Close-ups (beds)

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The first image in this series of bed pictures is an illustration for a poem called Tumbling, which is included in my 1997 poetry anthology, You and Me:Poems of Friendship. Then there’s a page from my 2001 picture book In the Heart, which was written by Ann Turner. Copies of In the Heart are available in my Etsy Shop

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“Are the children in their beds?” from my Wee Willie Winkie board book.

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And here’s “my son John, went to sleep with his trousers on” from Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes. I offer autographed copies with a poster in my Etsy Shop.

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“Go to bed first, a golden purse” from Pocketful of Posies. See the touring exhibit of the original embroidered illustrations from the book. Next location: Highfield Hall in Falmouth, MA, Sept. 4 ~ October 31, 2013.

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And here’s Elsie Marley, who won’t get up to feed the swine, which is also from Pocketful of Posies.

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Close-ups (emotion)

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One of the fun and challenging parts about illustrating for children is showing emotion and action, especially in fiber art, which tends to be static. To counter-act the stiff blandness, I like to bring forth emotion by exaggerating the poses and facial expressions of my characters. But there’s a fine line between evoking believable feeling and creating a grotesque appearance, much like the difference between acting well and over acting. I’ve seen some doll faces that are downright scary and bizarre. My goal is to portray emotion with a subtle firmness, without being too disturbing.

Nursery Rhymes are full of emotional and physical activity, so I had lots of opportunities to experiment with poses and facial expressions in my book, Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes. Here are a selection of close-ups from the book.

Do you want to see the original embroidered illustrations from the book? There are still several locations scheduled for the Pocketful of Posies Traveling Exhibit, which has been touring the country since 2010.

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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.

Close-ups (Cats #2)

Cat pin circa 1980

Cat pin circa 1980

It’s about time I showed more cat pictures because there are so many to choose from. Cats were the subject of the first post in the Close-ups series, back in 2009. This brown cat pin is over 30 years old. Read about my pins here. The baby leopards are from “Rana is Born”. The piece was the inspiration for Judy Richardson’s story, Come to my Party, which I illustrated in 1993.

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detail from “Rana is Born” fabric relief 1992

This costumed cat is a detail from “On Halloween”, which is in my 1997 book You and Me: Poems of Friendship. The whole illustration is printed as a poster, which is available in my Etsy Shop.

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detail from “On Halloween” 1997

This seated cat is from my 1999 book The Hollyhock Wall. 

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detail from “The Hollyhock Wall” 1999

This kitty is part of the faux tile frieze in my kitchen. Read about that here.

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Faux Tile 2001

And this cat topiary is from the verse “Molly My Sister and I” in my book Pocketful of Posies. Autographed copies, plus a poster are available in my Etsy Shop.

detail from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

detail from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

Closeups (sleep)

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This close-up of a wee milkweed baby is also pictured in my newest card, which you can see in my Etsy shop here. She’s less than 2″ long.

ITHmoonnightWMThe best bedtime stories end with a sleeping child. This is a detail from the last illustration from my 2001 picture book, In the Heart.

gotobedWM“Go to bed second, a golden pheasant.” detail from Pocketful of Posies.

birdasleepWMThis sleeping bird is from my first book, The Way Home. Read about the making of this book here.

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PFOPpg55WM“To bed, to bed”, says sleepy head. Detail from Pocketful of Posies.

sleepingonstoneWMA slumbering fairy on the warm rocks. He’s 2″ long.

PFOPsleepWMOne shoe off, the other shoe on, deedle, deedle, dumpling, my son John. Detail from Pocketful of Posies.

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Are the children in their beds? Detail from Wee Willie Winkie board book.

another hand-stitched corporate logo

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After stitching the Facebook widget for this blog (see how I made it here), I couldn’t resist the temptation to personalize my Etsy shop widget that’s on the blog’s home page side bar. To make my version recognizable, I decided to keep the logo’s ubiquitous white letters on a field of orange. It was the first time I’ve tried forming wire letters with serifs, so it was a bit more tricky than writing out flowing script like I’ve done on the banners, which can be seen here.

etsywidget5WMAfter covering and wrapping the wire with variegated white and light pink embroidery floss, I gathered scraps of different shades of orange-colored felt.

etsywidget6WMI arranged the scraps like puzzle pieces and stitched them together for the background. Then, I made some additional words — “my” and “shop” out of wire and variegated turquoise floss.

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It needed some jazzing up, so I added french knots and seed beads to the background.

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In this close-up you can see how I wrapped the letters.

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I’ve recently added some new items to my Etsy shop, so please visit!

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Family Trees: more ornaments

Jack and Jill by Salley Mavor

Before we leave on our trip, I want to show more pictures of my Pocketful of Posies tree. To see these ornaments in person, visit the Family Trees event at the Concord Museum, which will continue until January 1st, 2013. Time is limited, so I’m just going to post pictures. Can you guess which nursery rhymes are depicted in the individual ornaments?

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Family Tree02 by Salley Mavor

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Queen of hearts by Salley Mavor

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Crooked Man by Salley Mavor

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Old King Cole by Salley Mavor

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Birds of Beebe Woods: warbler

I wanted to include a warbler in the Birds of Beebe Woods piece and found that a handful of varieties live in our area, each with their own distinct markings. I liked the look of the black throated green warbler best and thought its color patterns and striped wings would show up against the brownish gold background fabric.

To start, I found many photographs of warblers in books and on the internet and sketched until I found a pose that fit into the  scene of birds. After making paper patterns, I cut out the bird’s shape from matt board and cut pieces of white, green, black and yellow from wool felt. Thinking ahead, I glued cheap acrylic felt to the back of the matt board body, so there would be something to grab the stitches while the front felt piece was later being sewn in place. I also basted thick wool felt padding to the top of the matt board piece.

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I embroidered the texture and markings on the warbler’s green head. The bead eye is sewn inside a cut out hole in the yellow felt. Periodically, I would hold the bird up against the background fabric, to make sure there was enough contrast.

I used a combination of blanket stitch, fly stitch and lots of little single stitches.

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The wing’s stripes were defined by chain stitched lines.

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To finish, I made a little felt tail and added thread wrapped wire legs. Then, the black throated green warbler was ready to join the flock.

To see more posts about the making of Birds of Beebe Woods, see the archives here. An 18″ x 24″ poster (pictured at the beginning of this post) is available through my Etsy Shop.

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Birds of Beebe Woods: cardinals

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See other posts about making Birds of Beebe Woods here. A poster is available from my Etsy Shop.

Most of the birds in Birds of Beebe Woods are the colorful male variety, but I decided to add a pair of cardinals to the mix. The female is shown in her nest, which is made of florist’s rafia-like straw.

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After consulting photographs of cardinals, I did a simple drawing to follow. The basic shape is cut out of matt board and the padding is basted in place. I don’t know what the padding material is made of— a friend gave me a bunch. In this case, I made a felt hood and embroidered feather patterns with variegated thread.

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Then, I stitched the beak and surrounded the bead eye with several rows of black blanket stitching.

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The tail has a wire armature to help keep its shape.

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new “Birds” poster on Etsy

The Birds of Beeebe Woods posters have arrived! My sister, Anne Mavor did the classy graphic design. We picked a chocolate-brown background and gold lettering to set off the warm tones of the piece. The 18 x 24 posters are now available at my Etsy shop. I’ll be traveling in Ireland Sept. 11 – 20, so if you want one before I leave, place an order by Sept. 9th. Otherwise, I’ll fill any orders after I return.

Go here for more information and to see posts about making Birds of Beebe Woods.

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