My circa 1975 dollhouse is getting spruced up for the holidays. I was asked to bring it over to Highfield Hall and have it on display during their 10 day Holidays at Highfield event (Nov. 29 – Dec. 8, 2013). It’s been a while since the house has been out in public, so I thought I’d fix it up for the occasion. I added some green shutters and trim and decorated the plain pink triangle under the roof with a painted foliage design.
I made this dollhouse one summer vacation, between years in art school. Following a plan in a book, I cut the wood pieces and constructed it in my father’s workshop in our basement. I can remember being so engrossed in the project that would lie in bed at night thinking about how I would decorate the rooms. I remember feeling guilty, because I thought I should be focused on finding a boy friend, instead of dreaming about a dollhouse! Years later, I’m still dreaming about making art.
It was so much fun to make back then and it’s still fun to work on now. The doll house family is new–they will be included in my new version of Felt Wee Folk. As I’ve written before, I can’t show detailed photos of the dolls until 2015, when the book is published and my designs are protected by registered copyrights.
I’ve added evergreen garlands and Christmas lights to the house and the Small family is busy decorating their tree, cooking and wrapping presents. To keep little (and big) hands away, the rooms will be covered with Plexiglas. To see more decorations and who’s come to visit, scroll down to the end of this post.
My Pocketful of Posies tree (see last year’s posts here) will also be on display during the 10 day event. I hope that some of you will be able to join the festivities at Highfield this season!
On Monday, Rob and I drove to the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis, Massachusetts, which is about an hour drive down Cape from Falmouth. We delivered 25 original illustrations from Pocketful of Posies, which will be displayed from now until January 26, 2014. My exhibit is in a gallery space just off of the main room of the museum. It’s an intimate, bright space, painted in a warm golden color, which is perfect for my small pieces. We placed the frames in groups on the floor in front of the walls, to be hung later by the museum staff.
I brought some dolls and objects to put in a nice display case in the corner. I wish that Rob had told me to pull down my shirt in back for the photo, but he doesn’t notice those kind of things.
I’m glad to have the opportunity to show some of my sculptural work in the case, which spans from 1979 to the present. Soon, I’ll be heading back to the museum, so that I can speak to the docents and give them some background information about the exhibit. At that time, it’ll be a good opportunity to take more pictures of the show all hung. And then, after the holidays, I’ll return to give an artist talk to the public on Sat., January 4th at 2:00 pm. I hope that some of you live close enough to see the show!
I just wanted to show that I am indeed working in my studio these days, a lot. Every day, if I can manage it. I’m so tempted to show what I’m making in detail, because it’s exciting and fun, but that will have to wait until 2015, when my updated version of Felt Wee Folk will be published. With design pirating in the news (see Mimi Kirchner’s post about the Cody Foster situation here), I have to be more protective of my ideas, so I’m showing pictures with the dolls at a good arms length. The book’s deadline is only a few months away and I have so much to do before then! There are more new projects to make, rewriting and adding more directions, constructing scenes for photographing finished dolls, as well as getting good photos. Phew! I’m getting nervous, just typing these words.
I recently put together a set to display a group of new dolls for the book. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what’s involved. As you can see, the domed hill top is an upside down wooden bowl, which is raised up with blocks of wood and covered with pieces of green felt. I brought the whole scene outside to have it’s photo taken. We had a short window of time to do the photography. The day before had been so windy that chairs were knocked over on our patio. Yesterday’s calm, cloud filled sky gave us even light, so I rushed to set everything up. It took about an hour to cover the hillside with moss and position the dolls.
I propped up a foam core board with felt attached for the background sky. Rob took photos of the scene.
Here are some more photos taken at a respectable distance. I’m reusing the precious moss in several scenes. As long as I keep working at this pace, I’ll get the book done in time.
Polly had many adventures in Ireland. She saw lots of stone ruins, castles, waterfalls and moss. She joined her companions for meals and drinks of Guinness and visited Yeats’ grave and statue. She encountered thistle, heather and wool knit sweaters and even met another Polly!
I really can’t believe that 10 years have gone by since Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects was published! I’m grateful that it has had such a good run and is still in print. I’ve said repeatedly that I won’t be writing another how-to book and that I want to focus on exploring my art form. I still want to continue on that path, but the practical side of me has decided to take some time this year to update Felt Wee Folk. I want to do what I can to keep the book in print for at least another 10 years.
