Rabbitat – part 2 (topiary)

Continued from Rabbitat – Part 1 (driftwood house)

Back in December, when I started making this new piece, I had no definite plan, but knew that the scene would include topiary of some kind.  I had so much fun using animal shaped topiary in the Molly my sister and I rhyme illustration in Pocketful of Posies that I wanted to make more.

Molly My Sister and I, from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

I thought about animals with distinctive forms that could be identified easily and envisioned a rounded, contained rabbit with ears poking upward. I cut separate parts out of dark green felt and started embroidering branches and leaves. The eyes, nose, mouth and whiskers are wire wrapped with embroidery floss. I also sewed wire along the scalloped outside edge, so that the pieces could be bent and shaped. Two glass leaf beads make the eyes.

The body, head and limbs are all constructed separately and stuffed on the back to raise them up.

While I was working on the  topiary, I decided  that rabbits rather than people would live in the driftwood house and started constructing a rabbit family.

I also decided to turn the scene into a vertical picture and enlarged the dimensions enough to create a yard in front. Since this is not an illustration with size and type placement specifications, I was free to change things around as I went along.

This is how the rabbit topiary looks in the finished piece.

To be continued.

Here are some opportunities to see the original picture:

Rabbitat will be hung in my show at the  Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, Brattleboro, Vermont from July 15, 2011 to March, 2012.

Rabbitat will also appear at this reception before traveling to Vermont:

Woods Hole Public Library, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, Sunday, July 10th 5:00 – 7:00 pm. Reception to celebrate the Golden Kite Award for Pocketful of Posies. Original illustrations from the book will be displayed and Salley will give a brief talk. A short film about the making of her newest piece, Rabbitat, will be shown. See the film here.

24 thoughts on “Rabbitat – part 2 (topiary)

  1. Your rabbit is exquisite…………your work gets more intricate and exquisite as time goes on……….Love love love it.

  2. Your beautiful work is one of the few inspirations these days.

    You have remained true to yourself. I’ve veered off the path
    (to earn a living only) and am suffering the consequences.

    Thanks for your exquisite art and helping me in so many ways.

  3. It may just work out, that I WILL get to Brattleboro by March of 2012…thanks for posting this update regarding your amazing new work. I love the title and the effects that you have attained with your intricate stitchery on the topiary. Bunnies are some of my favorite critters too! I hope to see the finished work when I travel to Vermont to take in all of the texture, color, whimsy, and love that you are creating, stitch by stitch. Bless you and thank you!

  4. The leaf beads for eyes on the topiary are just perfect and meld beautifully with the stitching! I really love the rabbit topiary – can’t wait to see the film of the making of this piece and see the whole piece!

  5. As always, your work is exquisite…but my jaw has dropped at the choice of colors. All I can say is WOW! Do you hand dye your felt? The color combination of wool and floss is just PERFECT!

    • Welcome to my blog, Jackie. The Rabbitat film will have its premier at the Woods Hole Library on July 10th. After that I’ll put it on the blog or have a link to it.

  6. I absolutely agree with all the other posts, your work is mesmerizing I could look at it for hours trying to figure out how you do it all and you are gracious enough to share! I could not get some of your books so I got board books! Not quite the same, but I love the pictures. Keep on doing the beautiful books and art work you deserve high praise indeed. Lynne Iberg

  7. Hello! Your work is amazing!! I found your “Felt Wee Folk” book last month at a Michael’s in Pennsylvania completely by mistake and HAD to buy it. I’ve never seen your art before, but it instantly captured my heart and my imagination. Absolutely beautiful and captivating!
    Since this is all new to me, can I ask: Do you have a link anywhere where you show in detail how to wrap wire, and how you attach it? (especially to the edges of the fabric) I don’t think I see it covered in as much detail in the book I got, and that seems hard for me to understand right now. If you can direct me to a link or online instructions, I’d appreciate it.
    Your art is gorgeous!! Thank you for sharing it!

  8. Oooh I just thought of another question!
    Is it ok to use craft felt instead of wool felt? If not, why?
    (I tried finding wool felt last year when I was working on some felt projects of my own and the nearby fabric stores didn’t carry it. I live outside of Phila PA so I know if I travel in to the city I’d probably find some there.)
    Thank you again! &:o)

    • I’m so glad that you have discovered “Felt Wee Folk” and are immersed in the wee world. The best reason for working with wool felt as opposed to craft felt is that wool looks and behaves better and is much more satisfying to work with. After using wool felt, you can never go back.

      • Thanks for getting back to me Salley!
        I just have to let you know, I took Felt Wee Folk with me to my adult daughter’s house today, to show it to her. She and her 14 yr old daughter loved looking through the book BUT my 7 yr old granddaughter was mesmerized by it!! Every single page, she excitedly said “Oh I want THIS one!” time and time again. . .
        So guess what I’ll be making her for Christmas this year. . . some of your beautiful little dollies to love. &:o)

  9. Salley, I have just discovered your web-site and have been awe-struck by the beauty and intricacy of your amazing work! I have been making and selling fabric pictures over the past couple of years and have always considered them time consuming but will think again after seeing your gorgeous works of art. Hope I can learn something from you. xx

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