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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Studio peek-a-boo

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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.

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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.

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I propped up a foam core board with felt attached for the background sky. Rob took photos of the scene.

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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.

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