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!
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 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.
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!
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
Blue Blossom Fairy has been cooped up inside for a few years, so I took her for an outing. We first went to visit an old beech tree.
And then flew over to my patch of zinnias, which were perfect little cushion covered stools.
She’s average height for a fairy, about 3″ tall.
Little Jack went up the bean stalk in my garden the other day. The magic Big Mama lima beans were growing so fast and tall, that he felt compelled to see what was at the top. He’s still climbing toward the sky!
How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence. ~Benjamin Disraeli
Here are a couple of pieces that I made in 1982, when I was transitioning from 3d sculptural work to flatter, framed pieces. I started using the term “fabric relief” about then because people kept asking what they were called. It’s still hard to explain what I do at cocktail parties!
The water coming out of the hose is metallic thread. The figures playing croquet are very early “wee folk” with cloth heads instead of the painted wooden ones I use now.
This is a detail from the strawberry garden scene in a illustration from Mary Had a Little Lamb. The stones were glued onto the velveteen background fabric.
Here’s another Mary character in her garden, this one from The Hollyhock Wall. Her hair is wool fleece and the background is embroidery on dyed velveteen.
“Eleven, Twelve, dig and delve”. This illustration is part of a rhyme in Pocketful of Posies. The straw hat is made with thread wrapped wire and the spade blade is a heart charm.
Note: See other posts in the Close-ups series archive here.
With a good balance of sun and rain, along with warm temperatures early in the spring, it’s been an incredible garden season. Both vegetables and flowers are healthy and beautiful. At this point, I just grow flowers that are easy and take care of themselves. If they live through the winter, I divide the plants in the spring and give them away or find new ground to cover.
I forgot to cut back the trumpet vine this year and it looks more like a tree than a vine.
The clematis is so showy and brilliant purple.
Lilies are taking over!
I love the way hydrangea look at their different stages of growth. This could be clusters of french knots or seed beads.
More and more lillies.
Here are some fairies that were caught on film during the month of July a few years ago. They were all sighted within a 1/4 mile of my house.
Also, take a look at my interview with the Empty Easel, an online art magazine which features practical advice, tips, and tutorials for creating and selling art.