Mossy Glen overview

On this cold January day, I’d like to transport us all to springtime in the Mossy Glen. I began making this new piece in my 4 seasons series last May, just when light green buds started appearing on the maple trees. While I worked on it all summer and into the early fall, I took photos of different stages of the process. As with last year’s winter landscape, Frosty Morning, I will be posting several stories about how I created the different parts for Mossy Glen, from the plants and moss to the little characters frolicking about.

To do that, it’s going to take some adjustment on my part. First off, I’m going to have to turn on the explaining part of my brain, which has been dormant for quite a while. Writing this introductory post and sorting out which photos to include is a way to ease the transition from doing to talking about doing. While I’m in the middle of a project, I give myself over to whatever I’m envisioning and trust that it will work out. I solve each problem as it appears, always keeping the big picture in mind. I don’t try to explain the process, even to myself, for fear of dispelling the magic.

Throughout the months that I was making Mossy Glen, I shared glimpses of my work table on Facebook and/or Instagram. Understandably, my followers were curious about how this or that was made. I gave brief and evasive answers, like “I’ll explain later when it’s finished.” and “Let’s just call it magic.” It’s a tease of sorts, but true to my experience. Now that the piece has been finished for a while, I’m free to go back and review the process with a more analytical eye.

There’s a lot to show and I’m still figuring out how to organize the parts. I’ll be sharing several Stitch Minute videos that give closeup views of me working on different sections of the piece.

I’ll be covering moss-making and stone wall building…

and forsythia blossoming…

and views of constructing the little figures living in the hillside.

I’ll show how I made the cherry trees…

and violets…

and even a mini clothes line.

Please stay tuned for more photos, videos and explanations in the coming weeks.

Mossy Glen and Frosty Morning note cards are available in my Etsy shop.

To keep up with new posts, please subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). Your contact info will not be sold or shared. If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram

Glancing back, looking forward

All year, I’ve been in full making mode, creating art for no reason other than the pure joy of it. You may ask, “Shouldn’t that be its purpose all along?” Maybe so, but the motivation to make art can take many forms. Throughout my career, I’ve made art to express emotions, shed light on issues and to connect with an audience, as well as more practical reasons, like making money and honoring contracts. This year was going to be less pressure-filled and more spontaneous. And it was, mostly, but it took fending off the strong impulse to assign a purpose to what I was making.

One of the advantages of hand stitching is that it forces you to to slow down and take notice of where you’ve been and where you’re going, artistically speaking. The goal isn’t so much to get it done, but to be immersed in the process, to respond to cues and make adjustments along the way.

4 Seasons Series: Last January, I set out to work solely on a group of seasonal landscapes that capture the wonder and magic of the natural world, both real and imagined. I’ve completed 2 pieces in this series, Frosty Morning and Mossy Glen, which I’ll write about in 2022. I’ve begun a new fall scene and hope to have all 4 seasons finished before 2023. As always, you can follow along and see their progress in real time on Facebook and/or Instagram. 

Frosty Morning and Mossy Glen will be on view in my upcoming retrospective, WHAT A RELIEF: The Art of Salley Mavor at the Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk, ME (June 4 – Sept. 11, 2022). The exhibition will feature a large selection of my artwork, spanning over 40 years, from early on to the present day. Rarely seen works on loan from private collections, as well as pieces I’ve held onto, will fill multiple galleries on the museum’s entire first floor.

