Weaving her magic to create Jubilee gift


Ronnie Chameau with palmetto leaf doll for the Queen being received by Marc Telemaque.
By Jessie Moniz

The Queen now has something special from Bermuda to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee a handcrafted doll by Ronnie Chameau.
“This doll is crafted entirely from palmetto palm leaves as a special gift to Her Majesty the Queen on behalf of the people of Bermuda,” said Mrs Chameau who has been crafting dolls out of natural local materials for many years. “The palm leaves for the doll were gathered from the new growth of the palmetto tree.”
The doll took Mrs Chameau a month to create using a number of traditional techniques, such as fish pot weave for her dress. The doll wears a shawl and carries a basket with roses and an umbrella, all made from stripped palmetto leaves. Her head is made from Bermuda cedar.
The weaving for the doll was done while the palmetto leaves were moist, and then pressed between boards so that the weave stayed in place. Mrs Chameau also had some help from other crafters in the community the Bermuda cedar head and base were carved by Llewellyn Emery; the Bermuda cedar display case the doll occupies was lined with wood from the Pride of India tree and created by master craftsman Fred Phillips.
However, if the doll is put on display at Buckingham Palace she will never look upon the Queen, as she has no eyes.
“I do not paint faces on my dolls,” said Mrs Chameau. “I feel it is sacred. When one looks at the face, you see your own face or the face of your ancestor.”
Bermuda’s Diamond Jubilee Committee chair Major Marc Telemaque accepted the gift from Mrs Chameau.