This is the third and final post about making a book illustration with a houseboat on a canal in Holland. To see other posts about this scene, go to Part 1 and Part 2.
Eventually, all of the sewn originals will be photographed and printed in My Bed, a book about where children sleep around the world. Each spread will depict a child in a different culture and living environment. The story is written by Rebecca Bond and will be published by Houghton Mifflin in 2020. Here are links to posts showing other finished illustrations for the book:
Afghanistan, Russia, North Africa, South America, India,
Japan and Iran. To see a list of all my books, click here.
For the stone dock, I sewed felt rectangles in place with blanket stitch, interspersed with flat polished stone beads. There needed to be something to tie the boat line to, so I looked through my collection of miscellaneous old metal objects and picked an appropriately weathered looking one with a hole. How was that attached, you may wonder? I glued a piece of felt on the back of the metal piece and then sewed it to the dock.
Since glue is permanent and I like flexibility, I glue felt to the back of the object, instead of directly to the background. That way, you can play around and adjust things until the last minute. The glued on felt provides something to catch the thread when you do sew it in place. And it’s always possible to rip it out and try a new position.
The architecture in Amsterdam is a colorful array of tall narrow buildings with interesting roof treatments.
I embroidered blanket stitch with flower thread around the outside of the felt windows and a door. DMC flower thread is no longer available, but Dutch Treat Designs has some of the discontinued thread in stock.
From the images I found, the stepped roof style looked the most distinctively Dutch. I like the way its zigzagged shape stands out against the blue sky. The research photos made me want to visit Amsterdam!
For door hardware, I sifted through old hooks and eyes, until I found a matching pair of the tiniest eyes. A generous admirer recently gave me a box full of them – what a treasure!
Tube beads worked as architectural details above the windows.
And how can you make a scene set in Holland without a bicycle?
The bicycle frame is wire, the wheels are betel nut beads, the handlebars are an eye (from hook and eye) and the seat and gears are metal snap parts. In the photo below, you can see what it looks like in the back, with wire and thread holding everything in place.
I found a cord that looked like a well used dock line and fed it through the hole in the metal part on the canal wall. Then the houseboat could be tied up safely.
I am happy to announce that the Cahoon Museum will be hosting the premiere exhibit of original illustrations for MY BED: Where Children Sleep Around the World. The exhibit will be coordinated with the book’s publication by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the fall of 2020. Like the traveling show for Pocketful of Posies, I hope to schedule other exhibits, so that more people can see the “real thing”. Interested museums and art centers are welcome to contact me for information about hosting an exhibit. It would be wonderful to have the illustrations make their way across the whole country!
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