This is a list of the most frequently asked questions about my work. Several subjects come up again and again in the comments on my posts, so I thought I’d devote a whole page to answering them as best I can.
When did you start making fabric reliefs?
I named my work “fabric relief” in about 1980, when people kept asking what it was called. Before this, I made dolls that were photographed in scenes. In an effort to have my work recognized as art, I decided to convert to a relief format which was displayed in a shadow-box frame. The Way Home, my first children’s book illustrated in fabric relief, was published in 1991.
How did you learn this technique?
I am self-taught in fiber art and have developed my style and working methods through experimentation and years of practice. I learned about color and design as an illustration major at the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA 1978).
How long does it take to make a fabric relief illustration?
It takes between 2 weeks and a month to sew the original fabric relief pictures for my children’s books, depending on the size and detail of the illustration. I construct one piece at a time, stitching until it is completed. The characters are made specifically for each piece and not reused multiple times. I spent 3 years making the illustrations for my most recent picture book, Pocketful of Posies.
How many hours a day do you work?
I don’t keep track of the hours, but I work in my studio as much as I can, including the evenings. My husband says,”When Salley’s not sleeping or eating, she’s working in her studio.” Of course that’s not entirely true, I do get out to exercise, work in the garden, meet friends, cook dinner and sometimes even pay attention to my husband.
Do you use a sewing machine?
I only use a sewing machine to make clothes, curtains or pot holders–that kind of thing. My fabric relief pieces are all hand stitched.
Do you have any Blossom fairy kits for sale?
No, I’m sold out of kits, which I made and sold for 10 years, from 1998 – 2008.
Do you teach classes?
In the past, I have taught doll making classes based on my how-to book Felt Wee Folk. I rarely teach now, as my schedule is full of making art, working on books, organizing exhibits and traveling.
Will you write any more how-to books?
After saying for years that I will not write another how-to book, I have recently agreed to put out a second edition of Felt Wee Folk, which was first published in 2003. In the 2nd edition, the popular 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. It 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.
What kind of felt do you use?
Most of the felt in my recent fabric relief pieces is plant-dyed wool felt produced by Heavenly Hues Wool Studio. They have recently changed ownership and their online Etsy shop was empty the last time I checked. A Child’s Dream sells a nice selection of wool felt.
May I make and sell dolls from your how-to book, Felt Wee Folk?
Many people make and sell fairies and dolls based on my designs at craft fairs and online at sites like Etsy. It is alright with me if individuals do this on a limited basis, as long as they give me credit on a tag or in the online description of their dolls.
Do you sell your dolls?
No, I no longer make dolls to sell.
Do you sell your fabric reliefs?
I have sold most of my fabric relief pieces, including many original illustrations. I usually handle sales myself and am not currently represented by a gallery. Some pieces from Pocketful of Posies are sold and will remain on loan for the duration of the traveling exhibit (through 2014). I have recently decided to postpone selling the remaining original illustrations from the book for a few additional years, so they are available to exhibit. Prices range from $2,500 to $6,000. Please contact me if you would like to be notified about artwork for sale.
Will the Pocketful of Posies Traveling Exhibit come to my area?
I would love to send the show all over the country and have extended the tour beyond the original completion date of Dec. 2013. The exhibit schedule is full through August 2014, with plans to book more locations into the future. Prospective hosting venues will need to cover insurance and shipping expenses. The current schedule is listed here and new locations will be added as they are confirmed. Venues which are interested in hosting an exhibit can contact me for more information.