See the series of Frosty Morning Posts:
Frosty Morning: Overview
Frosty Morning: Part 1 (trees)
Frosty Morning: Part 2 (branches)
Frosty Morning: Part 3 (shelters)
Frosty Morning: Part 4 (stone wall)
Frosty Morning: Part 5 (sparkles)
Frosty Morning: Part 6 (wee folk)

Heirloom Collections: In keeping with the theme of doing things for no other reason than the joy of it, I spent a good part of the winter going through my collections of spools, buttons, lace and souvenir dolls. On Valentine’s Day, I made a heart shaped assemblage with old wooden spools of thread. Gathering the spools and arranging them took an afternoon, which is a fraction of the time it takes to create a stitched piece. It seems that I either work quickly like this or laboriously over a period of months. Nothing in between. Each way feeds a different part of my creative soul. Even though it wasn’t my intention, the heart image brought out my entrepreneurial spirit and I couldn’t resist having cards and a poster made, which are available in my shop. It will also be made into a puzzle by C&T Publishing sometime in the coming year, if they can solve their supply chain issues.
Heirloom Collection: Wooden Spools of Thread
Heirloom Collection: Buttons

Bedtime Stitches touring exhibition: This past year, the Bedtime Stitches exhibition was shown in Illinois and Massachusetts.
Bedtime Stitches exhibition opens in Illinois
Bedtime Stitches on view at the New England Quilt Museum
In 2022 it will travel to Nebraska, Maine and Minnesota. See the exhibition schedule for the next 3 years here. I’m excited to learn that a fan from Winnipeg, Canada is planning to come south to see the show when it goes to Moorhead, MN in the fall! Please note that those of you from the PNW and western Canada will be able to see my work in Washington State in early 2023. Even though I’m not seeking additional locations by sending out proposals, I’m open to extending the tour beyond 2024. Inquiries from museum curators and directors are welcome.

Bedtime Stitches at the New England Quilt Museum

MY BED Scavenger Hunt: Visitors to the Bedtime Stitches exhibition, as well as those of you at home with a copy of My Bed, can hunt for details in the artwork using the downloadable sheet below. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the book and the hunt are just for kids!

During the summer, lots of folks went to see the Social Fabric Exhibition in Greenville SC. The Upcountry History Museum is turning out to be a great centrally located destination for my southern fans! I’m happy to say that they will be hosting more exhibitions in 2023 and 2024.

Bed Book Peeks: Over the past few years, I’ve published over 50 posts about making the illustrations for my picture book MY BED. This past year, the following posts were added:
Bed Book Peek: Giraffe
Bed Book Peek: Pony
Bed Book Peek: Dog
Bed book Peek: Title Page
My Bed: Night Sky – Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4
My Bed : Home – Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4 , Part 5

Wedding Banner: Katherine and Basil I really enjoyed making this wedding banner for family friends. Next year, I will be making cake toppers for a wedding in the family!

Making My Bed: Rob and I released a short documentary film about creating MY BED. Here’s Rob editing the 8 minute film, which I wrote about here. Watch the film on YouTube.

Coming in 2022! One fun project to come out of this more spontaneous year are the Stitch Minute Videos. They show a minute’s worth of me stitching, so that people can have a close up view of the process. Rob and I have produced a bunch of these little snippets, which I’ve shared on Instagram and Facebook.

Stitch Minute – Chain Stitching Leaf

We arranged a table in the basement, with lights and a camera stand with an extension arm, so everything is set up and ready to go when there’s something new to film. It’s so simple compared to stop-motion animation. And since each video is edited down to 60 seconds or less, the filming is pretty fast. The part I like best is that all I have to do is stitch, without the pressure to explain anything. During the coming year, I’ll be including Stitch Minute Videos when describing various aspects of my work.

Happy New Year and thank you for coming along on my artistic journey. I look forward to sharing more stuff I’m working on, just for the joy of it!

To keep up with new posts, subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). Your contact info will not be shared. If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

MY BED – Home: Part 5

PART 5 – Rooster, Cow, Parrot, Camel, Bunny, Crocodile, Duck, Cat, Pony and Sheep: Today’s post finishes up the “Home” series about making the illustration in My Bed, where all of the animal icons featured throughout the book come together in a child’s bedroom at the end.
Part 1 gives an overview of the page.
Part 2 focuses on the outside architectural details of the cut-away house.
Part 3 takes a peek inside at the furniture and the sleeping child.
Part 4 shows how I made the elephant lamp and goldfish lampshade.

