric to curl a little and to soften any harsh edges.
exploring other cultures
This has been a great opportunity to explore clothing and culture from other traditions and at some point I would like to research and make other dolls inspired by people around the world.