Yeah! After 4 1/2 months of constant stitching, Birds of Beebe Woods is finished! I know that many of you have been checking in all summer to see its progress. We propped the stretcher on a window sill outside, securing it with duct tape on the top sides. The piece feels heavier than anything I’ve made before. All of that wire adds up in poundage. Over the next few days, my husband Rob will take photographs of it in different lighting conditions outside. For soft shadows, a bright, hazy day, will be perfect. when we get a good photo, I’ll have a poster made to sell in my Etsy shop.
Now that it’s finished, I can bring Birds of Beebe Woods to Mahopac, NY next week, when I give a talk at 7pm at the Mahopac Public Library. This stop on the Pocketful of Posies touring exhibit ends the same day, Wed., August 29th. I hope to see some of you there! To see the full schedule of the tour look here.
Then, the birds piece will be hung with other Beebe Woods inspired artwork at Highfield Hall in Falmouth, MA from Sept. 18 – Nov. 15, 2012, as part if the The Intimate Woods fiber art exhibit. I’m also giving an all day workshop at Highfield Hall in Falmouth on Sat., Oct. 27th. We’ll make felt banners with wrapped wire lettering. Find out more here.
I made my week’s goal of sewing 3 new birds to add to Birds of Beebe Woods! I was so determined to get them done, that I didn’t pause to take photos along the way. They are all approximately life-size. Here’s the show-off male goldfinch.
I love the way the little nuthatch hangs on facing downwards.
And our own Massachusetts state bird, the darling chickadee. It’s time to work on the background now. I’ll be checking in as the piece progresses.
More and more birds are emerging in Birds of Beebe Woods, including this 6″ long cedar waxwing. Here are the felt parts before they were all embroidered and attached.
I like stitching the feather patterns and textures.
The September deadline for the Intimate Woods exhibit at Highfield Hall is approaching, so my goal is to make 3 small birds this week and more after that, if I have time. Then I have to attach everything to a stretched background, which usually takes longer than I think.
I’ve emerged from my months-long blissful state of stitching Birds of Beebe Woods, just long enough to show some process pictures of the crow, whom I’ve named Argyle.
He’s about 13″ from head to tail, with about 2 weeks worth of hand embroidery on his wool felt body.
From time to time, I’ll be posting photos of the other birds in the scene. See the introductory post about Birds of Beebe Woods here. This is a brief report–the birds are calling out, “September deadline, September deadline!”
For the past 2 months, I’ve been working on a large (24″ x 30″) fabric relief piece. I haven’t picked a title yet, but the picture depicts birds in our town owned forest, Beebe Woods.
The deadline to finish is in early September and since my work takes forever, I’ll be stitching right through the summer. The piece will hang in a group fiber show, The Intimate Woods at Highfield Hall in Falmouth, MA, Sept. 18 – Nov. 16, 2012. This will be the same venue for my Pocketful of Posies touring show, when it returns home next year, Sept. 4 – Oct. 31, 2013.
I’ve been taking photos of the different steps and have so far made a crow, robin, and cedar waxwing, with many more birds to come. The stage curtain looking border is made of felt covered wire. Later, when I have time, I’ll show more pictures. Right now, I’m happily in La La Land, immersed in the sewing process, listening to narrated books.
It’s been a while since I’ve shown some closeups, so here’s one about chairs. See the archived posts from the Close-ups Series here.
I use chairs as perches for my little dolls. The trick is making the chairs in shallow relief, so that they don’t stick out too far in my pictures. The first photo shows a girl sitting on a chair made from milled wooden pieces that are used in doll house miniatures.
detail from “The Storyteller” 1998
George’s chair is made with old worn upholstery fabric. The chair’s feet are sculpted with Fimo. Read about and see more pictures from “The Storyteller” and “George’s Chair” in another post here.
Detail from “George’s Chair” mid 90′s
Mary’s mother sits knitting in this detail from Mary Had a Little Lamb. I only had to show a board in the back and one chair leg to achieve her pose.
These little women from The Hollyhock Wall are about 1 1/4″ tall, so their chairs are tiny. They were made of wire wrapped with grey embroidery floss.