Signed copies of My Bed are available in my shop here. Watch this 8-minute documentary about making the artwork for the book.

First, I want to remind those of you in the New England area that there’s only a short time left (through Dec. 31st, 2021) to see Bedtime Stitches at the New England Quilt Museum! The touring exhibition of original bas-relief embroidered artwork for the book will then travel to the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, NE, Jan. 25 – April 10, 2022. See the the full schedule of participating museums here.

Bedtime Stitches exhibition at the New England Quilt Museum

It was so much fun to find ways to cram all of the animals into the child’s bedroom – overhead and underfoot, hanging on the wall, resting on the windowsill and crowding the bed. I like to think of these mini versions as souvenirs from the places around the world where the book travels. As you can see, my interior design style is anything but minimalist.

Some of the animals are depicted in portrait form, such as the rooster and the cow.

The parrot took flight…

and the sheep emerged through french knots and chain stitches.

I shrunk the crocodile to about half it’s size. You’d think it would be tedious, but I relish this kind of thing. I like figuring out how to reduce the scale, while preserving what makes something or someone identifiable.

The crocodile was a last minute addition due to some editorial adjustments, but luckily there was room to fit him on the bed.

We filmed this little animation before the crocodile was added.

There were other changes, too. Both the larger and mini versions of the camel had to undergo plastic surgery, when a follower pointed out that African camels are the dromedary or one-hump type, which shows sloppy research on my part. So, I transformed this guy’s two-humps into one! Luckily this all happened while I was still making the illustrations, so it could be fixed before the artwork was photographed for the book.

The cat and bunny look like they’re dressed in Halloween costumes! I made them using a scaled down version of the wrapped wire method I teach in Felt Wee Folk.

This sweet little Mongolian pony completes the 5 part series about making the “Home” page for MY BED. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this glimpse behind the scenes at my process.
Part 1 gives an overview of the page.
Part 2 focuses on the outside architectural details of the cut-away house.
Part 3 takes a peek inside at the furniture and the sleeping child.
Part 4 shows how I made the elephant lamp and goldfish lampshade.

To keep up with new posts, please subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). Your contact info will not be sold or shared. If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram

MY BED – Home: Part 4

PART 4 – Elephant Lamp and Goldfish Lampshade: Today’s post shows how I made the elephant lamp and goldfish lampshade in the child’s bedroom scene at the end of my picture book, My Bed.
Part 1 gives an overview of the page.
Part 2 focuses on the outside architectural details of the cut-away house.
Part 3 takes a peek inside at the furniture and the sleeping child.
Part 5 is about all of the other animal icons represented in the scene.

Signed copies of My Bed are available in my shop here. Watch this 8-minute documentary about making the artwork for the book.

My original idea for this illustration was to show a universal child sleeping in bed, surrounded by stuffed toys that looked like the animal icons featured throughout the book. I soon realized that the bed and floor around it wouldn’t accommodate all of the animals, so I came up with other ways spread them around the room.

The sturdy elephant turned into a lamp base and the goldfish ended up swimming around a sea blue lampshade. The goldfish icon first appears on the text panel in the Japanese spread in the book.

To make the lampshade, I appliqued an embroidered felt goldfish head and tail onto a piece of blue felt.

I added a felt back piece and edged the front and back with wire on the top and bottom. That way, it would stick out and stay curved like a real shade.

For the lamp base, I shrunk the elephant down to about 1/2 the size of the spot illustration on the text panel on the Indian page of the book.

To make the armature, I bent a pipe cleaner and threaded one end through a wooden bead. The bead would become the head and the pipe cleaner extension would form the trunk.

Then I wrapped the pipe cleaner trunk with embroidery floss, covering the fuzzies like the dolls’ arms and legs are made in my how-to book Felt Wee Folk.

I sewed pieces of felt inside the body to fill in the void and give it bulk.

