Favourite things #50: daruma stack girl


  • Image of Favourite things #50: daruma stack girl
  • Image of Favourite things #50: daruma stack girl
  • Image of Favourite things #50: daruma stack girl

Artist's notes on style, materials and inspiration:

Total daruma love - this super tall wood girl is balancing a stack of decorated darumas on her head, and rocking a daruma face dress too. She is a celebratory number 50 in my Favourite Things series.

My 'favourite things' wood girl series share the places and things I love, a favourite motif, object or theme, or are inspired by a microseason.

The Japanese daruma doll is a much distilled and altered representation of Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk from India who is said to have brought Zen Buddhism to China and onwards. He is surrounded by legend, known for meditating for long periods of time, so much so in one version that he lost his arms and legs through atrophy - hence the limbless doll.

The Japanese folk talisman represents perseverance, because of the ability to tip back up the right way if knocked down, and goes alongside the Japanese proverb "fall down seven times, stand up eight" - no matter how many times you are knocked down by life, you must always try and get up. We have quite a few darumas in our house in different styles (not only the folk toy but also figures representing the Buddhist monk, as well as traditional kokeshi with daruma styling), to remind us to keep persevering.

The folk version also represents good fortune and the dolls are used as a way of goal setting, when you paint in one eye whilst focusing on your goal, and paint in the other eye when that goal is achieved (and if this happens the doll is often taken to a temple and burned in a ritual of thanks).

My wooden versions always have eyes - they have gone on to live their own lives, with wood girls - and this means hopefully you'll never have to burn them!

A note about 'Wood Girls'

My wood girls are turned by a production turner to my designs and then added to and hand painted in the U.K. by me, a British artist, exploring patterns and scenes encountered by me on my travels and in daily life. My pieces are painted in a naïve and simple style, with visible brush strokes and differing paint consistencies. It is important to note that these dolls are made from real wood which will have naturally occurring markings and grain, and sometimes there will be small amount of bleeding along the grain, or knots, which is to be expected when using untreated wood - please make sure you consult the pictures carefully before purchasing.

Hand painted and finished in a matt acrylic protective top coat.
Stamped underneath with roaring bear logo in blue ink, signed and dated 2023.
Approximately 35.5cm high.

Please note: THIS IS NOT A TOY and should be kept out of the reach of children. Wood girls should be kept away from water which can damage the wood and painted surface, and also away from direct heat/ sunlight which also can affect the surface colour and the timber itself.

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