Safe in Turkey

Just a quick note to reassure you that we are safe in Turkey, far from the earthquake. A funny thing happened while waiting for our flight to Istanbul in the Paris airport. A blog follower named Nobuco from Columbia (S. America) recognized me when we sat next to each other while waiting for our respective planes. I didn’t think I was noticeable, but she asked, “Are you the blogger who sews?”. One thing I have noticed about women my age outside of the US (or New England), is that there are very few of us who keep our hair naturally gray, so we stand out.

Turkey is an amazing country and I’m taking pictures to share later. We’re eating lots of figs.

And Clementines.

Posies exhibit at UConn

Travel Update: I just want to assure you that we are safe in the Mediterranean, off the coast of southwestern Turkey, far away from the earthquake. We heard about it from friends who have e-mailed. No one has said a word (in english) about it at any ports we’ve stayed at.  We’re having a wonderful time, by the way.
Travel Notice: I’m going on a trip to Turkey! So, see you back here in about 3 weeks (with pictures).
Radio Story:  Our local NPR station (WCAI) broadcasted a story about my work. Hear it here.

detail from "There was a Crooked Man"

We’ve delivered 39 framed original illustrations from my book Pocketful of Posies to the next stop on the tour. The work will be exhibited through Dec. 16 at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center Gallery at the University of Connecticut – Storrs. On Saturday, Nov. 12th, I will be giving a presentation at 10:15 am and signing books throughout the day, during the Connecticut Children’s Book Fair on campus. The Dodd Center isn’t normally open on weekends, but because I’ll be there on the 12th, the gallery will be open for visitors from 12 noon to 3pm. So, if you can only come during the weekend, this is your chance!
Storrs is about 3 hours from our home on Cape Cod, so we wrapped the artwork in bubble wrap and drove it over in our car. Terri Goldich, the curator and my husband Rob helped load the cart.
The gallery is a beautiful, clean space with wall and floor display cases. We tested the DVD of my Rabbitat film to make sure it played on their TV in the corner.  Terri hung the show after we left and it’s now open to the public Monday through Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm., through Dec. 16th. Again, the gallery will be open from 12 noon to 3pm on Saturday, Nov. 12th, when I’m at the book fair.
I’ll be away on a trip to Turkey, so there won’t be any new posts for about 3 weeks. But, I’ll bring back plenty of pictures!

Delectable Mountain

I’ve heard about Delectable Mountain for years and finally got to visit this past summer. We’ve gone to Brattleboro, Vermont a lot lately because of my show at the Brattleboro Museum. We’ll be heading there again this Saturday, Oct. 15th for my talk at 3:00 pm. I was glad to find out that both the museum and Delectable Mountain survived the storm (Irene) in August.

Delectable Mountain is not your ordinary fabric store. Everything is beautiful and luscious; silk, brocade, buttons, trims. There are no bolts of cotton to be found.

Old lady’s hats are displayed among the fine fabric, scarves and buttons.

Remnants of silk are bundled together and laid out in boxes.

Larger pieces are stacked in shelves.

Looking at this fabric makes me want to conjure up a special occasion to make a garment for.

While I was there, several husbands waited impatiently while their wives became more and more mesmerized. 

The button selection is to die for.

I liked the way they displayed the buttons in small glass dishes and  bowls. It all glistened and sparkled.

I bought some of these bone buttons, along with some pieces of cloth that I couldn’t live without. This shop is well worth a visit!

Portland, Maine

Last weekend, Rob and I visited our son Ian at his school, the Maine College of Art (MECA) in Portland, Maine. I got up early and walked around the city, taking pictures.

There is nothing like early morning light with its warm, soft glow.

We walked down one of the piers and ate breakfast at the Porthole Restaurant, which has been here since 1929.

We liked Portland and can see why it’s listed as one of the most livable cities in the country.

I love the moss growing on the roof.

Rabbitat – part 6 (rabbit characters)

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Originally, I was going to make human characters living in the drift wood house, but I kept imagining long ears sticking up from their heads, so they changed into a rabbit family. Hence the name Rabbitat (see film here). The mother and father dolls are about 4 inches tall and made with a bendable pipe-cleaner armature. The heads are made from wooden beads covered with wool felt. There’s a seam down the front of the face, under the embroidered nose.

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As soon as I added front teeth, they lost their bland cuteness and took on personality, or should I say rabbitality?

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Maybe I just identified with them more, having been a buck toothed child.

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The faces are embroidered, with glass bead eyes.

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The ears have fine wire sewn around the outside edge, so they can be bent expressively.

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The baby carriage is made from this wire, which is covered with a bark-like natural material I found at a florist supply business. The wheels are acorn caps with holes drilled in the center.

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I embroidered a carrot motif on the clothing.

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And let’s not forget the biggest character of all — the rabbit topiary.

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To see more posts in this series and to view the Rabbitat film click here.

Horn Book award

This past weekend my husband and I went to the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards ceremony at Simmons College in Boston. It was a wonderful event, with  the word’s nicest audience — children’s book people, librarians and teachers.

I accepted an award for my picture book, Pocketful of Posies and came home with this shiny engraved bowl. My name is even spelled correctly! I immediately filled it with some wee friends, as well as my mother’s old teddy bear.

As an award winner, I was asked to illustrate a cover of the The Horn Book Magazine, which will appear in their January 2012 issue. That same issue will publish this year’s award recipients’ speeches (including mine). Here is a peek at the illustration while I was working on it. I’ll show the finished product when it is published in the magazine in a few months. The magazine also plans on making it into a poster, which they’ll have available at meetings and conferences.

As you can see, I’ve formed the Horn Book title out of found objects and felt covered wire. I showed pictures of the process as part of my presentation at Saturday’s Colloquium at Simmons. I’ll be delivering the original to the photographer, Rick Kyle later this week and am looking forward to meeting him, since he did such a great job taking the pictures for my Posies book.

A great big thank you the Horn Book for the award and the opportunity to share my work on the January cover of the magazine!