Birds of Beebe Woods

Printed reproductions are available as 18″ x 24″ posters or note cards in my Etsy shop

About the artwork: Birds of Beebe Woods was made for a fiber art exhibit celebrating the town forest in my home town of Falmouth, Massachusetts in 2012. In my piece, I wanted to feature wildlife as well as convey the natural environment of the woods. I chose to portray birds, making them realistic enough to be recognized, but patterned and abstracted in a way that made them fun to stitch. When planning the birds piece, I started with a simple sketch  and then got to work on the woodsy border, with its felt-covered wire filigree stage curtains. The crow came next and then the other birds common to our area of New England, making a dozen total. Listed clock-wise, they are female cardinal, nuthatch, black-throated green warbler, male cardinal, wren, downy woodpecker, blue-jay, robin, goldfinch, cedar waxwing, American crow and chickadee.

Many people have asked if the original is for sale. No, it isn’t, as I will be holding onto it, so that it can be displayed in public exhibitions. The next best thing (and affordable, too) is to get the poster in my Etsy shop.

The piece is currently showing at the Falmouth Art Center in Falmouth, MA.
Members Blue Ribbon Exhibition, Aug. 2 – 26, 2019.

Detail images from Birds of Beebe Woods are printed as note cards, too. They’re available in my Etsy shop.

Before I sewed everything onto the background, my husband, Rob took a photo of the felt covered wire border suspended in front of the woods around our house. Then my sister, Anne used her graphic design skills to disappear the fishing line and make an announcement for the 2012 Intimate Woods exhibit at Highfield Hall in Falmouth.

Archives: To see posts about the making of the birds in the piece, go to these links: crow here, goldfinch, nuthatch and chickadee here, blue jay here, cedar waxwing here, cardinals here, robin here, wren here.

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

Recent Posts

Horn Book Cover

This is an edited and republished version of a post that was first written in 2012.

The Jan/Feb 2012 issue of The Horn Book Magazine is out, with my illustration on the cover. This issue has many wonderful articles and book reviews, including the 2011 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award speeches, which were delivered at the colloquium on Sept. 30th, 2011. As an award recipient for Pocketful of Posies, I had the honor of illustrating a cover for the magazine. You can find out more about my award here.

Read on to see the process of making the cover illustration, which I worked on for about 6 weeks this past summer. The original size of the scene is about 12″ wide and 18″ high. I first found a twisted vine to use as the central tree and made a sketch with the Horn Book logo and child characters. I then drilled holes on the vine where wire branches would go.  

To form the branches, I covered wire with felt and embroidered them to match the real vine/tree trunk. This coiled branch has thread-wrapped wire thorns attached.

The Horn Book logo was rendered in wire branches and found objects. For one of the O’s, I sawed the back of a walnut-shell, so that it would lay flat and not stick out too much.  The O in the word Horn is a nest-like acorn cap from an oak tree in Iowa and the B’s spiky acorn caps are from northern California.

For the background, a solid color looked too plain, so I stitched together scraps of naturally dyed wool felt to make a more interesting field for the action.

I made a little fairy to fit in the walnut-shell.

I didn’t want the characters to be animals, but children dressed in animal costumes. So, I made every effort to make them look like children by giving them bangs, ponytails, hands and shoes. These figures are made with similar techniques found in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk.

During the process, I changed some of the characters in the original sketch and substituted a boy in a dinosaur costume pulling an acorn cap wheeled wagon full of books.

I printed out the words on acetate, so that I’d be sure to leave enough room at the bottom edge. I then embroidered plants and leaves to the felt background.

This little child/mouse is getting red shoes.

The Horn Book staff suggested I include a reading child, so I made a felt book for the face-painted mouse.

All of the parts piled up as I worked. It’s a miracle nothing got lost!

It was really fun thinking up costumes to make for these kids. I wanted to create a scene of children immersed in imaginary play and story.

I added a sun to the upper left corner and embroidered a wavy chain-stitched border. Then, I sewed the felt background to a sheet of foam core board, pulling it flat and straight.

Then, I stitched the tree, characters and other props in place, right through the foam core board. After everything was in place, I took it to the photographer, so he could take its picture. After that, I removed it from the foam core board and remounted the felt background and all of the parts on a cloth-covered stretcher. It is now framed behind glass and was recently bought by a collector. It was a joy to work on this project with Lolly Robinson at the Horn Book Magazine! Having my illustration on the cover will be a great opportunity for many people to discover my work for the first time.

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

Here I am with Roger Sutton, editor in chief of The Horn Book.
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