Lichen Lookout

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The Fairy Houses of Beebe Woods exhibit will open in 2 weeks, so in addition to my duties as curator, I’ve been finishing up my house. Last winter, I invited 23 artists to create their own interpretation of a fairy house. They’ve spent the last few months picking locations around Highfield, naming their houses and fingering out how they’re going to make their imaginings. I’ve seen a few partially constructed ones and they are extraordinary! All are invited to the Artist Reception for the outdoor exhibit at Highfield Hall in Falmouth, MA on Sunday, June 23rd, 1:00 – 3:00 pm. The exhibit will run from June 20 to July 21, 2013. Maps will be available to help discover the specially made habitats, which are situated on the property’s lush grounds and gardens.

My house, “Lichen Lookout” is an open, double storied affair, which will be installed up in a beech tree. I started by cutting out two plywood platforms. To hide the wood and make it more homey looking, I covered the floors with old woven raffia place mats. I then screwed tree branches to the plywood, making a main floor and an upper lookout.

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I used my felt covered wire technique to make a curly cue railing. As in nature, there are no straight lines in fairy houses! The plywood edges were covered with embroidered felt, which I attached with staples that are hidden inside. Don’t ask how that was done–it was fairy magic!

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Trumpet vine pods came in handy for a roof. Needle and thread couldn’t hold them in place well enough, so I used the dreaded glue gun to attach the pods to a wire form. I put up with the glue strings and globs, knowing that it would be strong and waterproof.

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I later covered the unsightly glue with lichen, hence the house name of “Lichen Lookout”. My collection of glass leaf beads were useful for embellishing the front gate and railings.

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We carried the house outside and took its picture. Here, it’s lost in all of the vegetation, but I like the lilies of the valley out front. You can kind of see the milkweed pod swing. It will look very different when it is installed in the gray beech tree.

I hope that lots of people come see the show, which promises to be an engaging display of architectural whimsy!

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Fairy Houses of Beebe Woods exhibit

You may wonder, “Where is this Beebe Woods that keeps popping up in titles on my blog”? It’s a gem of a property (pronounced Bee-bee) in the center of my home town of Falmouth, Massachusetts, right on the edge of Historic Highfield Hall, which was built in 1878 for the Beebe family, who were prominent summer people. My Birds of Beebe Woods piece was made for last year’s exhibit celebrating the forest. Also, Highfield is hosting the Pocketful of Posies traveling exhibit Sept. 4 – Oct. 31, 2013.

This summer, the grounds and gardens of Highfield will be magically transformed into a “fairy” neighborhood, with small-scale habitats hidden throughout the property. Highfield has given me the exciting opportunity to curate The Fairy Houses of Beebe Woods exhibit, which promises to be a popular event during the height of the season.

I got the idea from the Florence Griswold Museum in Lyme, CT, which has hosted several Fairy house events. See my posts about last fall’s exhibit here and here.

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I’ve invited 2 dozen local artists to participate in the event and they’ve spent the last few months picking building spots, gathering natural construction materials and thinking about what to make and how to make it. Everyone will bring their own vision and sensibility to their structure, creating a wildly varied display full of architectural whimsy. The outdoor exhibit will be open June 20th – July 21, 2013.

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This past winter, I made and photographed 2 models that could be used for advance publicity purposes. Since I didn’t use a glue suitable for outdoors, these won’t be in the exhibit, but I will have another house to show. I’m in the process of constructing a more weather resistant cottage that will be perched in a magnificent copper beech tree. I hope that many of you will have a chance to visit the exhibit this summer and for those of you who live far away, I’ll post pictures.

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working on Felt Wee Folk – 2nd edition

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I really can’t believe that 10 years have gone by since  Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects was published! I’m grateful that it has had such a good run and is still in print. I’ve said repeatedly that I won’t be writing another how-to book and that I want to focus on exploring my art form. I still want to continue on that path, but the practical side of me has decided to take some time this year to update Felt Wee Folk. I want to do what I can to keep the book in print for at least another 10 years.

In the 2nd edition, the popular projects, like the fairies and dolls will remain and the non-doll felt projects will be replaced with new varieties of wee folk characters and more doll-making tips. This all doll version will have a new cover and about 30 more pages than the first edition. The second edition will feature many new projects for seasoned wee folk makers as well as yet-to-be converts, who are just beginning to learn how to wrap pipe-cleaner limbs. We don’t have a definite date for publication, but with the work I still have to do, combined with C&T’s production time, the book should be on the shelves sometime in 2015. And because the information is propitiatory,  I won’t be able to show the new projects I’m designing until the book comes out. Sorry, but that’s how these things work.

For now, Amazon is selling print-on-demand copies of Felt Wee Folk. They don’t mention that it’s print-on-demand, but it is. They also have a  Kindle version. The book’s publisher, C&T sells an e-book version, too. Downloading the book may be the easiest way for people from around the world to obtain the information without paying for overseas postage

feltweefolksI have a limited number of the high quality original edition in my Etsy Shop and will switch over to selling the print-on-demand version when those run out. Don’t worry, the felt purses, pins, etc. will not disappear – they’ll be available separately as downloads from C&T’s Pattern Spot, when the new edition is published. So, please be patient and enjoy the first edition for another couple of years!

Debbie from A Child’s Dream Come True just sent some beautiful wool felt samples for me to use in the new projects. This is going to be fun!

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Have you seen my new prints, which feature projects from Felt Wee Folk? “Humankind” and “Adopt the pace of nature” are available in my Etsy Shop.

Felt Wee Folk on demand

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Print-on-demand edition of Felt Wee Folk

If you’ve been looking for my 2003 how-to book, Felt Wee Folk lately, you may have had trouble obtaining a copy.  That’s because the publisher has sold out. I anticipated this situation and bought some a few months ago, so I have a limited supply in my Etsy shop. I even have a few copies of the French translation, Personnages et Motif on Etsy.

Book - Felt Wee Folk 2003

Book – Felt Wee Folk 2003

If you want to have an autographed copy of the original edition, order very soon, because they are selling fast! Your Etsy order of Felt Wee Folk includes a folded Blossom Fairies poster (pictured below). I’m happy that the book has had such a good run, with almost 55,000 copies in print. In this day and age, it’s unusual for a book to last 10 years, especially a craft book. The good news is that the book will continue to be published, just differently. C&T Publishing, Amazon and other online retailers are offering a print-on-demand issue of Felt Wee Folk, which is shown above. The printing and paper quality are not as good as the original, but these minor shortcomings are worth having the book once again available for purchase.

18" x 24" Blossom Fairies Poster

18″ x 24″ Blossom Fairies Poster

Fairy Christmas in Plymouth

from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

Yesterday, I dropped off artwork at the Hedge House Museum in Plymouth, MA, for their Fairy Christmas celebration. Two originals from Pocketful of Posies and Birds of Beebe Woods will be on display during the 2 weekend event (Dec. 1,2,7,8,9, noon to 7pm). I kicked myself because I forgot my camera! First of all, the museum has a spectacular location, with a view of Plymouth Harbor and the 1809 house is full of antique charm. Plymouth Antiquarian Society Director Donna Curtin has gone all out for this affair, with  fairy houses, precious woodland scenes and fairy decorations all over the historic mansion. There’s even a special Crystal Throne Room set up for the Fairy Queen to receive visitors. I heartily recommend this event to anyone who is open to enchantment, young or old. It’s all done in a genuine, beautiful way, so leave plenty of time to take in all of the detail.

detail from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

Birds of Beebe Woods, fabric relief, 2012

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.