Posies exhibit in Greenville, SC

Posiesupcountry4

Last week, Rob and I visited Greenville, South Carolina, where I gave a talk in conjunction with my Pocketful of Posies exhibit. It was a pleasure to meet the people who came to see the show and hear about my work at the Upcountry History Museum  last Thursday. Before heading inside the museum, I couldn’t resist standing next to the enormous banner outside.

The museum staff did a superb job hanging the show! I’m happy to say that it’s the most creative and professionally presented installation I’ve seen on the five-year tour. There’s plenty of time to visit the show, which is on display until Feb. 14th, 2016. This could very well be its last venue, as I’m no longer soliciting new locations. Of course, it could be a different story if an invitation from a great place with funds to ship the artwork comes forth.

Posiesupcountry1

The bold choice of lilac purple walls really sets off the natural golden brown wooden frames. They covered one area with a 6′ blow-up of the “Wise Old Owl” and a screen, which shows my Rabbitat video and Felt Wee Folk book trailer on a loop. Signage with different versions and information about the rhymes hang below the framed illustrations. For this, the previous exhibitor, the Bel Air Library in Maryland generously shared their research about the rhymes with the Upcountry History Museum. To give an idea of how I make the figures, they laid out step-by-step parts in a display case. They’re the same ones I made and photographed for Felt Wee Folk. And last but not least, the black box theater lighting makes everything pop and sparkle!

Pocketful of Posies, Oct. 17, 2015 – Feb. 14, 2016 at the Upcountry Museum – Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina.

Posiesupcountry2

Posiesupcountry5

We really enjoyed our visit and took a few extra days to see a friend and relative in the area. I spent a wonderful day near Columbia with my cousin, also named Salley with an “e”. Her 5-year-old grand-daughter is also named Salley, so our family surname continues to be passed down. Our grandmothers were 2 of the 5 independently minded, high spirited Salley sisters of Orangeburg, SC. In this circa 1900 photo, my cousin’s grandmother has their father’s arm around her and mine is standing, 2nd from the left.

Salleyfamily

And we had a fantastic visit with my RISD classmate, Niki Bonnett, who lives in Asheville, NC. What an artsy, fun town! Years ago, Niki designed the poster and catalog for my pins, which you can see here. We could have soaked up the southern hospitality for a bit longer, but had to fly home.

SalleyNikiAsheville

 

opportunities to see original artwork

I am excited to share the news that there will be opportunities to see my original fabric-relief artwork in different parts of the country this fall and winter. The Pocketful of Posies exhibit, will be at the Upcountry Museum – Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, Oct. 17, 2015 – Feb. 14, 2016. Next month I will head down to Greenville to give a talk about my work on Thurs., Nov. 19th at 7:00 pm. This is the last scheduled exhibit on the 5 year tour and I hope that many of you can make the trip to see the show!

And, 2 of my larger pieces will be included in Insects to Elephants: Mother Nature’s Menagerie at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.  Birds of Beebe Woods and Rabbitat will be displayed from Oct 21. 2015 – January 10, 2016.

Poster 22x28 2SM

Birds0001blogWMrabbitat

Also, my piece, FaceTime is part of the group show, Entangled at Some Things Looming in Reading Pennsylvania until Oct. 24th.

FaceTimeDetail1WM

making Face Time (part 3)

FaceTime-1350

FaceTimeWMThis is Part 3 in a series about making my newest piece, Face Time. It picks up where I left off in Part 2, which covers the embroidered felt wreathlike frames. Part 1 explains the concept of the piece and shows the making of the heads.

Face Time will be on display this fall at Some Things Looming in Reading, Pennsylvania. Their fiber art exhibit, Entangled will run from Sept. 12th to Oct. 24th.

After all 41 frames were finished and each bust was safely sewn inside its own personal cameo, I arranged the characters according to time period. It was like putting together a puzzle, fitting the pieces in chronological order. Characters from the past were rooted at the bottom of the tree and others cascaded upward through time to contemporary folks at the very top.

FaceTime-1527

Tree branches were formed with felt covered wire. Embroidery floss seed stitches on the felt created a bark-like texture. The smaller branches are made of floss wrapped wire. I sewed the branches to the back of the “cameos”, extending the wire around the frame to give each little portrait some structure, like bendable bones.

FaceTime-19559

With this piece, I tried out a new kind of border/frame. Instead of putting fabric on top of and around the sides of a wooden stretcher, I stapled the background fabric to the back, creating a space inside for the 3-d tree. I padded the stretcher bars with cotton batting and covered it with fabric, like upholstering furniture. It required quite a bit of fussing and hand stitching to make the corners look good. This way the finished piece can be hung with or without another outside frame or shadow box.

FaceTime-1530

I made felt covered wire leaf forms for the corners, first embroidering the strips of felt with seed stitches.

FaceTime-1537-2

And then filled in some gaps with floss wrapped wire doodles.

FaceTime-1575

Face Time is currently being shown in Entangled as you see here, without a glass covered frame. But that is temporary, as Rob will make a frame to protect the artwork from curious fingers and dust.

FaceTime-1814

Thank you for following along through the process! As with Birds of Beebe Woods, I am not selling Face Time and will be entering it into juried shows around the country. Please visit the events page from time to time to see where my original work is on display.

For those of you interested in making your own characters, please refer to my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures, for basic guidance.

FaceTimeWM

FaceTimeDetail3WM

FaceTimeDetail1WM

FaceTimeDetail2WM

making Face Time (part 2)

FaceTime-19446FaceTimeWMThis is Part 2 in a series about making my newest piece, Face Time. It picks up where I left off in Part 1, which shows and talks about the painted and wigged wooden bead heads.

