Goddesses of Protection


If you’ve been following along at Little Cunning Plan you’ll remember that I’ve been working on some crafts that I’m hoping to sell through this website. I wanted something that I could enjoy doing, would be able to do on the boat if I wanted to, would be easy to ship, and would be attractive to cruisers; even something that I might trade for goods or services, or give to a host in another country.  Most of the craft stuff I’ve done recently involves large batches of cement and hundreds of bottles of paint. That’s out, naturally. I had to come up with something different.

I’m not even going to try to explain how my mind works. It’s a mystery even to me. Suffice to say I came up with an idea that is rooted in the mythologies of many countries: the myths about goddesses that protect ocean voyages, fishermen, and sailors. The idea started off with mermaids, those universally loved beauties of the sea of The Little Mermaid fame, and evolved from there.

Celeste is the last one I've made so far and I'm pleased with her overall. She has recycled sari silk for hair, a fabric head and painted face, which I've been learning to do, toille fins, and a real amethyst in her belly button. I'm pretty happy with the techniques for this doll and am working to refine them. I like the fabric heads and faces, but still want to learn how to do felt ones.

Using wool felt and the down time given me during the recent storm, I created a mermaid and called it good. The idea would work. Then I decided to play with fabric and other materials, combining them with the felted wool. ‘Personalities’ began to emerge in the dolls.  When that happened, the real fun began. By ‘fun’ I mean the gathering of supplies, reading of books about techniques, practicing said techniques and making them my own, then getting fancy with all the stuff.  Fun, to me, is challenging the limits of materials to see what I can do with them. I’m always challenging limits. Just ask Mike. (And any of my previous bosses, or even my mother.)

The result is only a beginning, but I’m liking the progress so far. I think the dolls just keep getting better as I refine techniques and become more experienced.  I’m hoping that cruisers will be attracted to having a ‘boat goddess’ the same way we used to have kitchen ‘witches’ to watch over the cooking of our food.

Milicent, the pregnant mermaid. Made completely of felted wool. She is very hug-able and would make a good doll for a young child.

Some will be made in the image of actual goddesses from mythology such as Mazu and Nehalennia, and Amphitrite. Even Isis, the Egyptian goddess, was the patron goddess of sailors. Others may be made as generic goddesses that will offer their protection if offered a name and place on a boat. Perhaps I might even make an ocean goddess that would match a boat’s name and ‘personality’, as described by the owners. For instance, I have a vision of a goddess for our new friends aboard S/V Emerald Lady. She’s all blues and greens with matching beaded accents and long, flowing fins to match the lines of the beautiful boat. She’s mature and elegant, with dark hair,  not unlike the Empress from the tarot.


Sekou. This one didn't have a face for a long time. I didn't want to ruin her by putting a wool face that didn't look good. I was experimenting with squid-like tentacles on this one, using lichen in the hair to mimic seaweed, beading, and fabric clothing. She's pretty fancy and needed a fancy face. So I sewed one on. I can refine that technique quite a bit, but I think eventually it will work. I'm not sure this face really works with this doll, though. I may need to take it off and do another one.











These are samples of what I’ve been working on. Obviously they are not ready for the alter of retail yet as I’m still working on technique and design. But I think I’m getting close and would like feedback from the readers we have. What do you like about them? What doesn’t work for you? Do you have any ideas that would expand or refine any aspect of the overall plan? If you are a cruiser, is this idea something that appeals to you? In terms of marketing, they’ll be available through this website, but likely will be linked to this one from other sites such as Etsy, Ebay, and Craigslist. Let me know what you think. And thanks for the input!








17 thoughts on “Goddesses of Protection

  1. Hey Melissa. The mermaids are wonderful!!!! Would you be willing to sell me a Goddess of Health, or a Goddess of Protection? You have such amazing talent. I especially like the combination of materials you use. No changes suggested. These are great!!!!!!!

  2. Although, as Christian, I am not comfortable with the whole “Goddess” and idol aspect of these dolls – I think they’re stunning. You’re very talented!! And I think the face on the one with the seaweed hair is perfect. She reminds me of a BVI native – she has that look.

    • No worries, Sandra. These are not ‘serious’ goddesses, just for fun. Sort of paying homage to the world’s mythologies. Glad you like the face on that one. I thought maybe it was a bit too much.

