fairy house tour (part 2)

The fairy house tour around the grounds of the Florence Griswold Museum continues with photos of some of my favorite structures. Out of 33 very different styles, I found the naturalistic interpretations more believable as fairy dwellings. These tended to blend in with the landscape and mostly used materials found in nature. Please note: This fairy house exhibit is closed, with the next scheduled for 2014.

A house with a teapot doorway.

This tree had several entrances.

These cottages perched on the roots look like guest houses for sprites.

A cozy picnic spot.

A wee painter’s shack.

Dew Drop Villas and a muscle shell windmill conclude the tour.

fairy house tour (part 1)

Last week,  I drove with my husband and a friend to Old Lyme, Connecticut, to see the eagerly anticipated Wee Faerie Village on the grounds of the Florence Griswold Museum.  It was the last opportunity to see the display, because this year’s exhibit closed yesterday. I’m told that they coordinate the building of a new village every other year, so the next event should be in the fall of 2014.

Even with cloudy skies and cool temperatures, we enjoyed strolling around the property, following the numbered mushroom signs. Over thirty fairy dwellings were created by artists from the area, including my favorite, Nevergreen Caverns, made by the museum’s education director, David D.J. Rau.

Three hollow logs are stacked on a larger stump, with each space furnished with fairy comforts.

I found the burned wood markings charming…

as well as the mushroom roofed balconies.

It was well worth the visit! I will show more pictures of other houses in my next post.

Halloween Giveaway!

Even though Halloween is just around the corner, I figure that there’s still time to fit in a seasonal giveaway. Three people (from the US and Canada) will be picked at random to win 2 autographed 18″ x 24″ posters, one of “On Halloween”, which is a double page spread from my picture book, You and Me: Poems of Friendship, and one Blossom Fairies poster, which features 16 fairy dolls from my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects. To enter the Giveaway, please leave a comment on this blog by midnight, October 25th, EST.

“On Halloween” posters are also being given away for free during the month of October, with a purchase of any poster in my Etsy Shop. Other posters for sale include Birds of Beebe Woods, Rabbitat, Blossom Fairies, and Self Portrait: A Personal History of Fashion.

peplum fairy jacket

Last week, I saw this picture in the fashion section of the Wall Street Journal. The article pointed out a change in women’s business attire, from dark suits, to bright colors and even florals. The peplum jacket reminded me of my wee folk fairies. Not that today’s business women are wearing folksy petal petticoats and fitted, leafy tops. I’m just glad to see that women in the corporate world are showing more confidence in their own individuality. Those pink shoes have got to go, though!

I designed a felt peplum style jacket for my 3 1/2″ Blossom fairies about a dozen years ago. It is the basic pattern used for the fairy’s clothing in my how-to book Felt Wee Folk. This jacket is the usual giveaway that someone has used my patterns in dolls they sell on Etsy. I don’t mind that they make the dolls and use my patterns for their clothing, but I try to keep up with shop owners and ask that they credit me and my book as the inspiration for their creations. Most everyone honors my request and are usually apologetic, when they realize that they didn’t think to credit me in their product descriptions. One woman said that she assumed it was OK to use my designs because my book is so well-known. Well, the book is still being discovered and I hope it will stay in print for years to come. That means that the publisher needs to see a consistent demand for the book.

I’m not making dolls to sell myself and am happy that people are having such fun making them. The Bayberry Fairy below is included in my new Blossom Fairy Poster, which is available in my Etsy Shop. Want your poster autographed? Just mention it on your order.

New Fairy Poster!

 A whole swarm of Blossom Fairies are gathered together in my newest 18″ x 24″ poster, which is listed in my Etsy Shop. I’ll be glad to autograph any of the posters–just mention it on your order. There’s Blueberry, Black-Eyed-Susan, Aster, and Porcelain Berry, along with 12 other fairies dressed in petal petticoats. About a dozen years ago, I went on a fairy-making binge, designing all kinds of wee characters to go with different flowers and berries in season.  I carried them in a basket, searching around the neighborhood for the best natural spots to take their pictures. Hazy days were best for photography, because there were less harsh shadows on their delicate fairy faces. 

It was fun to go through the slides (they were taken before digital) and pick out which fairies to include in the poster. Many of the photographs are printed in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk and some are still available as note cards in my Etsy Shop. My sister, Anne Mavor designed this poster in her clean, classic style. Even though I don’t make kits and Ltd. edition dolls any more, it’s fun to have the photos to work with. I’m happy to find a way to bring back the Blossom Fairies!

