The best laid plans

Full Cora heavy shadow

I mentioned on the last blog post that I am training to be a human celebrant.  Essentially this means that I am training to do secular christenings or namings, as we call them.  You could also call them welcomings.  Children are named and welcomed into their families and the equivalent of godparents are appointed.  They are good if parents aren’t religious, or if they come from different faith traditions, or they want the child to be able to choose for themselves later on.  I asked my mentor why people would choose to have a ceremony at all if they don’t believe, expecting her to come up with a philosophical answer about the need for ritual and marking life stages and so on, but she said that essentially it is a day for celebration and basically for having a party.  Fair enough.  Anyway, that it is what I am hoping to do next year.  I am 7/8ths of my way through my training which I have loved.

Now, I don’t want to spend much time on this because this is a textile blog, and not a humanist one, but I do have a problem.  Because I am starting out, I don’t have much to put on my website or facebook page or all the other media things you have to do these days to advertise your services.  So, I thought that I could have pictures of toys, particularly as people are rightly reluctant to let you put photos of their children on the web without express and detailed permission.  I thought it would be good to make some of these toys to photograph and so sat down to make some.  The results have been rather startling in several cases which I will post as I get round to it, but this one has been particularly interesting.  Meet Cora:

Cora without shadows

Cora here is so called because the stitches on her chest turned into a heart:

Cora chest

She is meant to be a nice plushie for a small child.  The only problem is that she has this fantastic snout, like a wolf:

Cora heavy shadow

And those beautifully embroidered (if I say so myself) eyes which a baby cannot chew off, but which are beady and rather sinister.  She does like to dance in the sunshine:

Cora dancing in a funny light

But even the Medieval Historian, my staunchest supporter, thought she was a bit sinister.

On the positive side, she is made from a remnant of something I bought in Stof and Stil’s sale, which is a brilliant fabric, pure wool, I think, which does not fray and is tougher and nicer than felt.  I have no idea what it is.  Would it be Melton?

More to come, particularly pigs.


4 thoughts on “The best laid plans

  1. I don’t find her sinister at all, rather cute, looking forward to the pigs, I have a fondness for them. Its great that you are training to do naming ceremonies, neither of my children have been baptised and there were no alternatives so they just have unofficial guardians.

  2. Just think, a baby will see that snout as an extra handle. Why would they see it as sinister if they have not experienced sinister? Keep up the good work and I shall keep reading and enjoying.

  3. yeah, that snout looks a bit crocodiley to me. However, it’s definitely the kind of gift I’d give to a family of a newborn in my role as “avant-garde aunt.”

    re: ritual — I’d probably be somewhere in between you and your mentor. I think a lot of people feel like they should be celebrating something, not least because there are pictures and memories of their own celebrations. So in a way the desire to throw a party reflects that need for milestones (liminal moments as the anthropologists cause them). I remember a friend of mine who never got married threw a big 30th birthday part for herself with the justification that she never got to have the wedding party so she was going to have this one and put it in that place. All the same people came, it was the same level of formality, just without the wedding and its associated rituals.

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