Speaking of fairies…
Since last week, many new subscribers have signed up, with dozens from France. They may like to know that my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk was published in French in 2003. It is titled Personnages et Motifs: Creations Malicieuses, published by Les Editions de Saxe. I believe it is out-of-print, but used copies may be available.
Depuis la semaine dernière, de nombreuses personnes, des douzaines de français, se sont inscrites. Soyez les bienvenus sur mon Blog! Sachez que mon livre explicatif Felt Wee Folk est publié enFrancesous le titre Personnages et Motifs: Creátions Malicieuses par les Editions de Saxe.
I brought the Berry Family outside for an airing. They’re a bit moth-eaten–a downside to working with wool. For the last couple of winters, I’ve gotten into the habit of bringing all of my felt and felt clothed dolls outside when the temperature dips below freezing, hoping to kill any moths.
I made the mother, father (4″ tall) and baby members of the Berry Family in 2005, as a Ltd. edition of 25. They are based on the patterns from my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk. All of my Ltd. edition dolls are currently sold out and I won’t be makning any more.
I like they way she captured the spirit of Thanksgiving by giving this woman a rolling-pin. The dolls look comfortable in their natural environment, surrounded by moss, flowers and branches. Great job, Shirley, and thank you for sharing a part of your Thanksgiving celebration!
She learned how to make these dolls from my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects. It’s rewarding to see how people use the patterns and directions from the book as a spring board to creating their own characters and scenes.
I’ve finished another limited edition of 25 fairies, just in time for the holidays. Iris has auburn braids and a purple petal skirt and wings.
Update: All of the Iris fairy dolls have sold.
I’ve found that I can usually find enough matching flower petals and wings to make a group (or swarm) of 25 fairies.
It’s a manageable number to make at one time and then I feel free to move on to other projects.
Instructions and patterns for making fairies like this are in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects.
Here are the petal petticoats, all stacked and ready to dress the fairies.
Now they’re waiting for their turn in the braiding salon.
Carol Chittenden from Eight Cousins bookstore asked me to come in and sign another box of books. She sold out of the copies of Pocketful of Posies I signed last week, so I was more than happy to sign some more. To order autographed copies call Eight Cousins at (508) 548-5548. Judy Richardson and I went by this morning after our dance aerobics class at the Rec center. 19 years ago, Judy and I celebrated the publication of our book, The Way Home. Read about the making of our book on earlier posts starting here. We gathered in the back room at Eight Cousins.
I signed a book for Judy’s relatives, a family with a boy and twin girls.
Out front, my book was in good company, next to a card board display of David Wiesner’s new book, Art and Max. David and I were both illustration majors at RISD, class of ’78. He was quiet and serious, but had a bold, determined side. I remember a mural he painted on the wall in the house he shared with some friends of mine. It was a huge copy of one of Henri Rouseau’s fantasy jungle scenes. I saw David at a RISD reunion a few years ago and was happy to see that he was still as kind and friendly as he’s used to be.
In the recent post about my book release party at Highfield Hall (see here), I said that I hadn’t taken any pictures of the wee folk centerpiece. Well, Carol from Eight Cousins was thinking clearly enough to take some, so here are her photos of the me setting up refreshments in the dining room.
In the last post, I mentioned making a centerpiece for the Pocketful of Posies book release party at Highfield. Since I forgot to take pictures of the finished setup, here are some shots taken during the construction phase. Many of the dolls were models for projects in my how-to book Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects and were unearthed for this event.
I arranged driftwood and logs that the wee folk could sit on and climb up. Old, dried up bayberry bushes, with their compact spread of small branches make good wee folk scale trees.
I drilled holes in the wood for small screw eyes, which served as anchors for the dolls. I felt like a prison guard, shackling their tiny ankles and tying their waists to the screw eyes with wire. But, it was to protect them from easy escape into the hands of big folk.
One vertical log needed a rope ladder, so I gathered some possible materials; jute rope and twine, old fishing line, a woven wooden slat place mat .
I selected the fatter jute rope and pulled out a wooden slat from the place mat. To make the rungs, I fed broken off wood sections through the rope and lashed them in place with an improvised knot. I wished we had learned knot tying in girl scouts. You never can tell when you’ll need outdoor survival skills!
Here’s Jack climbing up the finished rope ladder. See Jack climbing the bean stalk here.
Here are some characters from Felt Wee Folk.
And a grandpa with his grandchildren. It sure was fun playing with these dolls again and bringing them on a short outing to my exhibit at Highfield.
The one woman border stitching factory is running double shifts to get the illustrations finished and framed in time for my Pocketful of Posies traveling exhibit, which you can read about here. This one is from the page for the rhyme “Ring around the rosie”. The border turned out to be much more involved than I planned and took several days to complete. From now on, I can’t afford to play around, trying out different approaches for each piece. It’s time to get serious. My goal is to complete one a day, so I’ll have all 51 ready by mid Sept., when we hang the show.
I picked out some upholstery fabric for the background and then chose the felt border colors.
I like to lay out different skeins of pima cotton from the Caron Collection next to the artwork and pick a color scheme that matches.
Then I edge the border pieces with a blanket stitch.
There’s a lot of open green space around the dancing figures in this illustration, so I thought that the border could take some embellishment. I did a little sketch of some leafy curled stems and embroidered them.
One thing led to the next and before I knew it, I was filling the leaves with orange floss and scattering french knots around like confetti.
When I put the finished border piece next to the artwork, it looked too busy and the many colors detracted from the circle of characters. It was clear to me that the first try didn’t look right and instead of wasting time trying to make it work, I quickly moved on. I put it aside and decided to make another design that was still embellished, but was limited to green chain stitching.
They were true doodles, done free hand, with every border section different. That way, I don’t have to plan it out and repeat exactly the same design for all 4 side pieces. Also, without a set pattern, the border more accurately reflects the lighthearted and uninhibited mood of the characters.
I then embroidered the date and my initials on the bottom corner pieces.
And continued doodling…
After sewing the side and corner pieces together to make a square border, I thought that it needed a little lift off the surface, so I added some wire around the outside edge.
Later, after I’d sewn the wire all around, I realized that I should cut and adjust the wire to conform to the curves of the corner pieces.
I then covered the wire by wrapping it with variegated embroidery floss.
And to help define the form, I slipped some wire through the stitches on the backside of the inside edge, like a underwire bra.
Now, I sewed the whole wire supported border to the artwork and bent waves into the outside scalloped edge.
I’m half way through making the borders, with about 25 to go! I’ll try to remember to pause and take pictures as I go, but know some steps won’t be documented because I’m so intent on finishing this project.
Note: See other posts from the Pocketful of Borders series here.