New Home for Self Portrait

My Self Portrait is now on public display at the Woods Hole Public Library. It’s on semi-permanent loan and will hang there indefinitely, except when it needs to be borrowed occasionally for other shows, etc. Since many people have asked where they can see this piece, I decided to find an appropriate place  where it could be shared. The library seemed a fine match, with my work in children’s books and a childhood spent visiting this library.

Salley with her Self portrait in the library

I wrote about  Self Portrait: A Personal History of Fashion on my first blog post last fall, which you can see here. 18″ x 24″ posters are available from my Etsy Shop.

Woods Hole Public Library

The Woods Hole Public Library is located in Woods Hole, Massachusetts in the center of the village on Water Street. and the hours are pictured below. The Woods Hole Village Quilt, which I worked on and wrote about here, is on display as well. All are welcome to visit! I suggest that you call the library before making a trip, to make sure the piece is there, as I plan on removing it for short periods from time to time.

Woods Hole Public Library hours

Inspiration: Roses

Riding around on my bike in the early morning, I can’t help but revel in the show of both cultivated and wild roses around town. As a young person, I did not understand why my mother and grandmother got so excited about flowers. Sure, they were pretty, but why would you spend so much time and energy growing  arranging and gazing at them? As you can see, I’ve grown into a flower freak after all!  Here are some I saw and photographed in Woods Hole.

Close-ups (butterfies)

I slipped in this moth (actual size 3″), even though it’s not a butterfly. He was a character in a story called “The Great Cleanup” (1979), which I wrote about in an earlier post here.

Moth from “The Great Cleanup” 1979

This close-up is from the endpapers for Pocketful of Posies, which is shown more in an earlier post here.

detail from endpapers in “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

Here is another butterfly project, a felt purse from  Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects. The shiny dots are nail heads.

felt Purse from “Felt Wee Folk” 2003

This tiny butterfly (actual size is 1″) is a detail from my upcoming book, Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes. See the whole illustration for “Jumping Joan” here.

detail from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

Note: See other posts in the Close-ups series archive here.

Pocketful of borders (Jumping Joan)

Here’s the latest picture that I’ve prepared for framing from Pocketful of Posies. It’s the illustration for the short rhyme, “Here am I, Little Jumping Joan/ When nobody’s with me, I’m all alone”. 

"Jumping Joan" illustration from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

The original fabric relief is small (8 1/2″ square) and was enlarged to the printing size of 10″. Sometimes I want to have figures that are larger than wee folk size, so I have them blown up a bit. I made the original Jumping Joan as large as I could, using this technique (about 5″). The floss wrapped arms and legs don’t look right any bigger. 

detail of "Jumping Joan"

I tried out 2 different of shades of variegated pima cotton for the blanket stitched edging and chose the turquoise one. 

 

I then picked out some variegated embroidery floss to use in the chain stitching. 

 

Here are the top corner pieces, with a chain stitched curly cue line. 

 

I also chain stitched some loops along the scalloped side pieces. I wanted to give the whole border a lift, so I sewed on some 32 gauge cloth wrapped wire to the outside edge. 

I wanted the outside edge to have a crisp, defined quality, so I wrapped the wire with dark blue floss. 

 

I added my initials and the date to the bottom corners and sewed on wire, which was then wrapped with green floss. 

 

With the help of the wire, the finished border curves up like a plate. 

 

I thought it was finished and then my new order of upholstery fabric came in.  I’m excited about using these shades in future projects. 

 

I had run out of options from my stash, so I bought the minimum of 1 yard in a variety of patterns and colors. The people at the upholstery shop think I’m making pillows. It’s too hard to explain, so I didn’t correct them. 

 

I changed the background fabric from the brown to this pink and am much happier with the result. 

Note: See other posts from the Pocketful of Borders series here.

Poster Giveaway: Pocketful of Posies

Look what came in the mail last week! The marketing staff at Houghton Mifflin had 18″ x 18″ posters printed to promote my up-coming book, Pocketful of Posies. It was a complete surprise to me, and to celebrate this along with the summer solstice, I’d like to offer a Poster Giveaway to 3 of my readers (international addresses included).  Please leave a comment on this post by June 30th and the winners will be picked at random.

Peas in the garden

This is the first harvest of peas from my garden this summer! Lately, I only plant snap peas, having given up on the chore of shelling regular peas. Later in the season, I’ll be shelling Lima beans, though, which are just starting to climb like Jack’s bean stalk. One pea plant is a rogue, shooting up way beyond the Burpee’s Oregon Sugar Pod II plants.

It has a pink and white flower and we shall see what kind of pea it offers.

The sugar snap peas are so tender when they’re young.

Early in the season the pea plants are healthy and lush. In a few weeks, I’ll barely be able to keep up with the picking. When the leaves are forming, they look like fans or complex origami.

The plant’s tendrils remind me of hopelessly tangled and knotted thread.

Soon, the peas will be growing so fast that I’ll miss picking them while they’re small. There will more than we can eat, so it’s blanching and freezing time! See some of my artwork that includes peas in an earlier post here.

Wedding Banner (Karen & Graham)

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Update: See other banners with wrapped wire lettering here. Visit my Etsy Shop.

This summer I’ve been invited to two weddings, with the first being held on June 25th on Cape Cod. Both the bride and groom are  designers and I thought they would like something artsy and personal for a wedding gift.