I then covered the bead head and body with pieces of felt. It’s been a few years, so I can’t remember exactly how this part was done, but I remember that it was rather fussy. I probably used 2 separate pieces for the front and back of the body and the head.

You can see the difference in scale between the 2 elephants in the photo of my work table below. They’re like the mother and baby elephant in my first children’s book, The Way Home.

Replicating the blanket at 1/2 size was also fussy, but at least it was flat!

Wouldn’t it be fun to have a full size version of this lamp, with the elephant made out of clay or wood and a painted goldfish swimming around the shade?

Stay tuned for more posts about the other animals in this scene.

To keep up with new posts, please subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). Your contact info will not be sold or shared. If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram

MY BED – Home: Part 3

PART 3 – Furniture: This series is about making the illustration at the end of my picture book, My Bed, where all of the animal icons from around the world come together in a child’s bedroom. Part 1 gives an overview of the scene and Part 2 focuses on the outside architectural details of the cut-away house. Today’s post will take a peek inside, at the furniture and the sleeping child. Coming up next in Part 4, I’ll show how I made the elephant lamp and fish lampshade.

Signed copies of My Bed can be ordered in my shop here. Watch this 8-minute documentary about making the artwork for the book.

The giraffe on the text panel found its way here after it was bumped from the Ghanaian page. To read about the giraffe gaffe which caused the switchover, go to this previous post.

For this scene, I rendered the giraffe in a different form, as a chain stitched image “painted” on the side of a chest of drawers.

To make the chest look like a wood paneled piece of furniture, I created layers of felt, including a cut out frame and a backing piece of a slightly lighter shade of green. Then, I outlined the frame with blanket stitching and basted the 2 pieces on top of one another.

I chain stitched a simple outline of a giraffe and filled it in with more chain stitches and satin stitched spots. For eyes, I combed through my glass bead supply until I found 2 of the tiniest black ones

After adding a branch and leaves, I sewed wire around the outside edge to give the panel more structure. And for extra emphasis, I went over every edge and corner with a darker shade of green embroidery floss.

To help visually anchor the corners, I sewed on jump rings, covering the metal with embroidery floss. I added a felt top, bead drawer pulls and bead legs.

Creating a side view of the bed frame came next. It’s made with carved bone beads from Africa that I found at a bead show years ago.

Because I wanted every child looking at the page to feel a connection to the character in the illustration, I intentionally made them non-specific by gender or race. I also wanted the house and bedroom to convey a warm and playful sense of “home” that could be imagined anywhere.

Since the child was going to be tucked under the covers, I only had to make the top half of their body. The figure is based on the dolls in my in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk.

While picking out colors and patterns for the child’s clothes and bed spread, I was keenly aware of how easy it is to fall for pink = girl and blue = boy stereotypes. After much consideration, I chose striped orange pajamas and a starry purplish night sky bed covering.

I embroidered the stars with gold metallic thread, which for me is a material of last resort. Even though synthetic thread is icky to work with, it provided the shine I wanted.

Once the child was safely tucked into bed, I started making the different renditions of the animal icons featured throughout the book. Coming up next in Part 4, I’ll show how I made the elephant lamp and fish lampshade. After that, I’ll write about the other animals in the room.

Bedtime Stitches, the touring exhibition of original 3-dimensional artwork for the book is at the  New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA through Dec. 31, 2021 and will be at the International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, NE Jan. 25 – April 10, 2022. See the the full schedule here.

Bedtime Stitches at the New England Quilt Museum

To keep up with new posts, please subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). Your contact info will not be sold or shared. If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram

MY BED – Home: Part 2

PART 2 – Architecture: This series is about making the illustration at the end of my new picture book, My Bed. It’s a cut-away view of a sleeping child, surrounded by souvenir animals from the places around the world that the book travels through. Looking at it now, the child’s one room house filled with animals reminds me of a favorite children’s book character, Pippi Longstocking, who lived an exciting self-sustaining life with a monkey and a horse. Of course, My Bed is a completely different kind of story, but those kind of connections make perfect sense to me.

