Paige Turner

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The Woods Hole Public Library is having an exhibit titled “Renewal” this summer. Patrons and friends were invited to make something out of old books that would otherwise be thrown out. A couple of months ago, Margaret, the head librarian asked me if I thought this idea would be supported by the community. I said, “definitely yes”. But, I wasn’t even sure if I would have time to make something for the exhibit. Last Thursday, I found myself caught up with tasks that need immediate attention and devoted the afternoon to making a little doll dressed in clothes made from the pages of a book. My contribution, Paige Turner was just delivered to the library via bicycle.

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Before we brought her to the library, Rob and I had such fun setting her up in different bookish scenes at home.

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Paige and the other artwork made from recycled books are being offered in a silent auction to benefit the library. If you’d like to make a bid, please send the library an e-mail. Bidding via e-mail ends on July 31st at 7:00 pm (EST).

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Once Upon a Thread

henna handWM One thing leads to the next and before you know it, you have enough pictures and information to fill a blog post. It all started with the photo above, which was meant to show my henna decorated hand that was done at the local arts festival last weekend. The doll heads scattered on the table are from another long term project, which I’ll write about in the future.

When Rob took the picture, I was sewing letters on left over paintings from Waldorf School projects. The words are part of a new title image for my slide talk, Once Upon a Thread. I really enjoy giving lectures about my work to quilt and embroidery groups, as well as the general public. The next scheduled talk will be during the opening event for my exhibit at Museums on the Green in Falmouth, Massachusetts. “Tea at the Museum” is from 1:00 – 3:00 pm on Sat., July 19th.

OnceUponaThreadshoot This is a teaser of sorts,  because the dolls in the scene are some of the models in my upcoming book, Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures (Spring 2015), the long-awaited follow-up to Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects. Rob took the photo of them holding up the stitched signs, like a group at a rally. I’ll use the photo in my power point show and Facebook cover banner.

This summer, there will be an opportunity to see many more of the new dolls up close and personal. My talented and ever helpful husband, Rob is also building a special display case that will hold dozens of new characters. The case full of dolls will be included in my exhibit, Salley Mavor: Expressions in Stitches, Then and Now, at Museums on the Green, July 4 – August 16, 2014. I hope that many of you will come see the show. It will be chock full of work from the past and present! Once Upon a ThreadWM

Ryan and Lael wedding dolls

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Ryan and Lael will be getting married next month in Woods Hole, so I made them a pair of dolls as a wedding present. They met here as children, when they were Woods Hole summer kids.  And this wedding will join two families that have been coming every summer for generations.  I’ve always been a bit jealous of the summer people, who seem to appreciate their time in Woods Hole more than we year-rounders. For them, it’s special and magical, like summer camp, where you play and socialize, without the regular responsibilities associated with your “winter” home.

It was clear that a conventional white gown and tuxedo would not represent this couple’s theatrical leanings and spirit of adventure. Since the bride and groom have more than a passing interest in medieval history, I dressed them in period attire. Their costumes were so much fun to research and figure out how to make.

As with the Glen and Susan dolls, these figures use some techniques, such as wig-making, that will be included in the new edition of Felt Wee Folk. Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures will be coming out in the spring of 2015.

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Glen and Susan tie the knot

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Glen and Susan surprised everyone when they got married in a small private ceremony last December. They are a special couple, who are happy to have found each other at this stage in their lives. Now, they are planning to celebrate their union with their friends and family at their home in June.  I thought that they could use a pair of portrait dolls for the occasion, perhaps as cake toppers. I delivered the dolls a few days ago and you should have seen the look on their faces!

How do you like their eye glasses? It’s the first time I’ve tried making them and now I want to experiment with more ways of bending wire. And how about this photograph? I am so lucky to have my husband Rob document my work at a moment’s notice. We set them up outside in the periwinkle patch and took their photograph at different times of day, with natural lighting. I really like the way this one came out–it shows the dolls in a scene, but you can see the details, too. These dolls use some new techniques, like wig making (not the eyeglasses-they were made after the manuscript was handed in) and clothing, which will be included in my new book, Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures (Spring 2015). Until then, the original edition, Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects is still available from my Etsy Shop here.

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Polly in Cuba

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Polly Doll had a wonderful trip to Cuba. She rode a hood ornament, saw Ernest Hemingway’s pool…

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…made friends with the “kissing lady”…

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…visited a botanical garden…

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…hung out in an Havana doorway…

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…dined at a Paladar (private restaurant)…

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…hiked through a mangrove forest…

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…and enjoyed some Cuban rum.

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Profile in Cape Cod Magazine

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I am happy to show pictures from a story about my work that has just come out in the March issue of Cape Cod Magazine. Last week, a woman showed me her copy, after I gave a lecture down Cape to the Bayberry Quilters. She had the magazine because there’s an article about her roller derby club in the same issue, which I think is pretty cool. A couple of women from my Zumba class this morning mentioned seeing the article, so I tried again and found some copies at the drug store. The photographer, Dan Cutrona took the photos in my studio last fall when I was working on doll projects and setting up scenes for the revision of Felt Wee Folk. I think he did a good job of capturing the essence of my artwork and work place.

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Felt Wee Folk revision sent off!

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Yes, it’s finished and sent off to C&T Publishing in California, two weeks ahead of the deadline! Here I am, mailing the box in the Woods Hole Post Office. It’s full of necessary parts that make a book; patterns, CD of manuscript, thumb drive of digital photos, slides, 4 x 5 transparencies and a photo log.

The revised edition of Felt Wee Folk should be out in the world about a year from now, in the Spring of 2015. After months and months of designing and stitching new projects, writing directions, making how-to models, compiling lists of materials, drawing out patterns, constructing scenes and taking photographs, it feels strange to come into my studio without the pressure of working on the book. I had forgotten about the amount of fussy details that need to be taken care of, like labeling photos and inserting codes into the manuscript. I hope I didn’t forget anything!

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Now, it’s time to catch up on business, speak to quilt groups and make Polly Doll a new outfit for our upcoming trip. I’ll reveal the location later, when Polly’s ready. I couldn’t find her anywhere and thought she’d gone AWOL, but then I remembered that she’s been locked up in a case at the Cape Cod Museum of Art  for the past few months. I’ll be picking her and the “Posies” artwork up next Tuesday.

another scene from Felt Wee Folk 2

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With the cold of winter upon us, it’s been easy to get into the spirit of my next scene for the 2nd edition of Felt Wee Folk, which will be published in 2015. The set-up includes a snowy hillside and an icy pond made of paraffin. I built the hill with chicken wire and wood. Then, I covered it with old-fashioned fluffy “snow” fabric that drapes in a convincing snow-like manner. I sprinkled on a product called Buffalo Snow Flurries, which looks like plastic bag material chewed up into really small pieces. It falls and glitters like snow, but feels nasty and gets over everything. I added old fake pine trees that my husband’s family had and some real bayberry branches that look like miniature trees.

We’ve moved the photography operation into my studio and used a light box for the first time. With flood lights shining on the outside of its white walls, a softly lit space is created inside. Rob set up his computer on my ironing board and monitored the shots.

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The dolls in the scene are skiing, skating, sledding, tobogganing and making a snow man. Even Jack Frost makes an appearance!

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dollhouse decorated for Holidays at Highfield

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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.

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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.

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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 a post about it 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! 

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Posies delivered to Cape Cod Museum

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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.

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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.

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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!

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