In the 2nd edition, the popular projects, like the fairies and dolls will remain and the non-doll felt projects will be replaced with new varieties of wee folk characters and more doll-making tips. This all doll version will have a new cover and about 30 more pages than the first edition. The second edition will feature many new projects for seasoned wee folk makers as well as yet-to-be converts, who are just beginning to learn how to wrap pipe-cleaner limbs. We don’t have a definite date for publication, but with the work I still have to do, combined with C&T’s production time, the book should be on the shelves sometime in 2015. And because the information is propitiatory, I won’t be able to show the new projects I’m designing until the book comes out. Sorry, but that’s how these things work.
For now, Amazon is selling print-on-demand copies of Felt Wee Folk. They don’t mention that it’s print-on-demand, but it is. They also have a Kindle version. The book’s publisher, C&T sells an e-book version, too. Downloading the book may be the easiest way for people from around the world to obtain the information without paying for overseas postage.
I have a limited number of the high quality original edition in my Etsy Shop and will switch over to selling the print-on-demand version when those run out. Don’t worry, the felt purses, pins, etc. will not disappear - they’ll be available separately as downloads from C&T’s Pattern Spot, when the new edition is published. So, please be patient and enjoy the first edition for another couple of years!
Debbie from A Child’s Dream Come True just sent some beautiful wool felt samples for me to use in the new projects. This is going to be fun!
Have you seen my new prints, which feature projects from Felt Wee Folk? “Humankind” and “Adopt the pace of nature” are available in my Etsy Shop.
Print – Humankind
print – Adopt the pace
Print – Humankind
I’ve recently added two new archival prints to my Etsy shop. I enjoyed researching lesser known inspirational quotes to go with my artwork. The first image surrounds T.S. Eliot’s remark with an array of fantasy characters from my how-to book Felt Wee Folk. The milkweed fairy below was originally used in the background of Felt Wee Folk’s title page and is now the focus of Emerson’s wise words. The watermarks will NOT appear on the prints. I’m am slowly adding identifying watermarks to my digital images on this blog. Aesthetically, I don’t like it, but with my images being shared all over the internet, I have to do what I can to protect my work from becoming just an anonymous picture with no trace of origin.
print – Adopt the pace
Polly doll saw a lot of dry and wet places on her recent trip to California. Dry vineyards in Paso Robles.Green grass and railroad tracks somewhere between San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles.
Misty and moist Bridal veil falls in Yosemite.
Another magnificent waterfall in Yosemite.
And soft and furry sequoia trees in Yosemite!
This close-up of a wee milkweed baby is also pictured in my newest card, which you can see in my Etsy shop here. She’s less than 2″ long.
The best bedtime stories end with a sleeping child. This is a detail from the last illustration from my 2001 picture book, In the Heart.
“Go to bed second, a golden pheasant.” detail from Pocketful of Posies.
This sleeping bird is from my first book, The Way Home. Read about the making of this book here.
Little Boy Blue is asleep under the haystack. detail from Pocketful of Posies.
“To bed, to bed”, says sleepy head. Detail from Pocketful of Posies.
A slumbering fairy on the warm rocks. He’s 2″ long.
One shoe off, the other shoe on, deedle, deedle, dumpling, my son John. Detail from Pocketful of Posies.
Are the children in their beds? Detail from Wee Willie Winkie board book.
Before we leave on our trip, I want to show more pictures of my Pocketful of Posies tree. To see these ornaments in person, visit the Family Trees event at the Concord Museum, which will continue until January 1st, 2013. Time is limited, so I’m just going to post pictures. Can you guess which nursery rhymes are depicted in the individual ornaments?
Congratulations to quilt designer Erin Russek, who not only answered correctly that Polly is going on a cruise to Antarctica, but was the first person to write in an answer! She will be getting a personally autographed copy of Mary Had a Little Lamb. There were some great guesses for places all over, including several countries along the Andes. I hope that Polly’s new outfit keeps her warm in Antarctica–she insisted on wearing her skirt, though! We will be going through South America and stopping in warm Santiago, Chile for a night on the way to the tip of Argentina, where we will board a ship. We’ll try to send pictures from down under, depending on internet excess. If not, see you in a few weeks!