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I started by writing out Karen & Graham in a flowing script and then enlarging it to a lower case height of about 1/2″ . Then, using long-nosed pliers, I bent some 32 gauge cloth wrapped wire, using the hand written lettering as a guide.

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This is a technique that I figured out while sewing the book cover design for my up-coming children’s book, Pocketful of Posies, which you can see here. I wanted letters that were raised enough to create shadows. And because the wire was a separate flexible piece, it was easy to move the words around for proper positioning on the artwork.

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After determining the size of the names and their placement, I cut out a square of orange wool felt and added my customary wavy edge and some cut out holes. I then wrapped the wire with 2-ply variegated embroidery floss, hiding the knots in the back.

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This is where I do most of my work, on an old ironing board.

The light green floss wrapped wire didn’t provide enough contrast with the background, so I wrapped a single strand of dark green floss around the wire, candy cane style.

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The banner was cut out of a light teal colored wool felt that matched Karen & Graham’s invitation. Then I blanket stitched around the orange felt edges with pink variegated embroidery floss. I chose some fish beads and a heart made of bone to decorate around the wedding date.

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Then I made some tiny 1/4″ roses following Mimi Kirchner’s great instructions from her easy felt rose tutorial. Some silk ribbon leaves were added, too.

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After I figured out how much space to leave for the date and beads, I cut out the scalloped bottom edge of the banner. The outside edge was blanket stitched with some variegated pima cotton (Caron Collection). From my collection of stuff, I picked out some more beads and some beach stone pendants with holes drilled in them to hang from the scallops.

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I then stitched the floss wrapped wire words and numbers in place and sewed the beads and stone pendants to the banner. It needed some color on the bottom to balance the orange square on top, so I added another clump of felt roses and silk ribbon leaves.

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I made a sleeve of felt at the top and slipped a piece of driftwood through. After drilling 2 holes in the driftwood, I threaded some pima cotton through and braided a strap for hanging the banner.

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Here is the finished banner, which I hope Karen & Graham will enjoy for many years!

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Doll Collection (Scandanavian couple)

I’d like to share these Scandinavian dolls from my family’s collection. They were either bought by my parents or grandparents in Europe. I have clear memories of playing with this pair of 5″ tall dolls. They are sturdy, with wire bodies and limbs, so they could actually do things, unlike Barbie dolls.

My blogging friend and official doll consultant, Helen from Dollzandthings says, “They look earlier than 50’s to me–maybe 40’s or even late 30’s. It is very hard to identify some of these costume/souvenir dolls because there were so many talented people making dolls–including souvenir dolls and cottage industries. Your dolls seem to have the cutest traits of all the doll makers combined:  great facial expression & painting and great costuming.”
Thank you, Helen for your help. I’ll be seeking your expertise with other dolls from the collection in the future.

Their heads and bodies are covered with stockinette. The clothing is either thin wool felt or cotton. The faces are delicately painted, with some needle sculpting around the mouth and eyes. I love their wispy hair.

Pocketful of borders (crooked man & black sheep)

Crooked Man from "Pocketful of Posies", Houghton Mifflin 2010

The borders for the illustrations from Pocketful of Posies are coming along faster now and I don’t always remember to take pictures of the process. Here are two finished pictures, starting with the “Crooked Man” rhyme, with all of the crooked things from the verse. In the book, the words from the verse will be printed on the orange felt background, traveling all around the center illustration clockwise. 

detail from "Crooked Man", "Pocketful of Posies", 2010

 I’ve added a crooked line of  tube beads to the border sides. The inside border of purple rick rack has a hand stitched edging of dark orange embroidery floss. 

detail from "Crooked Man", "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

  Here’s the crooked man, with his crooked cat and mouse.  

detail of "Crooked Man", Pocketful of Posies" 2010

 This is the illustration for “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep”. I made the original small, about 75% of the printed size of 10″ square. It need a larger border to balance the larger stretched upholstery fabric background, so I made the side pieces bulge out to fit the space more.   

"Baa, Baa, Black Sheep", "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

 To get an idea of the scale, the felt leaves are about  1″ long. These shades of orange and green are my favorite color combination. They’re definitely not my colors to wear (I’m a winter), but I find them pleasing to look at. See these colors in the post about my studio here

detail of "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

detail from "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep", "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

Note: See other posts from the Pocketful of Borders series here.

Close-ups (dogs)

Ceilidh

I’d like to present this group of dogs in honor of my pet and studio companion, Ceilidh, who died last month. Her name, pronounced Kay-lee, is from the Gaelic word for a folk music and dance party. This is the last photo I took of her this past winter, just before she turned 14.  She was a lab/golden mix and a real sweetheart who gave us many wonderful years.  

The first picture in the series is a faux tile I made in 1990 for our kitchen.  See all of the tiles on an earlier post here

Faux Tile, 1990

 This white dog is in the “Sidewalks” poem illustration from my book You and Me: Poems of Friendship.  

detail from "You and Me: Poems of Friendship" 1997

 Here’s the dog who laughed to see such sport in Hey, Diddle, Diddle!  

detail from "Hey, Diddle, Diddle!" 2005

This little dog is made from a key, hook eyes and other found objects. See an earlier post about the whole piece, “Walking the Dog”, here.   

detail from "Walking the Dog" 2005

This dog is dancing in a ring around the rosies from my upcoming book, Pocketful of Posies.  

detail from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

Note: See other posts in the Close-ups series archive here.