Polly’s packed and ready

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Polly’s going on another adventure tomorrow! It took the better part of a week for her to figure out what to wear on this trip. She’ll only have one outfit, so it has to work for everything. Polly looked through her clothes from Antarctica, Ireland, California, China Town (San Francisco) and Cuba, but they were not right for this trip.

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Polly decided to get something new that was a little more practical and nautical; a simple blue skirt and striped top. An acorn cap beret fits nicely on top of her head, too. Among other things, she’ll be helping navigate a barge along the Canal du Midi in southern France. There will be so much to share when she returns in a couple of weeks!Pollyhousefrancedetail

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Hither and Yon travels 99 miles

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Earlier this week, we tied Hither and Yon onto the truck and drove 99 miles northwest to its next location in Harvard, MA. To make sure it made the trip in one piece, I wrapped the more delicate, dangling parts with fabric and duct tape. Linda Hoffman, Old Frog Pond Farm’s owner and exhibit coordinator had selected a tree to install my piece. It was at the beginning of a fork in the wooded path, making a natural spot to entice people to walk in the direction of Hither and Yon.

Linda took Rob and me around her amazing property, which includes acres of lovely lily pad ponds, orchards and woods. Her annual sculpture walk at Old Frog Pond Farm was the inspiration for this summer’s Portals and Passageways exhibit at Highfield Hall in Falmouth. Linda and I both had pieces in the show and met at the opening in June. That’s when she asked if I’d like to be a part of her event this fall. I told her that I’d love to and offered Hither and Yon, if the schedule worked out.  Well, it couldn’t have worked out better. We took it down one day and installed it in its new location the next day. Despite being outside all summer, the piece is in very good shape. You can see a video about the making of Hither and Yon here.

I encourage everyone in the Boston area to make the trip out to beau-colic Harvard (the town, not the college) to see this show! I hope to meet some of you at the Opening Artist Reception on the 21st.

Around the Pond and Through the Woods ~ Sculpture Walk at Old Frog Pond Farm, Harvard, MA. Opening Artist Reception, Sept. 21, 2014, 1- 5 pm. (I’ll be there!), Open weekends, 1 – 5 pm until Oct. 5.

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“Hither and Yon” Video!

I’m excited to share this new Hither and Yon video that my husband Rob made. It documents the making and installation of my sculpture, which is part of this summer’s “Portals and Passageways” exhibit at Highfield Hall and Gardens in Falmouth, MA. The show will be there through Sept. 7th, so there’s still time to roam the beautiful grounds and see all of the varied interpretations of the theme.

Over the spring, Rob filmed the making of the piece, starting with a scene of me cutting down the naturally bowed tree I found in the snowy woods. During the next few weeks, I called him into my studio periodically to record different stages of the process; drawing out the lettering, wrapping wire with felt, stitching and forming the words. The film ends with a time lapse sequence showing the installation of the piece at Highfield Hall. Rob and I had so much fun working on this video. I hope that you enjoy it!

I’ve really liked being involved with the exhibit and connecting with some of the other artists. I met Linda Hoffman, who invited me to bring Hither and Yon to her Frog Pond Farm in Harvard, MA for her annual sculpture walk, Around the Pond and Through the Woods. It looks like a beautiful property and she’s picked out a couple of trees for me choose from. We’ll be transporting the sculpture on top of my car and installing it soon after the Falmouth show ends. The exhibit opens Sept. 14th, 1-5 pm and there’s an artist reception on Sun., Sept 21, which I hope to attend.

beach scene from early on

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I made this beach scene In 1982 and haven’t seen it in all these years. Recently, I had the opportunity to borrow it from its owner, so that Rob could take a decent photograph. It’s funny how time and memory can play tricks. The old slide from 1982 was of such poor quality, that not much detail was visible. In my imagination, the piece had shrunk and the composition had changed. I was surprised to see that the piece actually measures 18″ W x 24″ H, utilizes a sewing machine and is mounted on a wooden board. Now-a-days, I hand stitch everything and attach the background fabric to a stretcher.

