to the end of the world and back

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The experience of  being in Antarctica cannot be adequately conveyed in photographs and words. The continent is a truly awesome part of our planet, with an environment so different and extreme that my visit was as close to being on another planet as I’ll ever experience.  From the deck of our big comfortable boat, we saw this sailing ship, with some more adventurous tourists aboard. The monochromatic scenery was breathtakingly beautiful! And everywhere there was wild life to gawk at.

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We woke up a napping elephant seal pup.

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We had to bundle up, but the temperatures were mild for the end of the world–in the 30′s F.

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Being the height of summer, the sun was out most of the day and night.

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The elephant seals sang (or grunted), “There were 9 in the bed and the little one said, roll over, roll over.”

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Polly had a great time!polly

Throughout the frozen landscape, there were signs of growth, like these lichens and moss.

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mossThe adorable penguins won our hearts.

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And an occasional seal on an ice flow noticed our presence. Antarctica was worth the trip! My husband, Rob Goldsborough took many of the photographs I’ve shown from this trip. See more of his great pictures of Antarctica on Flickr.

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penguin pot holders

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Our trip to Antarctica has produced penguin fever! Luckily the local fabric shop had some penguin fabric to make pot holders, which I traditionally give for  Christmas. See a tutorial about making my style of pot holder here. I picked fabric scraps from my stash that reminded me of the Antarctic landscape, including a dark purple and blue Mari Mekko design I’ve had forever.

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Old cotton mattress pads work well for the padding.

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Striped sear sucker fabric cut on the bias finishes the outside edge.

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It’s time to wrap them in the penguin wrapping paper I found at the super market. Merry Christmas!

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Antarctica: birds

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We just flew into Logan after about 24 hours of traveling, beginning in Ashuaia, Argentina, to Santiago Chile, to Atlanta to Boston. After a day of flying and while we wait in the airport to catch the bus to the Cape, I thought I’d write a post and show you the splendid birds we saw in Antarctica. Some were seen from the boat and others we saw on land. Can you guess what they are? Answers at the end of this post.

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Birds, top to bottom: Cape petrel, Antarctic fulmar, Cape petrel, Giant Antarctic petrel, Giant Antarctic petrel, petrel, Giant Antarctic petrel.

Birds of Beebe Woods: robin

Back in the spring, when I started working on Birds of Beebe Woods, robins were in abundance,  hopping around the yard. After making the larger, dominant crow, I added a robin to the piece, placing it in the center, down on the ground. Compared to the smaller, realistic looking birds that were made later, the crow and robin’s bodies are more abstract, with stylized patterns on their wings and breast. My approach to rendering the birds seems to have changed during the 4 months that I worked on the piece. Toward the end, when I sewed the nuthatch, chickadee and warbler, I referred to photographs more closely and was caught up in making them identifiable and naturalistic. I like to combine realism and abstraction.

In keeping with the robin’s perky nature, I curved the bird like a sideways apostrophe, with its tail flaring upwards.  The red breast presented a opportunity to play around with warm tones and metallic thread.

To see more posts about the making of Birds of Beebe Woods, see the archives here. A 18″ x 24″ poster (pictured at the beginning of this post) is available through my Etsy Shop. Also, the piece is part of “Intimate Woods”, a fiber art exhibit at Highfield Hall in Falmouth, MA. through November 16, 2012. Then it will be on exhibit (along with 2 original illustrations from Pocketful of PosiesDecember 1st, 2nd, 7th, 8th and 9th at the Plymouth Antiquarian Society’s Fairy Christmas at Hedge House Museum, Plymouth, MA.