Signed copies of My Bed can be ordered in my shop here. Watch this 8-minute documentary about the book.

Today, the focus will be on how I put together the outside architectural elements of the house, including the doorway and the roof. Everything was made with wool felt, with wire reinforcements.

As always, I blanket stitched around the outside edge of each felt piece. My motto could be, “When in doubt, blanket stitch.” The little dashes all lined up make the different parts stand out, like crosshatching with a pen. I added a layer of wire around the outside, giving the felt some stability, so it wouldn’t be too floppy. You can’t see the wire because it’s covered with brown whip stitches. Then, I decorated the felt “board” with a chain stitched curvy line.

This is the roof section, which I built up to about 1/2″ with layers of felt. I wanted to create a 3-dimensional structure that clearly separated the outside from the inside space.

To make roof tiles, I sewed together a line of rough cut shell beads.

Then, I sewed the string of beads along the rooftop and crowned the top with a clay bead.

The door is made with 2 layers of felt, all blanket stitched. My goal was to soften the hard edges and make the building parts look sturdy and wobbly all at the same time.

The door knocker is a hook and a bead and the door knob is button and a bead.

I made the light out of a hook, a bead and some kind of bobble I’ve had for ages.

Now that we’ve looked at the outside, let’s take a peek inside next time, shall we?

To keep up with new posts, please subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). Your contact info will not be sold or shared. If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram

MY BED – Home: Part 1

PART 1 – Overview: For the past few years, I’ve shared the process of making the 3-dimensional embroidered illustrations for my newest picture book, MY BED. The book has been out for a year and the Bedtime Stitches touring exhibition of the original artwork is well underway. So, I’d like to pick up where I left off last year and continue to show what goes into doing this kind of work. Posts I’ve written in the Bed Book Peek series so far are listed here.

The Bedtime Stitches touring exhibition is at the  New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA through Dec. 31, 2021 and will be at the International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, NE Jan. 25 – April 10, 2022. See the the full schedule here. Visitors often ask, “How did she make all of this in one year?”. It’s confusing because all of the pieces are consistently embroidered with the date 2020 on the border. Even though I worked on it over a 3 year period, the project was completed when it was published as a book in 2020.

Signed copies of My Bed can be ordered in my shop here. Watch this 8 minute documentary about how I created the illustrations for the book.

HOME – Near the end of the story, the illustration shows a child in bed, when it’s almost time to go to sleep. All of the animal icons from the different places featured throughout the book are gathered together in a snug little bedroom. I felt it was important to depict a universal child, who wasn’t clearly identifiable by gender or race, whom any child being read to could identify with. I also wanted the house to convey a warm and playful sense of “home” that could be imagined anywhere.

You can find out more about the Animal Icon spot illustrations in these previous posts – Rooster, Camel, Parrot, Elephant, Goldfish, Cat, Duck, Sheep, Rabbit, Cow, Crocodile, Giraffe, Dog, Pony.

To begin, I enlarged the thumb nail sketch to full scale and used it as a template. The drawing provided a general layout of the house and tree, but once I started making the animals, they took over and pretty much determined what the interior arrangement would be.

I worked on one double-page spread at a time. The background and parts accumulated on an old ironing board that served as an extra working surface. When I needed to press a piece of felt, the iron was right there.

Rob set up a camera and lights on top of the table, so we could make a little animated film before I sewed all of the parts together.

This is what it looks like when you compress 6 weeks into 9 seconds.

There’s is so much to show about making this scene that I’m going to write several posts focusing on different parts, including the animals, the child and architectural details. Stay tuned for more!

