fairy girls in the studio

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Last week, I had a delightful visit with Bronwyn Malicoat and a carload of girls, who drove to my studio in Falmouth, from Provincetown, which is at least a 1 1/2 hour ride from the other end of Cape Cod. It’s common knowledge that people from our different poles rarely visit each other (especially in the summer), because there is no direct route and the traffic can be a pain. But, I’m really glad that they came, bursting out of the car with their little fairies in hand. The girls are enrolled in Bronwyn’s summer craft program, which includes a good dose of fairy projects.

When they arrived, Rob and I were just finishing a photo shoot out on our patio.

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Here, the girls are looking at the scene, which includes some of my doll projects. They’ll be in the 2nd edition of my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk. Sorry, but I can’t show any details until the book is published in 2015.

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They were so proud of their fairies that they made earlier in the week.

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They played with them the whole time they were outside.

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They ate what was left of the blueberry crop and took photos of their fairies in the blueberry bushes.

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Then, they looked around my studio and took more pictures.

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It was a treat to spend time with Bronwyn and her students. Being the mother of sons, I have not been around young girls very much and being in their company brought back childhood memories of playing with my sister and friends. We would spend hours making things and setting up scenes to play with. Come to think of it, I still do that now!

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my garden

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Yesterday, I picked the last of the blueberries and the first golden cherry tomatoes from our garden. We have a wire mesh cage to keep the birds away from the blueberry bushes. Still, chipmunks manage to get find a way in and fill their cheeks to capacity. Unlike the birds, they leave plenty of berries for us!

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The lilies are just about gone, but the trumpet vine is flowering.

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My husband Rob took the closeup photos of wildlife and flowers found in our garden this spring and summer. You can see more of his great pictures on Flickr here.

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Fairy Houses of Beebe Woods #3

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“Home of the Tooth Fairy” by Sue Beardsley

People are still flocking to see The Fairy Houses of Beebe Woods exhibit, which will be in and around the grounds of Highfield Hall until July 21st. Stop by the building to get a tour map during their open hours (M – F, 10 – 4, S – S 10 – 2) or print out your own from this pdf file.

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detail from “Home of the Tooth Fairy” by Sue Beardsley

My husband, Rob took these “house portraits” of the dwellings in the morning or evening light, depending on their orientation. As you can see, each artist has interpreted the Fairy House theme in a vastly different way. More photographs of other houses can be seen on posts #1 and #2.

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“Beech House” by Bobbi Bailin

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detail from “Beech House” by Bobbi Bailin

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“Casa de Hadas” by Anne Halpin

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“Low Living High Flying” by Molly Bang

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“Fire Flye Hollow” by Amy Wilson Sanger

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“The Ministry of Metamorphosis & Faerie Hatchery” by Angela Tanner

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“Sea Shanty” by Rebecca Edwards

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“Solvagen” by Jane Parhiala

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“Wild Cherry Village” by Skee Houghton

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“Sentinel” by Andrea Moore

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“Chippikomuk” by Jenny Junker

Fairy Houses of Beebe Woods #2

fairyhouse8bThe Fairy Houses of Beebe Woods exhibit continues to draw visitors, rain or shine. One of the structures that has held up well through the thunder storms of the past week is Basia Goszczynska’s extraordinary “Golden Dwelling”. She constructed her cozy house out of saplings, moss and lichen on site, between the roots of a giant beech tree

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Take a look at Basia’s website and be wowed by her work in stop-motion animation.fairyhouse8c

Here’s a shot of the mossy living space far inside. One person commented that Basia’s house looked to be most comfortable and inviting.

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Inspired by the wooden cut-out wings we saw at the Florence Griswold Museum last fall, Highfield’s Annie Dean painted some for our exhibit. I was hoping to find some children to pose in front, but they were all roaming the property, looking for fairy houses.

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Sheila Payne was the first person I thought of when making a list of artists for the exhibit, way back in the winter. She has been making little abodes around her own house for decades and puts on the best fairy tea parties. When asked what she would make for this show, she replied, “Oh, just a standard fairy house.” I have known Sheila for 50 years and there is nothing standard about her!

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Sheila Payne’s “Pipsissewa Place”.

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And another remarkable miniature world made by Wendy Bagley. “Woodland House of Wonder” stretches along a stone wall on the edge of the path into Beebe Woods.

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Here’s a photo from the opening reception on June 23rd. From left to right, my husband Rob Goldsborough (who look many of the photos), Wendy and Sheila. They’re wearing bead necklaces with leaf name tags that I made for the artists. The houses will be on display until July 21st at Highfield Hall and Gardens in Falmouth, MA. You can print out your own map from this PDF file.  More pictures to come!

