Ah, the fascination of mushrooms, with their bizarre, alien quality. This group includes some real mushrooms I found and used as props and some I made. The first photgraph is of some mushroom houses that I made for a scene that was used in an educational reader illustration in 1979. To see more mushroom houses and read about the story in another post go here.
mushroom houses, 1979
Skip ahead 20 years to this photograph, which shows some of the first Blossom Fairies that I offered as kits in 1999.
Blossom Fairies on a mushroom, 1999
This is a pair of wee folk sitting in a cluster of mushrooms that were growing so fast that I had to run home and get my camera before they changed shape.
Wee Folk under mushroom, 2002
I molded the next mushroom from clay, glued kid leather on top and painted the leather red. For the photo shoot, I put some drops of glycerine on the mushroom to look like rain.
mushroom made from kid leather, 2005
This last one is from my up-coming book, Pocketful of Posies (Sept. 2010).
detail from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010
Note: See other posts in the Close-ups series archive here.
Here are 2 fabric relief pictures that incorporate the story of St. George and the Dragon. These pieces were personal projects and not made for an illustration job or to be published in a book. Both “George’s Chair” and “The Storyteller” illustrate the power of the imagination, one through reading a book and the other with storytelling.
The chair was made with worn upholstery fabric and sticks out about 1″ from the surface. It has a lace doily on top and the chair’s legs are polymer clay.
George’s chain mail hood is made from metallic fabric and his arms, legs and sword are wire wrapped with metallic thread. The princess has an acorn cap crown sprayed with gold paint.
Among my family treasures is a doll collection that came from my grandmother, Louise Salley Hartwell. My first name comes from my grandmother’s maiden name. As children, we weren’t allowed to touch most of the dolls, but just gaze at them high up in shelves. She found many of the dolls in her travels and collected them throughout her long life of almost 100 years. Here is a photograph of my grandmother on her Gramma Lou’s lap, with one of her sisters. Gramma Lou lived with the Salley family in Orangeburg, SC and taught all 5 daughters how to sew.
my grandmother, Louise Salley Hartwell, on lap (1892)
Here’s a group shot of some of the dolls from the collection.
from my grandmother's doll collection
This wooden doll is about 10″ tall and most likely has been in the family its whole life. I have no information about her, but she looks very old.
Her face is painted simply, but with an intense expression and it looks like moths have eaten her wool felt hat.
Inside the silk dress hem is a cloth tag that has this written: 35-25:100-M in red ink. Her legs and arms are simple wooden pegs.
She has such a delicate little sliver of a nose attached to the wooden head.
Wee Folk Studio went to the May Day Fairie Festival for a few years when we were still making fairy kits. We set up a tent and displayed many fairy related items. There were Blossom fairy kits, Ltd. edition dolls, note cards and books for sale. We don’t sell at fairs anymore, so we won’t be there this year, but I highly recommend going if you are at all interested in fairies and fantasy. The fair will be held April 30 – May 2nd this year at Spoutwood Farm in Pennsylvania.
Along with the 12 x 15 canvas tent, we transported a trailer full of trees, branches and vines to make an arched entryway. For me, decorating the tent , inside and out was as much an art project as making miniature dolls and illustrations.
Inside our tent, we set up tables and hung ivy and flower garlands. Here I am, early in the display phase, with the tree stump base.
We brought boxes of moss to use around the tree stump display, which I sprayed with water all weekend.
Some customers came in wearing these wonderful bark back packs. They said that they made them at a workshop.
This wooden rabbit has been around since my childhood and may have been my father’s toy in the 1920’s. The front leg joints have been repaired with a knotted cord. At about 4″ long, it’s easily held and manipulated by a child. I love the simple and durable form.
Thank you to all of you who read the 5-part story about my first book, The Way Home. Congratulations to the 3 winners of the giveaway! Nancy, Nikki and Carol have been selected at random and will each receive a signed copy of The Way Home. I had a lot of fun piecing together the past and would like to continue writing more stories about my other books, so keep visiting!