Face Time will be on display this fall at Some Things Looming in Reading, Pennsylvania. Their fiber art exhibit, Entangled will run from Sept. 12th to Oct. 24th, 2015.

FaceTimeWM-1357

I wanted each character to peek out of their own frame, like cameo portraits. I cut pieces out of felt with scalloped shears and embroidered the edges.

This, along with stitching the leaves and stems took many, many hours.

FaceTimeWM-1355

FaceTimeWM-1353

I brought them with me on boat excursions near home…

FaceTimesalley

IMG_9952-2

and far away on our canal trip in France. I got a lot done on the plane ride, too.

salleymakingfairies3

Finally, all 41 busts had their own wreathlike frame.

FaceTime-111141

The heads are based on the wee folk dolls in my how-to book Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures. This little lady’s bonnet is made with embroidery floss wrapped wire.

FaceTimebonnet-

After the wreaths were completed and the busts sewn in place, I figured out their arrangement on tree branches. They would be grouped according to time period, going from past at the bottom to present at the top.

FaceTime-1332

FaceTimeWM-1349

The tree branches were made of felt covered wire.

To be continued in Part 3

FaceTime-1524

making Face Time (part 1)

FaceTimeWMAbout a year ago, my newest piece, Face Time started taking shape. I took pictures along the way, during the many months that its collection of little heads occupied my work table. The piece was completed this past winter after about 6 months of work. I am pleased to say that Face Time will be on display this fall at Some Things Looming in Reading, Pennsylvania. Their fiber art exhibit, Entangled will run from Sept. 12th to Oct. 24th, 2015.

I’m often asked how long it takes to make a large piece like this (24″ x 30″). It’s hard to say for sure, because my days are interspersed with so many other activities (and distractions) having to do with the business side of being an artist. Of course, I’d rather be stitching every day in my studio, but I fear that would lead to an obscure life, without a presence beyond my studio walls. I’d guess that at least 50% of my work time is spent promoting my art in some way; e-mails, interviews and other publicity, Etsy Shop, editors and publishers, social media, entering and arranging exhibits, etc. OK, that’s enough of a reality check–shall we stick with the romantic notion of spending all day stitching in a window seat?

family tree-2I’d like to take you through the making of Face Time, so you can have a sense of what’s involved.  If you’ve read my post, When to tell how and when not to, you’ll know that I don’t always show my process, but this is one of those instances when I’ve taken enough photos to warrant a 3 part series. I’m excited to share the new direction my work has taken!

For Face Time, I started in the usual way, thinking about the idea for a long time before jotting down itsy bitsy drawings in my sketch book. While I work, the concept remains strong and constant, while the overall design changes with time. I also consider how the parts will be rendered in embroidery and 3 dimensional needlework.

FaceTime-2051

I wanted to show different people from all over, evolving through time, from long ago civilizations at the bottom, to present day people at the top. I wasn’t so interested in making a personal family tree, but a depiction of the world’s collective heritage. I envisioned a group of faces from a variety of backgrounds and cultures peeking out of the greenery, all linked to a tree-like form.

FaceTimeWM-9573

FaceTime-9577

Researching fashion history was very fun! Online, I found pictures of hair styles, beards, hats and garments. In addition to wigs and painted facial features, each wooden head had a bit of clothing showing at the neck and shoulders. They expand on the wee folk doll projects from my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures. Wire glasses were something new, which I thought contributed to the individuality of some characters.

FaceTimeWM-9612

Over a period of many weeks, the heads grew in number, filling my modest work table.

FaceTimeworktable-1

IMG_9725

There ended up being 41 heads in all, covering many centuries. Here they are, in a group shot, before they were separated by leaves and branches in the finished piece. I will show more about that in part 2.

To be continued…

FaceTimegroupWM-

Birds at Highfield this summer!

Birdsdetail3WM

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.

Birdsdetail2WM

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.

Printed reproductions in the form of posters and cards are available from my Etsy Shop.

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.

Birdsdetail1WM

Face Time premiere showing

FaceTimeDetail2WM

For the past 9 months or so, while working on it, I’ve been offering occasional peeks at Face Time. This new piece deals with themes that I continually return to; passage of time, patterns that show change and growth, and connections between living beings.

It’s finished now and I’ll bring it with me this Tuesday, April 21st, when I give a talk at 7:00 pm at the Newton Free Library in Newton, Massachusetts. Face Time has been tucked away in my studio and has not yet been exhibited publicly, so this will be its premiere showing. It’ll only be on view for a few hours, while I’m at the library.

FaceTimeWM

Face Time features a tree with a variety of embroidered felt wreath-like “cameos” with heads and shoulders representing a broad cross-section of humanity. The 41 individuals include a wide swath of characters that show changes in style over time. They branch out through history, from long ago civilizations at the tree’s roots, to present day portrayals at the tree top. It’s not my family tree, but a depiction of the world’s collective heritage.

In this piece, I’ve basically used the wig making techniques introduced in my new how-to book Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures, but have added more period fashion details, like beards, hats and glasses.

I hope to meet some of you from the Boston area on Tuesday night at the Newton Free Library. My talk, Once Upon a Thread will be at 7:00 pm. I’ll bring along books to sell, too. The Pocketful of Posies Exhibit will be on display at the library until April 29th.

FaceTimeDetail1WM

Where can Face Time be seen in the future? I can’t say for certain, since I’m entering it in juried shows and won’t know for a while if, where and when it’ll be exhibited. I’ll be sure to include any showings on the exhibits page.

FaceTimeDetail3WM