Up and fluttering

Fairy House blog-1When we got home from Sunday’s opening reception for the Fairy Houses of Highfield Hall exhibit, I told Rob, “It’s so good to have the show finally up and running.” He said, “You mean “up and fluttering.”  Yes, this collection of fairy houses is causing quite a stir here at the top of Highfield Drive, with more than a thousand visitors already. The display will be set up all summer, until August 31st, 2015. I recommend visiting sooner than later, because of weather related deterioration of the houses.

The morning rain cleared by noon, creating a perfect afternoon for families and friends to stroll around the grounds, searching for the 32 fanciful dwellings. You could see groups of all ages following the tour map. And everyone was smiling! It turned out to be a social gathering, too, with neighbors and acquaintances running into each other. One woman said, “I’m so glad to live in Falmouth, where we have a wonderfully creative community that puts on events like this!” She made me feel part of something bigger than just a group of people who like to make little worlds out in the woods. In recent years, I think that the fairy house concept has entered the collective imagination, bringing a much-needed lightness and sense of wonder. I owe a big thank you to all of the house builders who contributed their time and creative genius to making this show such a success!

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I hope you enjoy this set of photos of people interacting with some of the houses. More posts with close-ups of the houses themselves will be coming soon.

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fairy houses 2015: making “Grate Hall”

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Fairy House blog-1It’s been an exciting week in the fairy neighborhood! Every day, more wee domiciles are popping up around the grounds of Highfield Hall and Gardens in Falmouth, MA (Cape Cod). By the time the Fairy Houses of Highfield Hall exhibit opens this Sunday, June 28th at 1:00pm, there will be 32 fairy houses installed and ready to view. Just like the previous show in 2013, this display is sure to bring in many visitors from near and far!

Last winter I invited 30 local artists and fairy aficionados to make houses for this summer’s exhibit. Each builder started the process by walking around the property and picking their favorite spot. They spent the next few months planning and working on their creations. I haven’t been privy to any finished houses until this week, and from what I’ve seen, this year’s collection is spectacular! There’s a wide variety of interpretations of the “fairy house” concept, from cozy abodes to airy perches. Building materials are as eclectic as the pieces themselves: clay, wood, mushrooms, paper, moss, felt, plants, shells, bark, stones, glass, metal, etc. Don’t worry if you live too far to see the originals — in the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing photos on this blog, Facebook and Instagram.

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The Fairy Houses of Highfield Hall and Gardens will be on display until August 31, 2015. The exhibit is free, with a suggested donation. Stop by the hall to pick up a map with house locations and artists’ names. Inside the hall you can also see my fairy family. Raffle tickets for a chance to win the 5 doll set can be purchased online here. Read a post about making the fairy family here. I hope that many of you have a chance to visit this extraordinary outdoor event!

Making my fairy house….
Come along, while I make my fairy house, “Great Hall”, which is pictured at the beginning of this post. It began with a bunch of old metal graters that I saved, while cleaning out deceased relatives’ kitchens. For years I’ve been eying them for a future project and thought they’d give a solid structure to a fairy house. I drilled holes and bolted 4 of them together to make walls and a roof.

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Then, I used my felt covered wire technique to form a base and arched beams. This single glove was in a box of my grandmother’s things. She and her sisters did a lot of tatting in the early 1900’s, so perhaps one of them made it.

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I incorporated the glove into the front wall, leaving room for a door opening and curled loops of felt covered wire.

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I stitched wool tapestry yarn in a zigzag pattern to fill in some areas, while leaving some open for viewing inside the house.

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FairyHouses-1-7I tried not to get too fussy, but the door required a bit more detailed work.

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I worked on the house during the snowy winter — my favorite time to be engrossed in a project.

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The whisk was another kitchen find that I added near the end.

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I pruned some supple branches off my blueberry bushes and lashed them to the grates and wire, adding a more organic façade.

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I wanted the interior to be magical, so I draped strings of glass beads and crystals from the ceiling. Tiny blue and white LED lights (run on batteries) added a glow as well.

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In the daylight, it’s hard to see the lit interior, so I sprinkled small round Shisha mirrors on the ground inside to reflect the lights and make it sparkle.

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Birds at Highfield this summer!

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I recently cleaned the glass which protects the Birds of Beebe Woods. While the piece was uncovered and exposed, Rob took some new photos. This time he didn’t aim the camera straight on. We thought we’d try coming from the side a bit, to emphasize the sculptural quality of the birds.

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Birds0001blogWMI think these photos better translate the experience of looking at the real piece. Of course, it’s best viewed without glass, but it’s necessary for protection from light and dust.

Birds of Beebe Woods is on display at Highfield Hall, Falmouth, MA until Sept. 15th. I’m also excited about the upcoming outdoor exhibit, Fairy Houses of Highfield Hall (June 28 – Aug. 31), which I’m curating again this year. So, there will lots to see this summer! If you’re planning a trip to Highfield Hall, check their open hours.