Felt Wee Folk around the kitchen table

fairies from "Felt Wee Folk"

fairies from “Felt Wee Folk”

Sometimes I look at my blog statistics to find out how people find me. Quite frequently searches like “pipe cleaner dolls”or “wee felt people” bring them here. This week’s wordy favorite was “how to wrap embroidery floss around pipe cleaners for fairies”.

Last week, I received the most wonderful e-mail message from Michele in Nebraska, who wrote, “I didn’t do anything else yesterday evening except enjoy every single thing on your blog.” She went on describe how she and her family have enjoyed the doll projects in Felt Wee Folk.

“I purchased your book when my daughter was 15 (she is now 20 and a new mother). She had a close friend spend the night once that year and I brought my new book, along with lots of felt, threads, combed wool (I spin) and all manner of goodies, into the kitchen with the two girls and announced we were going to make tiny dolls. You should have seen their teenage faces! At first hesitant and then fascinated and completely absorbed, those two girls insisted on staying up till 2:30 in the morning so their little people could be finished! We talked about everything and laughed and laughed and when we were done, we sat and looked at our little people with the greatest satisfaction and joy. Just recently, my daughter’s same good friend came to our house to visit and told me that night spent here was the most fun she has ever had and that she felt so much love in our home. She has her little Wee Folk doll still and wants to make more with her children when she has them.

I just thought you might like to hear that your art has the most profound effect on others in such a positive and loving way. Thank you for your years of sharing. Thank you for leaving your examples of doll art on your website as inspiration for those of us who cannot get enough of them. I am sure you will be blessed in all your new endeavors.

And finally thank you for being true to yourself, for in doing that, what you have created is truly magical.”

Stories like Michele’s make me feel that sharing my fantasy/play world is truly worth it. It warms my heart to think of kitchen tables around the world scattered with silk flower petals, pipe cleaners and acorn caps. I can imagine faces of all ages and colors bowed in concentration and busy hands engrossed in making wee dolls. It’s been almost 9 years since Felt Wee Folk was released by C&T Publishing. Since 2003, the book has been reprinted many times, selling over 50,000 copies, which is way more than any of my children’s books.

Pansy, the last fairy

For the past few months, I’ve been wrapping legs, sewing felt tunics and painting faces for a new Ltd. Edition fairy doll. During those months, I found it harder and harder to find the time to work on the 25 dolls and kept putting them aside. Even though I still like making them, I’d rather be working on other projects, so I made the decision that PANSY would be the last fairy design in this series. It’s true, I won’t be making any more dolls to sell. Last week, I sent an e-mail announcement to those who asked to be put on a mailing list and all 25 have already sold. It has been a joy to create the dolls and I thank all of you who have purchased other wee folk characters. Over the past 8 years, I’ve made 21 different designs and sewed 750 individual dolls. 

Since the age of 12, I’ve been making and selling things, often mass producing large quantities of the same item. My little factory began with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band playing on the record player and now I work to the sound of Rosanne Cash. It’s time for a change, but I wanted to make one more fairy before devoting 100% of my studio time to my fabric relief artwork. Here are some photos of PANSY in the making.

fairy stools

People keep asking, “What are you working on lately?” I have to say that this summer I’m doing everything but making art. I would love to be stitching away in my air-conditioned studio, but there are too many time-sensitive administrative and promotional tasks to take care of and I’ve been traveling alot. It all has to do with my book and touring art show.  And it’s summer, so there’s the garden to tend, friends to entertain and on nice days we go boating. So, I’m planning on getting back to serious art-making in September.

On a recent morning, I saw two mushrooms growing side by side, along my driveway. The next day, I finally was able to take their picture, and they had grown twice their size.

I found a boy and a girl fairy from my bag of wee folk and positioned them on the stools.

One thing I’ve learned to do is take photographs early in the morning, when the light is low. The golden glow of dusk works, too.

The gentle morning light doesn’t create harsh shadows and it’s aimed from the side, not above, like the during mid-day.

This little girl fairy looks like she spilled a chocolate ice cream cone on her dress. There’s some kind of brown stain, but I didn’t wash it off because I was too much in a hurry to get her picture taken before the sun rose any higher and the mushroom grew any bigger!

new page added-FAQ

Salley finishing “Rabbitat”, May 2011

The same questions keep coming up about my work,  so I’m adding a page of Frequently Asked Questions. Things like, “Do you use a sewing machine?”or “Will you write another how-to book?” or “May I make and sell dolls from your book, Felt Wee Folk?” I’ve already written about most of the issues on this blog, but I can’t expect everyone to spend hours combing through all 233 posts.

See the FAQ page here.