Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Widow of Noirmoutier

This is my creation for my own challenge on Inspiration Avenue this week.  I adore dolls and all their symbolism and I challenged everyone to create something with dolls and I bet the entries will be as unique and diverse as the artists themselves!  Please visit Inspiration Avenue here and play along!

This doll is a widow doll from the island of Noirmoutier, just off the coast of France.  The island has whitewashed fisherman's houses with blackened wooden windows and shingle roofs.  I tried to capture the feel of the island in her little handmade cottage.

The main form of employment on the island used to be deep sea fishing. It is said that there are up to four generations of widows living on this island, at any given time.  They are all widows of fishermen lost at sea!  The widows of Noirmoutier are recognised by their black clothing.

You will see that this widow carries the keys of La Chaitelaine, the housekeeper.  She is a devoted follower of the Blessed Mother and Her Son and in her right hand she has a tiny chaplet.

She has a beautiful altar made from shells, a tiny cupboard with an iron, a copper kettle and some books, as well as her trusty black coal stove and red enamel pots.

You will also see that she has a widow's 'set' consisting of a widow's Bible and rosary.

Happy creating


  1. Your doll shrines are always gorgeous! I can see that you put so much time in researching and bringing these stories to life with so much rich detail. Thanks for a fun challenge this week!

  2. I'm always impressed with your assemblages, Hettiene. This one is no exception. Of course, I always appreciate the history lesson that is included as you show various parts of your piece. Thank you for pushing me beyond what I would have normally created this week.

  3. Awesome creation, wonderful details and symbolism, really exceptional!<3

  4. Your assemblage is wonderful. Thank you for including the story and bit of history, it allows me to see and understand the piece in more depth.


  5. Hi Hettienne,
    I tagged you on my blog! If you'd like to participate just come on over and read through the post.

  6. Your dolls are so detailed, beautiful and with meaning and symbolism. I always learn something as well from your beautiful posts!


  7. What a fun way to learn some history.....she's charming.

  8. Amazing detail! Lovely and very imaginative; good work.

  9. It's been nearly a month and I am a bit worried about you. After all, your lovely assemblages make my day.

  10. Come back soon! We miss you!
    Just saying.. :)



Thank you for your comments - I read each and every one! I have taken the word verification off - hope it makes it easier