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 a beloved forest in my home town of Falmouth, Massachusetts in 2012. The finished dimensions are 30″ h x 24″ w x 1.5″ d.  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.

Update:The original Birds of Beebe Woods will be heading south this spring, to the Upcountry History Museum in Greenville SC, where it will be included in my exhibition, Salley Mavor: Social Fabric. On display will be a variety of pieces I’ve made over the past 20 years that interpret the theme of social connectivity. The works explore cultural diversity, migration, fashion, the natural world, and a range of social narratives, from the everyday to topical subjects. The work will be at the museum for a nice long stretch, from April 3 – Sept. 12, 2021.

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.

Detail images from Birds of Beebe Woods are printed as note cards, too. They’re also 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.

8 card set of Birds of Beebe Woods

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

Bed book peek: Pony

Today, I’m happy to give a behind the scenes peek at how I made this pony, which is used as a spot illustration on the Mongolian spread in my new picture book, MY BED. The story about children’s sleeping places in different cultures around the world was published in Sept. 2020.

The pony is also pictured with all of the other animal icons on the book’s end-papers. If you’d like to see posts about making the other animals, please follow the links below: RoosterCamelParrotElephantGoldfishCatDuckSheepRabbitCow,
 Crocodile, Giraffe, Dog.

A touring exhibition of my original embroidered artwork for the book is traveling around the United States. Salley Mavor: Bedtime Stitches will next be shown at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA, Sept. 15 – Dec. 31, 2021. Then, the the exhibition will head to the Midwest, to the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, NE, Jan 25 – April 10, 2022 . The five year tour schedule is listed here.

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.

Making MY BED

I’ll start off by showing this video, which brings you through the different steps of the pony making process, complete with Mongolian zither music in the background.

Making the Mongolian pony for the book, MY BED

in this series of still photographs, I’ll try to explain what I’m doing. As I’ve said before, I work intuitively, so it can be a challenge to describe the process in exact terms. For most of the animals in the book, I bent a pipe cleaner to form an outline shape. Then, I wrapped the legs, using the same technique that’s taught in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk,

This part is all about building up the body with layers of felt. First, I sewed on a back piece and used scraps of felt to fill the cavity until it was a good thickness.

This is the point where I “upholster” the front of the animal with a piece of felt. There isn’t a supporting photograph because I consistently forget to take a picture of this part. It must be because I’m always consumed in the heat of battle. Just imagine the back as a maze of crisscrossing threads, all working to get rid of any bumps or folds.

Well, after the animal shape looked the way I wanted it to, I sewed on a seed bead eye and embroidered a mane.

I can’t remember how I made the top of the mane where it sticks up, but it could have been several rows of blanket stitching.

To make the tail, I covered the pipe cleaner with embroidery floss.

Research was an important and fun part of illustrating this book. To make an accurate representation, I looked at photographs of real Mongolian ponies, with their colorful, decorative saddles.

It took a while to make the right placement of the ear.

With its bridle in place, the pony was almost ready to go.

All it needed was a brass bead stirrup, which you can see in the last photo.

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.

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