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Tiled dove acts as ambassador for peace

Dorothy Parshall has been Freda the Peace Dove’s caretaker since June. The sculpture was created by the Port Townsend Society of Friends (Quakers) in 2005 in response to the Iraq War. - Patricia Duff / The Record
Dorothy Parshall has been Freda the Peace Dove’s caretaker since June. The sculpture was created by the Port Townsend Society of Friends (Quakers) in 2005 in response to the Iraq War.
— image credit: Patricia Duff / The Record

Freda the Peace Dove has been blessing Whidbey Island with her symbols of peace since early June. But the prophet of peace is getting ready to fly away soon to her next destination.

Freda, who’s name comes from the German word for peace, is a custom-made mosaic “Peace Dove” created by clay artist Phoebe Huffman and the Port Townsend Society of Friends (Quakers) in 2005 in response to the Iraq War.

Freda has been in the care of islander Dorothy Parshall this summer, where she has made appearances at Choochokam Arts, Aqua Chautauqua, the Tilth Farmers Market and regularly at the park-and-ride Women in Black Peace Vigil.

Parshall is also a Quaker and belongs to the Whidbey Island Worship Group of the Society of Friends.

“Quakers have been pacifists since the 1600s,” Parshall explained.

It makes sense that this group of like-minded citizens would band together to take action for peace, as the Quakers have rallied for peace from the beginning.

In 1660 a group of concerned Quakers presented a declaration to King Charles II.

Part of that document reads: “The occasion of war, and war itself (wherein envious men, who are lovers of themselves more than lovers of God, lust, kill, and desire to have men’s lives or estates) ariseth from lust all bloody principles and practices, as to our own particulars, we utterly deny; with all outward wars and strife, and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretense whatsoever; this is our testimony to the whole world.”

Parshall’s idea is that if people see Freda, who is adorned with tiles that have been painted with the word “peace” in 95 languages, that message will imprint on their brain and the concept of peace will remain.

“People’s reactions are positive, and people take pictures of their children sitting on her all the time,” she said.

“My favorite was from two young girls who said, ‘Oh, we’re doing a project on peace for school! We’ll go to the Web site.’”

Huffman created the sculpture along with her fellow Quaker worshipers who decorated the randomly placed “peace” tiles in languages as diverse as North Alaskan Inuktitut, Haitian Creole, Basque and Old Saxon.

Huffman made the dove out of rigid foam insulation scraps that she glued together and then carved with a small saw.

She covered the foam with mesh, added a light-weight concrete mixture, a layer of clay and then the tiles. Freda’s “feathers” consist of 1,060 tiles.

Huffman said it was a wonderful, fun community-building event that has created this traveling peace messenger.

The dove’s first outing was at the Port Townsend Earth Day Festival in March 2005.

The Port Townsend Society of Friends (Quakers) endorse Freda’s freewheeling nomadic existence and would like to see her spread her message of peace to as many places as possible.

The group is ready to have Freda visit a new town or to teach others how to make their own peace dove.

Call Huffman at 360-385-7071 or visit her Web site at www.phoebehuffman.com.

A journal is given to Freda’s temporary caretaker so her encounters may be written down and a blog is available for Freda fans to report their impressions of the peaceful dove at www.freda-peacedove.blogspot.com.

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