While traveling on the west coast of Scotland, we stayed in the port town of Oban for a few days. The weather was glorious, with incredible light in the early morning and at dusk. From here we took the ferry to the islands of Mull and then Iona, which I will show later.
I am excited to let you know that my work is featured in the current issue (88) of Inspirations Magazine, which is published in Australia. The profile, titled “A Wonderful World”, is a 3 page interview with lots of photos. The whole magazine is beautifully produced and lives up to its reputation as “the world’s most beautiful embroidery magazine”.
I’m so impressed with the article layout and am thrilled to have a spread about textile super star Kaffe Fassett on the facing page! A big thank you to the editors at Inspirations for inviting me to tell my story and share my work with a wider audience of embroidery enthusiasts.
I know it’s rushing the season, but for those of you who celebrate Christmas, it’s time to get started on making a nativity scene, so that you have it ready to display during the holidays. This set is from my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures, which has patterns and directions for making Mary, Joseph, the infant Jesus, 3 Kings and a shepherd and his sheep.
In this post, I show what the scene looked like in my studio, before we took photos for the book.
The nativity figures are fun to make and can be as simple or decorative as you want. I especially enjoyed coming up with the costumes for the three kings. Their gifts are different beads that look liked containers.
For the photo shoot, I made the manger from curved pieces of driftwood, creating an arched structure. The back drop is a dark purple piece of felt with sewed on star sequins.
Bayberry branches and dried foliage were the right scale for trees and brush. I used beach stones to fill gaps and build up the surrounding landscape. A pail full of beach sand covered the plywood base and the straw bedding was dried beach grass.
The photo below is the one Rob and I chose for the book. We used a different photography method, which gives a more dramatic nighttime effect. We took the photo at night, in a completely dark room. During a long expose time of about 10 seconds, Rob “painted with light”, pointing and moving a small flash light around the areas he wanted lit up. We repeated that many times, until we had a good selection of photos from which to choose.
I’ve already heard from several enthusiastic people who are in the process of making or have competed a Nativity of their own. And I’m sure that each set of characters will be as unique as their maker!
In the Scottish lowlands, we visited Abbotsford, the home of 19th century author Sir Walter Scott, who’s historical novels were influential in popularizing and romanticizing Scotland’s past.
The building and gardens were impressive. Rosie got a good view from high up with the hollyhocks.
The interior rooms held an even more amazing collection of treasures, my favorites being the entryway full of armor and wooden sculpture and the sitting room, with its hand painted Chinese wallpaper.
Remember when Polly went missing and I had to come up with a replacement traveler? Well, Rosie was a great sport to fill in and she ended up having a great trip. But low and behold, who did she find in Scotland but Polly! After she got over the shock of seeing her bedraggled cousin in the heather, Rosie listened to Polly’s story. Polly told the harrowing tale of how she stowed away in a backpack, making it through airport security and the trans Atlantic flight. She barely survived being crammed inside a pocket with a pair of sun glasses and a bottle of aspirin. But, she was glad to not be left behind! From then on, Polly and Rosie were inseparable. They climbed stone walls at Urquhart Castle…
visited Melrose Abbey…
traipsed through moss at The Falls of Bruar…
petted Greenfriar’s Bobby and walked the street of Edinburgh.
They hiked through magical woods…
and visited the site of the Battle of Culloden. Polly and Rosie made it home safely and will rest a bit before their next adventure!
Rosie’s trip to Scotland began with a dramatic encounter with a local bear at a road side pub between Glasgow and Oban. With a combination of perseverance and ingenuity, she was able to excuse herself after lunch and continued on her journey.
She took a boat to the Island of Iona, where she said hello to some sweet cows and drank heather ale.
She loved visiting Sir Walter Scott’s magnificent home, Abbotsford…
and Eilean Donan castle.
She met a piper…
and posed with sets of armor and a stained glass window at Edinburgh castle. Stay tuned for future posts ~ Rosie’s travels will continue here, with an exciting discovery!