To keep up with new posts, please subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). Your contact info will not be sold or shared. If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram

Heirloom Collection – Buttons

Heirloom Collection – Buttons note card

Earlier this year, I took a break from stitching, focusing instead on making assemblages with some of the sewing related objects I’ve collected throughout my life. As I rummaged through old boxes, grouping like things together, I realized that the quantities of spools, buttons and other vintage items I’d accumulated had reached a critical mass, where the whole was more interesting than the sum of its parts. My mind exploded with ideas for how to turn these collections into art that’s as ephemeral as sand painting.

18″ x 24″ Poster

THREAD SPOOLS

It started on Valentine’s day, when I felt inspired to gather all of the old wooden spools of thread that I’d accumulated and arrange them in a heart shape, which I wrote about here. Since then, the thread heart image has been made into a note card and a poster, which are available in my Etsy shop. And I’m especially excited that it’s being made into a puzzle by C&T Publishing sometime next year!

BUTTONS

After Rob took a photo of the thread heart, I cleared the table and put the spools back in boxes. Then, I separated by color the hundreds of buttons I’ve saved for no particular purpose. There were a lot of old white pearl buttons as well as quite a few blue and red ones. It was a mixture of old and new, from shell to plastic.

I wanted to make a simple homey scene, like a child’s drawing, so I formed the house first and built the design around it.

The button landscape took a few days to complete, which is nothing compared to the months I usually spend stitching just one piece. I put down wooden boards to provide a framework to work inside. My supply of blue buttons was limited, so I filled in large areas of the sky with white pearl “clouds”. It felt kind of like making a mosaic, without having to worry about gluing the buttons down.

Once the house, sky and sun were formed, I improvised in the area around the house, using browns and greens for the ground and other colors for flowers.

When the scene was almost finished, I removed the frame so it wouldn’t cast a shadow when the photo was taken. The Buttons image is printed on a note card, which is available in packs of 4 or in mixed sets with the thread spool heart in my Etsy shop

4 Card set of Thread and Button assemblages

The Thread Spools Poster is perfect for a sewing/craft room. It fits easily into a standard 18″ x 24″ frame, which you can see hung in my studio. The poster and cards are available in my Etsy shop.

18″ x 24″ Poster – Heirloom Collection: Thread Spools

After the thread spools and buttons, I made assemblages with other vintage items, including lace and souvenir dolls, which I’ll share more about in future posts.

To keep up with new posts, subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). Your contact info will not be shared. If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

Bedtime Stitches on view at the New England Quilt Museum

I’m happy to announce that the touring exhibition, BEDTIME STITCHES, is on view through Dec. 31, 2021 at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA. This is an opportunity for people in southern New England to experience the detail and 3-dimensional quality of the original artwork for my book, My Bed: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep around the World .

Rob and I recently drove up to Lowell to take photos and videos of the show to share with you. In addition to snapping still photos, Rob filmed some impromptu conversations in the gallery, which are included later in this post.

My bas-relief embroidered book illustrations have 2 lives. The easiest and most accessible way to enjoy them is by looking at the reproductions on the printed pages of the book, My Bed. Another way to experience the artwork is to go to an exhibition of the originals, where the scenes are presented behind glass in shadow-box frames hung on the wall. Either way, you can get lost in the stitched miniature worlds full of characters, props and scenery.

Personally signed copies of My Bed are available in my shop here. Watch this 8 minute documentary about how I created the illustrations for the book.

The BEDTIME STITCHES exhibition has been traveling for the past year and is booked at museums around the country through 2024 (see schedule below). I’m open to extending the tour, so if you’d like to see the exhibition come closer to where you live, please reach out to museums in your area and tell them about the opportunity to show my artwork. Interested museums are welcome to contact me for information about hosting the exhibition.