The yellow high chair is made from miniature doll house wooden parts. It’s in the kitchen scene in my picture book In the Heart. I was able to get some copies when it went out of print, so I’m offering autographed books for a good price in my Etsy shop.
detail from picture book “In the Heart” 2001
Here are a couple of details from Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes. The girl is sitting in a wicker chair made with floral cloth wire.
Detail from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010
Scallop shells serve as a hat and chair back for this character in “Posies”.
Detail from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010
Last Sunday, we had the pleasure of attending Kat and Devin’s wedding.The bride’s family and my family have been closely connected through several generations. Kat’s grandparents and my grandparents were next door neighbors in Woods Hole in the 1940′s and our families have shared our love of folk dancing, folk music, sailing, and art ever since. Kat is an artist and her husband seems to be a free spirit. Here’s a picture of the dancing wedding couple.
As usual, I made them a wedding banner for a gift. I really lucked out with the felt colors I chose, since the wedding’s predominant color was purple/lavender. I bent wire into the letters of their names and then picked out some decorative objects and beads. The pinkish square object in the center, between their names is a cool leather button I bought years ago.
I then wrapped the wire letters with embroidery floss and stitched the square wavy edged name panel with variegated pima cotton.
I sewed the wire letters and objects to the felt piece.
Then I stitched around the outside edge of the felt banner piece and sewed the square panel in place. I added some fun ”dalmatian” stone beads in a zig zag pattern.
I added some bead and shell embellishments to the scalloped bottom edge and sewed the wrapped wire wedding date to the felt.
I picked some metal beads from India that I thought would bring an interesting texture to the hanging part of the banner.
A section of a strangled bittersweet vine serves as a hanger. I screwed in tiny metal eyes and hung the banner. I hope Kat and Devin like the banner. It was a lovely wedding and I wish the bride and groom many years of happiness!
The Rabbitat film has been viewed over 4000 times since it was posted on Vimeo, 9 months ago! To celebrate, I’ve put together a selection of process photos, most of which have not been published before. Posters of Rabbitat (on left) are available from my Etsy shop. The original fabric relief piece is currently on display at the Woods Hole Public Library and will be included in RISD ICONS: A Legacy of Illustration from Rhode Island School of Design, at the Woods Gerry Gallery, 62 Prospect St., Providence, RI. The exhibit is short, June 13-25.
I’ve finally joined the rest of the world by opening an Etsy shop! It’s taken a while for me to figure out what kind of items to sell, since I’ve given up mass-producing dolls and kits, etc. I could have really used a service like this 30 years ago, or even 10 years ago. At the moment, I’m happy to offer three brand new posters of some of my more popular fabric relief pieces; Self Portrait: A Personal History of Fashion, Rabbitat and On Halloween.
The 18″ x 24″ posters are high quality reproductions, printed on sturdy 100 lb. paper. My sister, Anne Mavor did a beautiful job with the graphic design–so tastefully done. I’m very excited to be offering these, so please visit my shop!
My cousin John and his wife Mariana had a baby girl on March 1st, so I had to drop everything and make a baby banner for Eliza Jane. I took photos along the way, which give an idea of my process. It’s like the wedding banners I’ve been making for a few years. You can see all of them here.
I first made a simple pattern, with her name, birth date and weight written out. Then I cut out a smaller felt square and bent wire to form the letters and numbers.
I wrapped the wire with 2 strands of variegated embroidery floss, hiding the knots behind the curled ends. In this case, wire had to overlap to make the Z. I tried making the fancier lower case script Z, but it was hard to read, so I went with the simpler zigzag style. Below you can see how I made an orange stripe with another thread on top of the embroidery floss in JANE.
I like using variegated thread to edge the felt.
I made a narrow panel for a sheep button and some leaf beads.
Glass leaf beads and a chain stitched vine fill the space between the words.
I’ve had this ceramic sheep button for about 30 years. It’s so satisfying to put it to use in just the right place.
I braided some Greek leather that I bought at a bead show and made a strap to hang the banner. Working with the leather reminded me of making gimp projects at camp. Remember gimp? What a weird material!
Welcome to the world Eliza Jane!