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Fairy Houses of Beebe Woods #1

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We had the most glorious day for the opening of The Fairy Houses of Beebe Woods exhibit at Highfield on Sunday. All 23 habitats were installed and ready for the hundreds of visitors who showed up for the event. This past week, one of the artists, Jenny Junker brought her children along while she constructed “Chippikomuk” at her site (below). Her daughter Ursula made her own “Pine Cone Cottage” (above).jennyjunkerWM

To help celebrate, I had Jo Ann from Cape Cod Henna decorate my hand. The design has gotten darker since the weekend and people think it’s a real tattoo, which makes me feel quite daring! It’s supposed to last for a few weeks, so I’m going to have fun with it. I also wore a brocade vest I made a few years ago.

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People really enjoyed following the fairy house tour map which brought them to parts of the property that they may not have seen before. I made a colored pencil drawing of Highfield with the house locations. A graphic designer added my curator’s note, the list of fairy house names and their makers to the finished printed map, which is available in the building. You can also print out your own from this PDF file. As you can see, the houses are situated in a wide scope, throughout the gardens and walkways of the property. The exhibit will be open until July 21, M – F 10am – 4pm, Sat. and Sun. 10am – 2pm.

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“Hidden House”, made by artist Julie Child invites close inspection.

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Barbara Whitehead and Bruce Safley constructed “Texas Redbud Cottage” this past winter in Texas. They brought it with them on their yearly drive north to their summer place in Woods Hole. It looks so good standing high above the boxwood hedge in the sunken garden.

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Pippa Ryan brought her delightful creation outside during the opening. “Pippa’s House” was her high school senior project last year. Her house and another one are protected from the weather inside the building.

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Glen Carliss’s remarkable house, “Stonehedge” is being called a lighthouse by children who see it. Word about the exhibit is spreading fast and I can imagine many cell phone photos are being shared far and wide. For those who live too far away to visit, I will post more pictures of the other houses soon.

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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!

Rabbitat (stitching details)

The Rabbitat film has been viewed over 4000 times (11,000 in March 2014) 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.

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Rabbitat – part 5 (garden gate)

I added the garden gate about half way through the process of making Rabbitat. Since I changed the design from vertical to horizontal, I needed something in the lower right to balance the rabbit topiary on the left. I also wanted to create  a transition from the foreground to the background and make an an entrance into the rabbit world.

I selected some driftwood and carved joints into the pieces. I then drilled holes in the joints and glued the pieces together with wire in the holes for reinforcement.

On a jig saw, I cut out a wooden rabbit shape to put on top of the gate.

I wanted bars in the gate, so I bent some 32 gauge cloth-covered wire and wrapped it with embroidery floss.

Then I had to figure out what to use for hinges and a latch. I got out my collection of little metal do-dads, but wasn’t satisfied with how they looked. Shiny metal didn’t seem to fit in the rabbit’s world. I ended up using clay tube beads for the hinges and wrapped wire for the latch.

I worked around the gate for many weeks, sewing the tree and constructing parts of the scene’s landscape.

I created a felt stone pathway leading to the gate, with french knot moss. Thinking ahead, I stitched my initials into the design on the right hand corner.

To see more posts in this series and to view the Rabbitat film click here.

cruise to Cuttyhunk (part 2)

Continued from cruise to Cuttyhunk (part 1).

The next morning we took our dingy to the Cuttyhunk dock and walked through town.

We went to the Cuttyhunk Fishing Club for breakfast.

On the way we came across this “Bed and Breakfast” garden.

I love this flower bed.

There was an incredible view of Vineyard Sound from the dining porch.

We walked back through the village a different way.

With just a few short roads and no gas station, golf carts are the prefered transportation method.

From the hill on top of the island, you can see the Elizabeth Island chain going north toward Woods Hole.

We walked down to the dock, took our dingy back to our boat and motored home. What a wonderful getaway!

Close-ups (foliage)

This series of close-ups shows the progression of my stitching technique and style over 20 years of illustrating children’s books. The first picture shows a detail of the banana trail that Savi the elephant follows through the jungle in The Way Home (1991). Read the story about making The Way Home here.

from "The Way Home" 1991

I made a stencil and painted grass on the velveteen background in The Way Home‘s sequel, Come to my Party (1993).

from "Come to My Party" 1993

Jump ahead a dozen years and I’m embroidering blades of grass and sewing glass beads to a wool felt background in the board book, Hey! Diddle, Diddle.

detail from "Hey! Diddle, Diddle" 2005

And still obsessing over french knots in Jack and Jill.

detail from "Jack and Jill" 2006

This one shows a small section of the illustration from the song One misty moisty morning in my most recent book, POCKETFUL OF POSIES . If you are having difficulty finding a copy of the book, it’s because the first printing has sold out. My local bookstore, Eight Cousins, stocked up, so they might still have some (508.548.5548). The situation will soon be remedied, as the second printing will arrive from Hong Kong in mid-January.

detail from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010