I am happy to show pictures from a story about my work that has just come out in the March issue of Cape Cod Magazine. Last week, a woman showed me her copy, after I gave a lecture down Cape to the Bayberry Quilters. She had the magazine because there’s an article about her roller derby club in the same issue, which I think is pretty cool. A couple of women from my Zumba class this morning mentioned seeing the article, so I tried again and found some copies at the drug store. The photographer, Dan Cutrona took the photos in my studio last fall when I was working on doll projects and setting up scenes for the revision of Felt Wee Folk. I think he did a good job of capturing the essence of my artwork and work place.
We woke up this morning to a hazy, cloudy day, which made me very happy. You see, I’ve been constructing a scene with dolls for my new book, the 2nd edition of Felt Wee Folk (2015 pub. date) and we were hoping to do a photo shoot outside with natural light. The conditions were perfect! The sun was just behind the clouds, shining a defused light that created soft shadows on the dolls’ little faces. We also used a reflector (that large white disk) to shine more light to the subject. It’s my job to hold the reflector at the right angle, but Rob held it while I took this picture. When I showed him this photo, he said, “Oh my, I look like a certified nerd.” I said, “Yeah, that’s my guy!”.
I had to resist the temptation to post closeups of the dolls, but it’s too early to show projects from the book, which isn’t scheduled to come out until 2015. It is not in my nature to hide what I’m up to, but I have to protect my ideas, until the time is right. I know that whatever goes out in cyberspace will be shared, often without regard for the source of origin. So, I’m giving a little peak, quite literally into the camera’s view screen. Hint: Mary Had a Little Lamb.
You may wonder, “Where is this Beebe Woods that keeps popping up in titles on my blog”? It’s a gem of a property (pronounced Bee-bee) in the center of my home town of Falmouth, Massachusetts, right on the edge of Historic Highfield Hall, which was built in 1878 for the Beebe family, who were prominent summer people. My Birds of Beebe Woods piece was made for last year’s exhibit celebrating the forest. Also, Highfield is hosting the Pocketful of Posies traveling exhibit Sept. 4 – Oct. 31, 2013.
This summer, the grounds and gardens of Highfield will be magically transformed into a “fairy” neighborhood, with small-scale habitats hidden throughout the property. Highfield has given me the exciting opportunity to curate The Fairy Houses of Beebe Woods exhibit, which promises to be a popular event during the height of the season.
I’ve invited 2 dozen local artists to participate in the event and they’ve spent the last few months picking building spots, gathering natural construction materials and thinking about what to make and how to make it. Everyone will bring their own vision and sensibility to their structure, creating a wildly varied display full of architectural whimsy. The outdoor exhibit will be open June 20th – July 21, 2013.
This past winter, I made and photographed 2 models that could be used for advance publicity purposes. Since I didn’t use a glue suitable for outdoors, these won’t be in the exhibit, but I will have another house to show. I’m in the process of constructing a more weather resistant cottage that will be perched in a magnificent copper beech tree. I hope that many of you will have a chance to visit the exhibit this summer and for those of you who live far away, I’ll post pictures.
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.
I 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!
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.
I’ve recently added two new archival prints to my Etsy shop. I enjoyed researching lesser known inspirational quotes to go with my artwork. The first image surrounds T.S. Eliot’s remark with an array of fantasy characters from my how-to book Felt Wee Folk. The milkweed fairy below was originally used in the background of Felt Wee Folk’s title page and is now the focus of Emerson’s wise words. The watermarks will NOT appear on the prints. I’m am slowly adding identifying watermarks to my digital images on this blog. Aesthetically, I don’t like it, but with my images being shared all over the internet, I have to do what I can to protect my work from becoming just an anonymous picture with no trace of origin.
If you’ve been looking for my 2003 how-to book, Felt Wee Folk lately, you may have had trouble obtaining a copy. That’s because the publisher has sold out. I anticipated this situation and bought some a few months ago, so I have a limited supply in my Etsy shop. I even have a few copies of the French translation, Personnages et Motif on Etsy.
If you want to have an autographed copy of the original edition, order very soon, because they are selling fast! Your Etsy order of Felt Wee Folk includes a folded Blossom Fairies poster (pictured below). I’m happy that the book has had such a good run, with almost 55,000 copies in print. In this day and age, it’s unusual for a book to last 10 years, especially a craft book. The good news is that the book will continue to be published, just differently. C&T Publishing, Amazon and other online retailers are offering a print-on-demand issue of Felt Wee Folk, which is shown above. The printing and paper quality are not as good as the original, but these minor shortcomings are worth having the book once again available for purchase.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Scallop shells serve as a hat and chair back for this character in “Posies”.
Last week, I saw this picture in the fashion section of the Wall Street Journal. The article pointed out a change in women’s business attire, from dark suits, to bright colors and even florals. The peplum jacket reminded me of my wee folk fairies. Not that today’s business women are wearing folksy petal petticoats and fitted, leafy tops. I’m just glad to see that women in the corporate world are showing more confidence in their own individuality. Those pink shoes have got to go, though!
I designed a felt peplum style jacket for my 3 1/2″ Blossom fairies about a dozen years ago. It is the basic pattern used for the fairy’s clothing in my how-to book Felt Wee Folk. This jacket is the usual giveaway that someone has used my patterns in dolls they sell on Etsy. I don’t mind that they make the dolls and use my patterns for their clothing, but I try to keep up with shop owners and ask that they credit me and my book as the inspiration for their creations. Most everyone honors my request and are usually apologetic, when they realize that they didn’t think to credit me in their product descriptions. One woman said that she assumed it was OK to use my designs because my book is so well-known. Well, the book is still being discovered and I hope it will stay in print for years to come. That means that the publisher needs to see a consistent demand for the book.
I’m not making dolls to sell myself and am happy that people are having such fun making them. The Bayberry Fairy below is included in my new Blossom Fairy Poster, which is available in my Etsy Shop. Want your poster autographed? Just mention it on your order.
My little friend Celeste has made several wee folk dolls and the latest is a miniature Yo Yo Ma. Celeste is studying cello and she had the opportunity to see him perform in Hyannis last week. The doll and a card were given to an assistant, who was to pass it on to Yo Yo himself. The doll is appropriately dressed in a black tuxedo, with wire rimmed glasses, holding a cut-out cello. Thank you, Celeste, for making such a nice gift and letting me share it. I’m sure that Yo Yo will be thrilled!