There’s been lots of activity in the studio since the valentine pilot gave an aerial tease of the new piece I’m currently working on. It now has a name, thanks to my husband Rob, who called it Rabbitat after I told him I was making a habitat for rabbits. This is not an illustration for a book, but a stand alone fabric relief picture. I’m still sewing parts of the scene, like this lilac bush.
I’m also working with some local filmmakers, the husband and wife team of Daniel Cojanu and Elise Hugus. I’ve hired them to make a 3 to 5 minute film about my artwork, with Rabbitat as the subject. Here they are, filming and recording the interview portion in my studio. See the finished film here.
The film will show my process of working, with a voice over of me explaining and describing what I do. It won’t really be a how-to, but more of a glimpse into what I think about art and the creative process. Here I am, setting up a shot with Daniel.
Not everything is sewn in place yet, so we played with the dolls. Here’s Daniel filming one of the rabbit characters.
We had fun twirling the rabbit around on the tripod, while the camera rolled. Daniel and Elise will come back and film some more when I’m finished making Rabitat. I hope to have the film finished in a few months, so I can show it on this blog and when I give presentations about my work. Until, then, I’ll give little glances of Rabbitat, but save the details for when the film is completed and ready to show.
I just got off the phone with Lin Oliver from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. The first thing she said was, “Are you sitting or standing?” I was sitting at my kitchen table, ready to eat a spoonful of homemade Portuguese kale soup when she told me the news that Pocketful of Posies has won the Golden Kite Award! I can honestly say that this was a complete surprise.
What is so special is that my book was selected by a jury of my peers. For those of you who may not be familiar with SCBWI, it’s an organization that helps writers and illustrators prepare for and navigate the baffling business of children’s book publishing. I’ve been a member since my first book, The Way Home came out 20 years ago (see post here), but you don’t have to be a published author or artist to join. I’ve been invited to accept the award and give a class at their annual conference in Los Angeles this August. The idea is still sinking in as I write this post. My editor, Margaret Raymo at Houghton Mifflin doesn’t even know yet. Tomorrow will be a busy day, with fitting in calls before and after my 11:00am book signing at the Cape Cod Children’s Museum. Thank you for this honor!
I’ve been cleaning up and organizing my fabric stash, which includes some old familiar prints. My mother made a jumper out of this folksy blue fabric that my sister and I both wore.
I remember wearing a dress out of this red pattern in about 3rd grade. It was in the days when girls had to wear dresses to school. We would put shorts on underneath, so that we could climb the jungle jim!
This black fabric was a skirt.
We used a lot of Marimekko fabric in the 60’s. The memories are strong. It’s hard to choose what to keep and what to part with.
On the next two Thursdays, I’ll be signing copies of Pocketful of Posies at 2 locations in Massachusetts. I hope to meet some of you there!
"Little Miss Muffet" from Pocketful of Posies, 2010
On Thursday, February 24, at 11:00 am, I’ll be at the Cape Cod Children’s Museum in Mashpee, MA. 16 original illustrations from Pocketful of Posies (including Little Miss Muffet) are currently on display until March 31st. See other venues for the Traveling Exhibit here.
Also, I’ll talk about my work and bring some original illustrations to show on Thursday, March 3rd at 7:00 pm, at the Andover Bookstore in Andover, MA.
Happy Valentine’s Day!I found this cute old valentine in my mother’s things. The pilot and her feline co-pilot are flying over my work table, which is covered with a new project I’ve been working on since the new year. I know its cruel to tease like this, but I wanted to show that I’ve been working. It’s a large piece and will probably take most of the winter to complete. I’m the type who needs to finish a project before showing any one. I’ve been taking pictures along the way, though. I find that I am lost in that magical creative space for long lengths of time and forget to step out of myself in order to take pictures, but I’m trying my best. This project is an ever-changing experiment, something I want to experience, without having to explain what’s happening during the process. That can come later. I’ll tell this much– there are rabbits involved!
The first image is a detail from an embroidered illustration I made for a class in 1974. The assignment was to make an album cover for a made-up band. Mine pictured a kind of folk/rock/ renaissance musical group with a landscape and castle in the background. I think this was the first totally stitched scene I made. I found a stitching how-to book at the library and followed the directions. Before this all of my embroidery was embellishment on blue jeans and other clothing.
A couple of decades later, I made this sand castle for the book, You and Me. The beach sand is made from raw silk that I dyed with a spray bottle. And yes, those are real beach stones glued to the fabric.
detail from “You and Me” 1997
Here’s George reading a fantasy story with my favorite castle design on the cover. I got out my old stack of Color Aid paper to make the book.
This castle is from a royal scene I made for a doll magazine in 2000. The fleur-de-lis on the castle door is a nail head. The project was in The Cloth Doll, Volume 14, number 2.
The next 2 closeups are from my newest picture book, Pocketful of Posies.
In this one from Old King Cole, I use a combination of clay beads and wool felt to make the stone wall. And the fiddle is made from felt.