BEDTIME STITCHES Tour Schedule

Sept. 14 – Dec. 31, 2021New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, MA
Jan 25 – April 10, 2022International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, NE
June 3 – Sept. 11, 2022,  Brick Store Museum, Kennebunk, ME, (Bedtime Stitches will be included in the retrospective exhibition, What a Relief: The Art of Salley Mavor)
Oct. 15 – Dec. 31, 2022Historical and Cultural Center of Clay County, Moorhead, MN
Feb. 1 – Apr. 30, 2023Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, La Conner, WA
Fall 2023Southern Vermont Arts Center, Manchester, VT. (Bedtime Stitches and Social Fabric will be displayed together)
Feb. – May 2024Upcountry History Museum, Greenville, SC
July — Dec. 2024Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, NY. (Bedtime Stitches and Social Fabric will be displayed together)

Pam Weeks – New England Quilt Museum’s curator

Pam Weeks, the museum’s curator greeted us when we got there. She did a beautiful job hanging my artwork in a cozy corner gallery, where visitors can spend time viewing the pieces up close.

A series of information panels describe different aspects of my working process, including making sketches, stitching and using wire and found objects.

While we were there, we had the good fortune to meet 2 very interesting women – artist Laura Petrovich-Cheney, who’s remarkable Wood Quilts are also on display and Janet Elwin, who helped found the New England Quilt Museum in 1987. Here we are conversing at the museum.

Here I am signing a copy of My Bed for Laura Petrovich-Cheney.

BEDTIME STITCHES will be on view at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA through Dec. 31, 2021. The next stop on the tour is the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska (Jan 25 – April 10, 2022).

To keep up with new posts, subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). Your contact info will not be shared. If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

Wedding Banner: Katherine & Basil

We had the pleasure of attending the wedding of a family friend earlier this month in Boston. As with many couples during these Covid times, Basil and Katherine had to postpone their wedding by a year. It was a lovely event and we felt happy to be a part of their special day and to see old friends. For the past decade or so, I’ve been making personalized wedding banners as gifts. They combine two of my favorite things, hand embroidery and handwriting. You can see this and other banners by scrolling through the archives here.

This post includes three Stitch Minute videos, which give closeup views of my process in action. The idea of making a series of short snippets of different aspects of my working methods came about when I saw the overwhelming response to a simple cell phone video of me stitching French knots that I posted on Facebook and Instagram. Since then, Rob and I have set up a filming studio in the basement, where we can control the lighting and camera positioning. Everything is ready to go, so it’s easy to bring whatever I’m working on in my studio into the basement and film a little bit. Of course, Rob has to be available, so I work around his schedule. In sharing these videos, my aim isn’t to instruct, but to inspire, by offering a glimpse over my shoulder. 

Whenever I begin a project like this, I choose a color scheme and pick out materials that I might use.

I wrote Katherine and Basil’s names in cursive handwriting on paper and using that as a template, I made a 3-dimensional copy with memory thread.

In this video, you can see how I wrapped embroidery floss around memory thread and formed cursive letters..

Then I cut out a felt background with my customary wavy edge; I tend to resist straight sides and sharp angles.

After choosing 2 shades of green embroidery floss to contrast with the red letters and lavender felt background, I blanket stitched around the outside edge and slits.

You can watch a minute’s worth of blanket stitching in this video.

Then I pinned and sewed the letters to the felt background.

Throughout the process, I brought out various threads, beads and doodads, to see what to include in the design. Not everything ended up in the finished piece and through a process of elimination, many potentially interesting items were put aside.

For this banner, I settled on a heart shaped vine for the featured decoration, which incorporated glass leaf beads and tiny seed beads.

Watch this video to get a close up view of making the wire vine.

Next, I wrote out their wedding date in blue letters and numbers and made a separate contrasting background.

I blanket stitched all around the outside edge of the blue banner with variegated pima cotton (Watercolours by Caron). Then I sewed the different pieces onto the banner and added dangling shells to the 3 bottom flaps.

I looked through my driftwood collection and found the right sized stick that would work as a hanging bar.

I drilled holes to thread beads through.

Then I attached a leather strap to hang the banner from.

Congratulations on your wedding Katherine and Basil. We are so happy for you!

To keep up with new posts, subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). Your contact info will not be shared. If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram.