Posies show going to North Carolina!

detail from "There was a Crooked Man" from "Pocketful of Posies"

I’m excited to announce that the Pocketful of Posies Traveling Exhibit will be going to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains next year! 25 original fabric relief illustrations from the book will be exhibited from January 11 to February 23rd, 2013 at the  Foothills Arts Council in Elkin, North Carolina.

My goal was to have the “Posies” artwork travel to the west coast and the south, so I’m thrilled to add this show and the one in Fresno, CA. (see announcement here)

Inspiration– Molas #2

Last year, in a fit of organizing, I matted and framed a pile of my molas. They are from my mother’s collection and I’ve come to love and admire their meticulous and bold designs. A while ago, I wrote a post about other molas in my collection here. The black framed molas are now crowding the walls of our downstairs powder room. With no windows and damaging sunlight, it’s a good place to hang textiles. There isn’t a tub or shower, so humidity isn’t a problem, either.

Right now, the walls of the “Mola” room are white, but I plan on painting them a richer color to better compliment the frames. I could go wild, with borders and patterns, but right now I don’t have the time. It just feels good to have them all displayed together.

Baby Banner (Eliza Jane)

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My cousin John and his wife Mariana had a baby girl on March 1st, so I had to drop everything and make a baby banner for Eliza Jane. I took photos along the way, which give an idea of my process. It’s like the wedding banners I’ve been making for a few years. You can see all of them here.

I first made a simple pattern, with her name, birth date and weight written out. Then I cut out a smaller felt square and bent wire to form the letters and numbers.

I wrapped the wire with 2 strands of variegated embroidery floss, hiding the knots behind the curled ends. In this case, wire had to overlap to make the Z. I tried making the fancier lower case script Z, but it was hard to read, so I went with the simpler zigzag style. Below you can see how I made an orange stripe with another thread on top of the embroidery floss in JANE.

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I like using variegated thread to edge the felt.

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I made a narrow panel for a sheep button and some leaf beads.

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Glass leaf beads and a chain stitched vine fill the space between the words.

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I’ve had this ceramic sheep button for about 30 years. It’s so satisfying to put it to use in just the right place.

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I braided some Greek leather that I bought at a bead show and made a strap to hang the banner. Working with the leather reminded me of making gimp projects at camp. Remember gimp? What a weird material!

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Welcome to the world Eliza Jane!

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Turkey (people)

I’m still combing through pictures from last fall’s trip to Turkey and put together this collection of shots with people in them. From shop keepers, to waiters, to our boat crew, we came away with a very positive impression of the people we met and found their playfulness and humor disarming.

Melissa Sweet wins Golden Kite!

Congratulations to Melissa Sweet for winning the 2012 SCBWI Golden Kite award for picture book! Balloons Over Broadway is the wonderfully told and illustrated story of puppeteer Tony Sarg, the creative force behind Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. I had never heard of Mr. Sarg and haven’t seen the parade in New York, even on TV. The idea of watching TV during a family holiday was unthinkable while I was growing up. But, Melissa’s book has given me a new appreciation for the parade and the artistry behind it.

I love how Melissa combines watercolor paintings with collage and 3 dimensional objects. It’s encouraging to see sculptural illustration recognized this way. Melissa and I met years ago at a conference and I was struck by her unbounded creativity and willingness to experiment with all kinds of materials in her artwork. We’ve been in contact more recently, when I asked if I could use these images in my slide talk about the joys and challenges of 3 dimensional illustration. It turns out that we have the same publisher (Houghton Mifflin) and that both of our books were photographed by Rick Kyle of 5000K.

Reading and looking at the pictures in Balloons Over Broadway is a delightful experience. I’m so excited for you, Melissa!

Close-ups (sheep)

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It’s time to bring back the Close-ups. I started the series 2 years ago, when I fell off a ladder and broke my wrist. Using one hand, I wrote about and showed pictures of past projects, organized by theme. It helped me get through the 4 month recovery period, when I couldn’t sew. See the whole Close-ups series here.

Right now, I’m in hibernation, making parts that will be used in an animation my husband Rob and I are doing. This “little” project is growing into more than a winter activity, though, and it will be a long while before we’re finished. I want to wait until we have a finished film (probably a few minutes long) before we show anything, including process photos. I’ve got other art related commitments to take care of this year, so I’ll soon have to put the animation project aside until I have more time to get totally immersed.

Back to sheep–which are giving birth at this time of year. Maybe it’s their expressions, or their ears, or their white fluffy body balls with stick legs, but sheep are very satisfying to portray. This first image at the top of the post is a detail from my picture book Mary Had a Little Lamb. See more pictures from the book here. The one below is part of an embroidered piece I made in art school in 1974.

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These sheep from my 1986 Noah’s Ark fabric relief, show the beginning of my love affair with French knots.

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Here’s a simpler, appliqued version, which decorates a felt purse in my 2003 how-to book, Felt Wee Folk.

Then, there are several details from nursery rhymes in my 2010 picture book, Pocketful of Posies.

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