We were really struck by the expressive and engaging people in Cuba. On a popular tourist street in Havana, Polly Doll met her match with this character dressed up as a washer woman. Of course, it’s easy to feel like a repressed New Englander anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line, especially in a Latin culture. With the exception of the cigar smoking newspaper seller, the people we encountered while waking around the city loved having their photo taken. Around every corner, there was someone interesting to see!
Within my sphere of friends, two new baby boys have recently been born. So, I made them each a little jacket, which is my go-to baby gift. I love going through my stash and picking out fabric to use for the outside, lining and bias edging. I’ve used the same Simplicity pattern 9647 for about 30 years, adapting it with cotton quilt batting padding, so it’s warm. Their names are chained stitched on the front. Welcome to the world, Eli and Kieran!
I returned from our trip to Cuba (see posts here) to find my Birds on the cover of the March issue of the Embroiderer’s Guild of America’s Needle Arts Magazine! Of course, I knew about the article, but I was unaware that my piece would be on the cover, so it was a nice surprise. Thank you, Shirley Wozena, for describing my work so well in the article. Mary Corbet’s Needle N’Thread blog has a post about this issue and EGA in general.
It is gratifying to know that many of the magazine’s readers have been introduced to my work for the first time. The article shows photos of the process of making the Birds of Beebe Woods, which are some of the same pictures I’ve shared on this blog. I’ve heard from people who want to know if I have instructions or a kit to make their own. Embroidery and needlework has a strong tradition of copying and learning from patterns and directions, so it’s a natural assumption that I would share my techniques. I’m glad that embroiderers are inspired to learn more, but honestly, I can’t imagine revisiting this piece like that and writing out detailed directions.
Yes, I post photos of general steps along the way and have written how-to instructions for the dolls in Felt Wee Folk, but it only goes so far. For instance, in the past, some have expressed frustration that I haven’t shown detailed instruction on how to form hands and fingers. My answer is that I consider the more involved process of making my fabric reliefs a proprietary personal expression that I’m not sure I can explain effectively anyways. My work requires a non-analytical approach that I don’t want to tamper with. For me, recounting the process would be going back in time, instead of moving forward. And, I don’t want to ruin the magic, because that’s what keeps me excited about making the next piece!
This month has been an embarrassment of riches, in the magazine department. Because of postponements, it just happened that everything came out in March. In addition to Needle Arts, there was the Cape Cod magazine profile. The Horn Book Magazine has my essay, “The Common Thread” in their March/April illustration issue and Fiber Art Now has included my Birds piece in their On View feature.
I’ve been cleaning up my studio, going through boxes and bags left over from my kit making days. Even after I discontinued the kits, I would buy flowers out of habit, so I have a lot in my stash. Now, I’d like to clear space for the post-fairy phase of my artistic career. I know that some people who make fairy dolls from my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk have trouble finding the right kind of petals for skirts and wings. So, I’ve decide to offer them for sale in my Etsy Shop. I’ve put a variety of colors and sizes in packages with enough petals to make skirts and wings for 6 fairies.
Also, for each purchase of Felt Wee Folk, I’m including a bonus bag with enough petals to dress 2 fairies. You still have to find acorn caps and the other parts yourself, but there are enough petals to get started. That is, until you get hooked on making them and have to go in search of more supplies!
We’re back from our trip to Cuba, with a couple thousand photos to comb through. A photographer’s dream, Cuba is a complicated country, full of life and longing. In Havana, I felt that I was walking around in the middle of a post-apocalyptic Fellini film set.
You may wonder how we, as Americans, were allowed to enter Cuba. For the past few years, the embargo has been loosened enough so that educational groups can travel with person-to-person visas. We went with a tour organized by the Marine Biological Laboratory here in Woods Hole. More and more educational institutions are offering tours to Cuba, which I heartily recommend!
Polly is leaving snowy New England for a warmer climate. She has a new outfit, as well as a special people-to-people visa for her trip to Cuba. Did I mention that Polly has a thing about Pippi Longstocking and Carmen Miranda? She’s a bit cold standing outside in the snow in her cotton skirt and blouse, but she’ll soon be sun burned and sweaty. Stay tuned for photos of Polly’s travels upon her return!
Please Note: My Etsy Shop will be open while I’m away, but orders won’t be shipped until March 17th.