  3. These are very beautiful… and the eyes look like Claire, especially the first one.
    Can’t one be a Christian and still like goddesses??? I can’t remember when you didn’t push limits… I think you were encouraged to….

    • Mom! Nice to have you commenting! I thought Celeste looked a little like Claire, too. I am working on one for Green Lady for when they cast off.

  4. I have been a Christian for 83 1/2 yrs and I believe in goddesses. The Bible says “no other gods before Me” nothing about goddesses. Celeste is great as is; Milicent is perfect but I agree with you, Melissa, Sekou does need a face change. Her face shouts so loud it drowns out her fantastic seaweed locks. How about much smaller eyes and lips then her face will be nested in the hair instead of in front of it.

  5. Hmm, well the jury’s out on Sekou. One for, one against. I’ll let her be for awhile. I do want her to look like an island native, so maybe if I can keep that look but maybe make it smaller. Or maybe I’ll just make another one!

  6. They’re wonderful! How big are they, actually?
    And, I love the eyes Sekou has, and her beaded top (sorta reminds me of Pirates of the Caribbean-that goddess-type person-who was she???) What seems different to me about her is something about her hands or arms. I don’t know what, exactly, but maybe she needs longer fingers. In any case, if you do redo the eyes, save that set to use again (creepy as that sort of sounds….) with a different doll as they are very expressive.

    I’d like to see a menagerie of sea creatures to go along with your goddesses- sea horses, octopi and squids, starfish, anemones, fish. I’m imagining mobiles hanging over cribs with soft felt octopi, jewel-y seahorses.

    I also think you should do a land-series, of garden protectors. Share a little of the magic of your garden. 😉 The land-series would only be available until you leave…

  7. Hi Sue, glad you like them! Funny you should mention the sea creatures, but I’ve been thinking about that, especially when I get around to doing Amphitrite, who is generally depicted with dolphins and seahorses. I’ve also been thinking of how I can decorate some of the clothing with seastars, etc. I’m working on those ideas.
    Garden protectors, hm? They would have to be more fairy-like I suppose. And at this point I’m not doing ‘hands’ or ‘feet’ as it’s really hard to do that with felt. But I’ll play with the ideas a bit and see where they take me. One thing I have to bear in mind is that I do hope to sell these at one point and already they are taking longer and longer to make as the details get more and more. The one I’m working on now I have about 18 hours into already, and she isn’t finished. But I am loving her already! Will post a photo of her soon.

  8. Hi Melissa. I agree with Sue those eyes on Sekou are beautiful they just need to be about half that size and the mouth too. Save those eyes and mouth for a goddess with hair like Milicent. And by the way you nailed the nose on Sekou. I also join Sue in hoping you branch out to sea creatures. How about a seahorse first. FYI I’d like to buy a Sekou with a smaller face if you decide to create one.

    • I’ll see what I can do, Betty. I think part of the issue with this doll is that I added the face after I’d made the doll. It was meant for a felt face. In person, she looks a little like she is wearing a monkey suit because the face and neck are different fabrics I’m discovering that it’s going to be easiest and best if I make the heads entirely separately from the bodies, then attach them. Oh also meant to respond to Sue regarding their size. They are a little bigger than a barbie doll. Sekou is the largest, at about 16″. Celeste is about 13 inches.

  9. Okay Melissa, having seen Sekou in person again my hat’s off to you she is perfect just as she is. And by the way I never felt any imbalance between the color of her skin and ths color of her face.

  10. 12-16′ is a good size for a doll-big enough, not too big.

    I think it’s great you’re thinking about sea creatures as well!! Excited to see them all! (As far as land/air based ones, I’d like to see one with wings, a silver watering can, and a slightly floppy gardening hat….. I could use a fairy of watering.. 😉 )

    I also think that you’re in the intensive thinking phase of this. You’re working through challenges right now. I feel pretty confident that as you figure it out, the time to make each one will come down dramatically. 🙂

    Y’know, I didn’t consciously notice the color difference on Sekou at all. I was wondering if it was a texture difference between the face and the arms that I noticed.

    Looking forward to seeing more of them!

  11. Thanks! I agree Celeste is the best of the ones on this page, but I have some new ones that are even better. I’m working on a page on this site for the Goddesses. They are getting really good! I’m excited and pretty much can’t put them down. It’s like playing Barbies, only way better.

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