I was excited to receive a pdf preview copy of Barb’s book, The Way of the Dolls, both because I’ve been discussing the topic with her for years and because it a well-researched and designed, wonderful book…a Must Have for doll makers and anyone interested in the arts as a means of addressing self-awareness and creating personal change. Lush with pictures, brimming with history, psychology, and personal process, it includes works and discussion from both Barb and many of her students and fellow teachers.
The Way of the Dolls follows a logical process, citing research and combining that with examples, projects for creating 5 art dolls representing aspects of the self, plus well-defined Creative Actions to follow and expand the process of making art dolls.
Pamela Hastings, author and artist www.pamelahastings.com
The Healing Doll Way is an engaging and experiential read that empowers artists of any skill level to discover their own creative healing process through an introspective exploration of archetypes, metaphors, and symbolism. Barb’s insight helps readers to see their wounds and scars for what they are and visualize the possibility of feeling whole again through the creation and companionship of the dolls they create. There is a sense of Barb’s “holy spirit” woven through these pages. This is a sacred book well worth spending time with.
Nancy L. Raboin, LMFT, CTS, ATR- BC
Barb Kobe’s book captures the gestalt of art therapy: it is more than art therapy or art as therapy but integrates all aspects of art therapy into a larger gestalt that includes: the creative/ healing connection; the transformative power of a creative life; the awakening function of symbols and metaphors together with “how to” chapters that instruct clearly while leaving room for individual ‘creativity and growth; –all enriched and clarified by the colorful dolls that inhabit its pages. As a practicing art therapist for 37 years, I have rarely encountered such a multi-dimensional and comprehensive book about the essence of art therapy. It is essential reading for aspiring art therapists and personal growth seekers.
Joan Ungar, LP(MA)
If I purchased Barb Kobe's book, The Healing Doll Way, only to immerse myself in the beautiful and soulful imagery of her dolls, that would be enough. For they are beautiful, beautiful and mysterious in a way that touches one's heart, stills one's breath for a moment and invites one to mindfulness. Each colorful page opens to reveal yet another doll nudging the viewer to interpret its symbolism or wonder at the detail of its surface design. Stunning. Yet there is more to this book, and Barb's life work, than beauty. There are the stories.
First there is the story that Barb talks about her own determined journey to health and well-being through the making of art, specifically, for her, through the artful process of making dolls. But not just any dolls. These dolls are healing dolls made through a process that leads to self-revelation and discovery. They reflect on her questions, reveal her secrets, and encourage her celebrations. She openly shares those stories with us, the readers. As she tells her story, it's evident that she did the work, put in the 10,000-plus hours to become an expert, to find her voice. Then she wondered about teaching this process to others, which she did, and does. Once again, she put in 10,000-plus hours to become an expert at teaching the healing doll process. The result? More stories! Vulnerable stories. Captivating stories. Authentic stories. Powerful stories. Healing stories. As I read, I became immersed in that world, heard myself reflected in the stories that were shared, and ended up feeling less alone in the world and more in touch with myself, as well.
Just reading this book invites one to introspection and opens one to identify with the revelations that come through the healing doll process. But what about actually doing the work and taking the journey oneself? Barb suggests, well, she comes right out and says it, that one must do the work. Do the work oneself. This book is an amply illustrated workbook to encourage the reader to do just that. Each section is complete with suggested exercises and questions that mirror the experience of being in an in-person class. There are prompts for journal writings, a resource list and an extensive bibliography of books related to the healing arts. Plus, all of those photographs and stories bring that whole community of healing art doll makers to sit at the table beside you.
A pleasure. And it's so fun to get to read an advanced version. I was impressed! I knew that you knew a lot, but I didn’t quite grasp the depth and the connections and the amount of work that you’ve done. I knew, but I didn’t. Whew.
Storyclay Teller, Retreat Facilitator, Wee Folk Creations Product Designer and Author
This is a great book with a happy positive theme. and beautiful colored photos. It was much more than I had imagined. I have always had a unique connection to dolls, art, and psychology. I am a psychologist who makes dolls. I never thought of it as a spiritual connection --but now I do.
Barb Kobe's book is a treasure house full of beautiful images of spirit dolls, guidance for making dolls, stories, and examples from not only Barb's personal work, but also many other doll-makers, and catalysts for transformative work. The book is full of resources, brings a depth for understanding the journey of the doll-making process and how it moves through phases of exploration, along with lovely quotes on the benefits of creative work. Love seeing Barb's enthusiasm for this archetypal and embodied engagement of many sacred parts that contribute to our wholeness be shared in this life-affirming volume of wonder, wisdom, and whimsy!
The Healing Doll Way is astounding, an absolute joy! Every doll image -- and there are dozens -- has the magical quality of a compelling revelation. Again and again, I am taken by surprise. Each doll is me -- an unrepeatable, undeniable reflection of experiences deep in my own bones. It is everywoman, everyman.
Reading the stories and guidance alongside the images helps me understand what has birthed each doll and what it takes to enter one’s mythological, mystical womb to shape such a transformative creation. Barb Kobe proves herself to be a trustworthy midwife for medicine doll making.
Pat Samples, MA, MFA,
author of Body Odyssey and The Secret Wisdom of a Woman's Body
Beauty heals! Creating heals! Going into the mythical space and identifying with archetypes heals! Barbara Kobe is a veritable healer. She guides her students into their healing spaces, encourages them to create their alter ego to communicate and retract missing pieces.
I love her dolls, authentically and profoundly birthed through natural material like branches and found objects and her artistic expertise.
Barbara beautifully interweaves inner and outer realities with her dolls that we all can identify with.
I feel strongly touched by the “Inner Healer”, “Loving Kindness”, and her “Spirit Dolls”. Beauty, Spirituality and Healing combined. What a wonderful book, one of my favorites already!
Gunhild Lorenzen, M.A., psychologist, bestselling author (21 Soul Questions), international speaker on Creativity and Spirituality
In The Healing Doll Way Barb Kobe invites her readers into an amazing journey. As a guide, Barb prepares her readers by offering the foundational background necessary to embark on the creation of transformative healing dolls. Providing structure and incorporating the stories and vivid images of the many dolls /makers that have engaged in Barb’s process. She honors her own journey and those of her students, mentors, and colleagues. This is a beautiful guide and resource that is sure to enrich and inspire greater personal understanding and healing.
Jorie Kulseth, MA; Art Therapist Board Certified