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During this time, I experimented with small figures, creating bodies with cloth covered wire. These 2″ sunbathers are made with some kind of shiny polyester fabric, something I would be hard pressed to use today. But, I think it gives the illusion of sun tan oiled skin. You can see how I tried to stitch fingers and toes, but they look more like paws.

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Back then, my designs were so much more graphic, with lots of open space. Now, I have a hard time keeping myself from filling in every inch. I’m inspired to find a happy balance somewhere in between. It’s helpful to revisit these pieces from early on, to notice the continuity, as well as changes that inform what I do today.

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Hither and Yon installed

HitherandYonblogThere’s going to be another outdoor art exhibit at Highfield Hall in Falmouth, Massachusetts, Portals and Passageways.  I’m excited to be a part of this Cape Cod Art and Environmental Sculpture Exhibit.
June 29 - Sept. 7, 2014 ~ Portals and Passageways, Highfield Hall, Falmouth, MA. Artist Reception: June 29, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm.

Update: See the Hither and Yon video here.

Last summer, I curated the Fairy Houses of Beebe Woods Exhibit at Highfield Hall (to return in 2015), but this year I am happy to be just one of the artists who’s made a portal or passageway for this year’s show.

My piece, Hither and Yon  uses the same felt covered wire lettering technique that I’ve used in other projects (see here). But this time, the scale is LARGE!

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Last winter, after being invited to make an installation, I walked around the Highfield property, looking for a spot that called to me. Coming down the path along the west garden, I saw a beech tree leaning toward the path and envisioned a curved branch arching over, creating a space to pass under. I immediately knew that this was where my passageway would be located! I wanted to incorporate words into a kind of sign. 

HitherandYondrawingI searched the woods around our house and located an 8′ young tree that had grown with a natural bend. I cut it down and brought it over to the Highfield site to see if it would work. Rob took a photo of me holding the branch up against the leaning beech tree and it was the perfect size and shape! I reduced the photo’s contrast and printed out a bunch of copies. After settling on the words, “Hither and Yon”, I drew on top of the photo, outlining the branch with a marker, trying out several designs. I carried the branch into my studio, lay it on my work table and drew out the letters to scale on a large piece of paper. This would be used as a template to form the felt covered wire letters.

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I wound wire with 1/2″ wide (or larger) strips of felt and embroidered it with rows of seed stitches. I used acrylic felt because it’s cheap and I figured that it would hold up through rainy weather. There had to be decorative stitching, of course, even though the sign would be hanging up high, away from close inspection.

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I bent the wire, writing out the letters and sewing them in place.

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Being an outdoor sculpture, the sign had to withstand the forces of wind and rain. I attached screw eyes to the wooden branch, which anchored the wire (covered in white) and reinforced the lettering, helping to keep it stable and in position. I sewed the letters wherever I could to the grey underline strip and the white covered wire.

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Yes, it had to be strong, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t add another stretch of decorative zig-zagged wire and wooden beads along the top.

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The last challenge was figuring out how to attached the sign to the beech tree without hammering or drilling into the trunk. My engineer husband Rob’s suggestion of using ratchet straps worked beautifully! I padded the lower part of the branch with an old yoga mat and covered it with some cotton fabric that  was a close match to the tree’s bark. The glaring red ratchet straps were also padded and covered with the camouflage fabric. Hither and Yon is now installed and hardly moves at all in the wind– just the suspended beads at the tip flutter around. Let’s hope that it holds up through the summer. It is so satisfying to have an idea, not knowing exactly how it will come out and working toward making it appear as you envisioned. And it’s come out exactly how I saw it in my mind!

I’d like to thank Annie Dean of  Highfield Hall for her perseverance and vision in making this show a reality. Portals and Passageways looks to be an exciting event and I hope that many of you can come see it. You can walk around the grounds any time, not just when the museum is open.

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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