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The Goddess Speaks

By Charlene Bell

Tuesday, October 10, 2000

North Shore dolls
cultivate creative bond

WE call ourselves the North Shore Goddesses. While this may sound presumptuous and narcissistic, allow me to explain. We are a group of eight unique, charming and utterly gorgeous women. The chance that we could have met can only be explained by serendipity. We are all now either entering or in our "Fabulous Fifties" and come with different histories but are knitted together in this place in time by magical happenstance.

We cut our teeth growing up during the rebellious and tumultuous '60s, with the Vietnam War, student protests, Martin Luther King's dream, flower children and women's liberation. We have done almost everything and are not afraid to speak our minds ... . Some of us bemoan the fact that we do not remember the '70s; we were too busy having and raising babies. We are now approaching that stage of grace and wisdom that comes from surviving life's inevitable challenges with bravery and confidence. It is a period of life to be anticipated and envied by younger women.

The goddesses meet each Tuesday at the North Shore home of Marilyn Radzat, a doll sculptor who moved to Hawaii a few years ago to discover new aspects of creative expression in her art. It was she who invited us into her world of enchantment. She has lovingly and freely given of herself to allow the emergence of creativity burning within our souls.

The other goddesses are Ellen Fuller (craft designer), Mollie Geyer (collector), Marcia Mager (writer), Barbara Sant'Anna (retro-artist), Carollyn Sollas (watercolor artist) and Laura Tanoura-Olson (perfumer).

We feel privileged to share her cottage by the bay and enter her world of wonder. Every nook in her workshop is crammed with artistic expression in the form of beads, lace, sea glass, and antique fabric. We "ooh" and "aah" over her treasures.

OUR meetings involve rituals that inspire creativity. Braided Indian sweet grass is burned and passed over us for cleansing before we enter our sacred space. We bring a precious object from nature each week and arrange it on a mandala.

Next, we select a Zen card that is often surprisingly accurate in describing our current condition and offering guidance to help us find our way back to inner peace.

We gathered initially to create a figure that would represent our muse, or that spirit which inspires us. None of us had ever participated in this form of creativity before. The emergence of form and figure from lumps of clay also represented our transformation, a feeling perhaps similar to those of women who participated in community quilting bees of old. Connecting with other women in this manner has been a healing journey for each of us. There is a feeling of empowerment and liberation in this process of women helping women.

The initial chatter and sharing at the start of each meeting eventually gave way to meditative silence as we quietly worked on our dolls. We would often break our concentration to seek further inspiration by rearranging the objects comprising the mandala or by taking quiet beach walks.

Eight months later, the finished works surprised and amazed us. We held a showing at Marilyn's home for family and friends.

Creativity connects us to the divine within. We are, indeed, goddesses as we create. We will continue to make our weekly pilgrimage to the North Shore with joy, adorned with lavender toe nails and Austrian crystal bracelets, eating Brie and sushi, swooning over Italian love songs by Andrea Bocelli or wailing with Macy Gray for as long as Marilyn will have us.

Charlene Bell is a clinical
psychologist in Honolulu.

The Goddess Speaks runs every Tuesday
and is a column by and about women, our strengths, weaknesses,
quirks and quandaries. If you have something to say, write it and
send it to: The Goddess Speaks, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, P.O.
Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802, or send e-mail

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