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Fairy Family RAFFLE!

fairyfamilyraffleI am excited to introduce my newest creation — a Fairy Family! All five doll-house sized  family members, Mom, Dad, brother, sister and baby were specially made for a raffle to benefit Highfield Hall and Gardens in Falmouth (Cape Cod) Massachusetts.The raffle will be held from now until the end of this summer’s outdoor exhibit, the Fairy Houses of Highfield Hall, which I am curating again this year. If you visit this blog regularly, you’ll know that I don’t sell one-of-a-kind dolls, so this is a rare chance to have a unique family of wee folk, all hand-stitched by yours truly. At the end of this post, you’ll find information about the fairy house exhibit and purchasing raffle tickets online. But first, I want to show you some behind the scenes photos. Fairy_Family-1765 To make the fairy dolls, I gathered faux flowers in a purple and blue color scheme. For the felt clothes, I cut out patterns from my new book Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures. FAIRYRAFFLE1 The book also has directions for adding breasts to make shapely, more womanly fairies, instead of just flat chested nymphets. fairyraffle-1755 fairyraffle3I used some unusual acorn caps that have been hanging around my studio for years. For the life of me, I can’t remember where they came from. fairyraffle2 Here are the fairies on my work table, before they were given wings. Fairy_Family-1787-2 The children are already flying around and having adventures! fairychildrenraffle It’s going to be quite the fairy summer on Cape Cod! I hope that many of you will make the trip to see the fairy houses. And everyone, near and far can take a chance at winning the fairy family. Good luck! Fairy Family Raffle: 3 tickets for $5.00. Tickets may be purchased online or at Highfield Hall, where the fairy family will soon be on display. The raffle drawing will be held August 30, 2015. June 28 – August 31, 2015 ~ Fairy Houses of Highfield Hall, Highfield Hall and Gardens, Falmouth, MA. This outdoor exhibit, curated by Salley Mavor, will feature 32 fanciful fairy houses made by local artists, architects, potters, felters, woodworkers and fairy house aficionados.

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Posies show goes to Newton

The Pocketful of Posies exhibit continues…

Yesterday, Rob and I installed 33 original fabric relief illustrations from my picture book of nursery rhymes, Pocketful of Posies in the Newton Free Library in Newton, Massachusetts. The library has several spaces devoted to displaying art and my work is the first thing you see when you enter the building. The steady stream of patrons who walked through while we were hanging were welcoming and appreciative. So many people stopped to ask questions and engage in conversation, that I hard time concentrating on the task at hand! Thank goodness Rob was there to help, because it would have taken all day.

I’m so happy that the exhibit will be on view this month, especially during the Newton Open Studios weekend (April 11-12). I’ll be there for the NOS preview reception on April 8th at 7:00 pm and will welcome questions and conversation then! I’m also giving a talk and booksigning at the library on April 21 at 7:00 pm.

The work will be on display at the Newton Free Library  April 2 – 29, 2015.

The artwork is going to Maryland and South Carolina next. You can see the schedule here. Will there be any more shows after this? Perhaps.The artwork has been touring for over 4 years, and at this stage, I’m involved with other projects and am too busy to search out and contact more locations. But, I’m always willing to discuss the idea with museums and libraries that are interested in hosting an exhibit.

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Birds and Rabbits at the Cahoon Museum

The Birds and Rabbits seem to travel together as a pair these days. Ok, I’m talking about my two fabric relief pieces, Birds of Beebe Woods and Rabbitat. They were at the Chandler Center in Arizona last fall and now, they are part of Fiberworks Plus at the Cahoon Museum, Cotuit, Massachusetts until April 19th. I’m happy that they are being displayed out in public, so that more people can see them. That’s the primary reason I’m not selling them.

For those of you on or near Cape Cod, I will be giving a talk at the Cahoon Museum on Tuesday, March 24th at 11;00 am. The museum is undergoing renovations, so the exhibit and my talk will be in their temporary location in Mashpee Commons.

The two pieces will be traveling together again later this year, when they go to Winconsin, Oct 21. 2015 – January 10, 2016 for Insects to Elephants at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

Here’s a mosaic of details showing the process, as well as the two finished pieces:

Posies goes to Lexington, MA

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I am pleased to announce that, after a few month’s pause, the Pocketful of Posies Traveling Exhibit has resumed and will be shown in several venues this year. Just yesterday, Rob and I drove to Lexington, MA, to deliver and hang 33 original embroidered illustrations from the book. Luckily, it wasn’t snowing that day, but there were tall walls of snow lining every street and sidewalk around town!

My artwork is on display at the Lexington Public (Cary Memorial) Library, Lexington, Massachusetts from now until March 30th. The exhibit is in the meeting room gallery, so I recommend contacting the library ahead to find out when the room is not being used for an event. It would be disconcerting to make the trip and find out that there’s a meeting going on in the room. I’ll be giving an Artist Talk and book signing on Wed., March 4th @ 7:00 pm. A collection of wee folk dolls from my new book, Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures will make a special appearance!

This exhibit came about because someone came into the library last year looking for my work. When she found out that the Pocketful of Posies Traveling Exhibit  was actually in Lexington, Kentucky, she suggested that the library get in touch with me to see if it could come here, too. Well, I’m happy that they did and we arranged to have a show this month.

The next stop on the tour is April 2 – 29 at the Newton Free Library, Newton, Massachusetts, with an Artist Talk on April 21 @ 7:00 pm.

Then the artwork will go south to these locations:

August 17 – Sept. 25, 2015 at the Harford County Public Library, Bel Air Branch, 100 E. Pennsylvania Ave, Bel Air, Maryland.

Oct. 17, 2015 – Feb. 28, 2016 at the Upcountry Museum – Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina. Artist talk to be announced.

Will there be any more shows after this? Perhaps.The artwork has been touring for 5 years, and at this stage, I’m involved with other projects and am too busy to search out for more locations and send out proposals. But, I’m always willing to discuss the idea with interested venues who contact me.