RISD Holiday Art Sale

I will be selling and signing books at booth #110 at the RISD Holiday Art Sale , this Saturday, December 3, from 10am – 5pm, at the Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence, RI 

 

Posters for the first 25 customers who buy a copy of Pocketful of Posies. Free notecard with every book purchase. Out-of-print books for sale: In the Heart, Mary Had a Little Lamb and Wee Willie Winkie. Original fabric relief illustrations on display. I hope to see you there!

Pansy, the last fairy

For the past few months, I’ve been wrapping legs, sewing felt tunics and painting faces for a new Ltd. Edition fairy doll. During those months, I found it harder and harder to find the time to work on the 25 dolls and kept putting them aside. Even though I still like making them, I’d rather be working on other projects, so I made the decision that PANSY would be the last fairy design in this series. It’s true, I won’t be making any more dolls to sell. Last week, I sent an e-mail announcement to those who asked to be put on a mailing list and all 25 have already sold. It has been a joy to create the dolls and I thank all of you who have purchased other wee folk characters. Over the past 8 years, I’ve made 21 different designs and sewed 750 individual dolls. 

Since the age of 12, I’ve been making and selling things, often mass producing large quantities of the same item. My little factory began with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band playing on the record player and now I work to the sound of Rosanne Cash. It’s time for a change, but I wanted to make one more fairy before devoting 100% of my studio time to my fabric relief artwork. Here are some photos of PANSY in the making.

Turkey (the country, that is)

We took over 1000 pictures on our recent trip to Turkey, so I’m busy editing them down to a manageable number. I’ll be showing selected photos during the next month or so. Today’s group shows a variety of places we visited during our 2 1/2 week trip and is a preview of what’s to come. And Happy Thanksgiving or turkey day, as we say here in America!

NE SCBWI Illustrator Day

My husband Rob and I had lunch at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, NH this past Saturday. We were in town, just about to head around the corner to the New Hampshire Institute of Art where I was giving a speech for New England SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Illustrator Day. We found out that the Red Arrow is rated one of the top 10 diners in America. On the wall, we saw lots of photos of our waitress Elaine, taken with Presidential candidates during Primary seasons of the past. So, we thought it would be fun to take her picture during our visit. Our rosy glow is from a red neon sign next to our booth. Off to the right of the picture, you can just see a photo of her with Al Gore.

We were so busy setting up our presentation and meeting people at the SCBWI event, that we forgot to take pictures. I enjoyed meeting book designer Carol Goldenberg, who I’ve heard about for years. Her talk showed all that goes into making a book from a designer’s point of view. I was so excited when she showed the evolution of the cover design for Beth Krommes’ The House in the Night. Beth and I were both printmaking students at Syracuse U., before I transferred to RISD and we’ve kept in touch since. All of her books are wonderful! I scanned my copy, which I bought when the book first came out, before it won the Caldecott and had gold stickers put on.

  

I talked about my development as an artist from childhood to the present. I spoke about the challenge of fitting into the illustration world when your artwork isn’t the usual watercolor paintings. I used Melissa Sweet’s new book, Balloons Over Broadway as an example of someone who is taking risks with her illustration, combining collage, sculpture and watercolor painting. In this book, she tells the story of Tony Sarg, the puppeteer behind Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

She made toys and puppets to go along with the text and set up these delightful assemblages. Too fun!

I have a little break until the next event–RISD’s Holiday Sale, Rhode Island Convention Center, Saturday, Dec 3rd.

Connecticut Book Fair

This past Saturday I gave a talk and signed books at the Connecticut Children’s Book Fair, which is held every year at the UConn campus in Storrs. It’s a big affair, with about 20 different authors and illustrators giving presentations. Just before my slide talk was about to start, I learned that the ordered cartons of my book, Pocketful of Posies, had not arrived. They had a few copies of Posies (from the UConn Coop), some Felt Wee Folk and Hey, Diddle, Diddle!, but that would be it. I was stunned for about 30 seconds and then decided that I wasn’t going to let this taint my weekend at the fair. People had come to see me and I would give my talk and spend time meeting them even if there wasn’t a stack of books to sign. I had brought posters, so I signed those instead of the Posies book. I met some really nice people and one woman told me that she drove 3 hours to come see my exhibit and hear my 10:15 am talk! And my husband Rob had a great time schmoozing with the other authors and illustrators and their spouses. Oh, see my new leather and carpet purse from Turkey on the table next to me.

The highlight of the evening banquet was seeing my former teacher, David Macaulay. He was one of the authors at the fair and I was hoping to have a chance to talk to him. It had been about a dozen years since we saw each other last, so we had a really nice chat, catching up and reminiscing about RISD days. I was surprised when he pointed to his lapel pin, which looked vaguely familiar. It was a stuffed cloth pyramid that I gave him when I was his student in about 1977!  His Pyramid book came out around that time. 

I had completely forgotten about making it. He knew I was going to be at the fair, so he wore it! I was so touched by his thoughtfulness. I spent the rest of the evening floating on air. Read about my pins here.

We saw the exhibit of my original illustrations from Pocketful of Posies on campus, at the Dodd Center.

Here’s the sign at the entrance to the gallery.

The space is perfect for small work, with lots of cases and good lighting. The curator, Terri Goldich did a great job fitting 39 illustrations into the gallery. There are some comfy chairs and a small TV at the back where you can sit and watch my Rabbitat film, too. 

A visit to Mimi’s

I’m still catching up on writing about last week activities and will soon get to last weekend’s Conn. Book Fair and also post more pictures from my trip to Turkey.

I visited the talented doll and pin cushion maker Mimi Kirchner in Arlington, Mass. As you may remember from previous posts, Mimi inspired me to start this blog. This is the first time I’ve seen her new studio since she moved in. It was good to see that she has totally taken over the room. Unlike her previous quarters in the attic, she has heat and windows to look out of! Like her attic space, it’s chockfull of materials and inspiring objects. Downstairs, her inventory of Wee World pin cushions in tea cups were lined up on the piano.

And some dolls were piled in a wicker baby buggy. You can read more about Mimi and her work on her blog here.

visit to Horn Book

Last Tuesday, I visited the Horn Book Magazine’s office in Boston. I went to pick up my original artwork, which will be on the cover of their January issue. Designer Lolly Robinson showed it to me on the computer and it looks great! Editor in Chief Roger Sutton and I held up the original for a snap shot before I took it home.

The whole staff had lunch together around the big wooden table and we talked about our common love–children’s books. There were many posters and magazine covers hung up around the space. I was happy to see my college friend Beth Krommes’ cover from her Caldecott winning The House in the Night. (top row, center left) he new book, Swirl by Swirl is amazing!

Lolly took a closeup photo of me sewing a little hand. It’ll appear alongside my Horn Book Award speech, which will be printed in the January issue. I don’t have a picture of the thread wrapping process in such small-scale, so its nice to be able to show it here.