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 in 2012 for a fiber art exhibit celebrating the beloved forest in my home town of Falmouth, Massachusetts. 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 wooded environment. 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. 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. I hand stitched the entire piece, using my unique blend of techniques and working methods. 

i’m often 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.

Update: The next public display of the original Birds of Beebe Woods will be in the summer of 2022, when it will be included in my retrospective exhibition, What a Relief: The Art of Salley Mavor at the Brick Store Museum, Kennebunk, ME, June 3 – Sept. 11, 2022.

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
Birds of Beebe Woods 18″ x 24″ poster

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

Sam and Louisa’s wedding dolls

This summer, both my son Ian and Sam, his best friend from childhood, got married. Here they are at age 3 and at Sam’s wedding last weekend. So, I had the pleasure of making personalized cake toppers for 2 wedding couples! You can see the post I wrote about Ian and Liz’s dolls here.

Sam and Louisa hosted a heart-felt and whimsical ceremony and reception, full of do-it-yourself touches, at their home in Falmouth, MA. Sam is a radio announcer and reporter for WCAI, our local NPR station and Louisa teaches ballet and is also the handwork teacher at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod.

A few weeks before the wedding, Sam and Louisa sent photos of their wedding attire and accessories, including their shoes. As I teach in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk, the figures are constructed from the feet upward.

I also asked them to send head shots, specifically with closed mouths – no toothy grins, which are difficult to paint. When depicting real people, I like to paint their likenesses way in the beginning of the process. That way, I feel attached to them. They aren’t just dolls, but individuals with unique characteristics who are dressing up for a special occasion.

After forming the bride’s limbs with pipe cleaners and wrapping the arms and legs with embroidery floss, I sewed felt around the torso and stitched on boob beads.

Then, I covered the torso and boob beads with a layer of cotton batting and stitched more embroidery floss onto the upper chest area. Dressing bride dolls is a challenge because so often they wear skimpy gowns that show a lot of exposed skin. It’s so much easier to make the groom’s suit out of wool felt!

To make Louisa’s hair, I stitched embroidery floss onto the felt “wig”, which I’d previously glued onto her wooden bead head (see photo above). I should mention that at this point, her head is not yet glued onto the neck. That came at the end, after her clothing was finished. I popped her head on and off throughout the process to check how it looked.

I found some white silk (or silk-like) fabric in my stash to make Louisa’s gown.

I formed Sam’s pipe cleaner body and he lay on my work table in his underwear, while I waited for photos of his suit.

Using photos of Louisa’s family heirlooms, I fashioned her veil and pearl necklace.

With Sam still in his underwear, I pressed forward and made the platform that they would stand on, which is basically a piece of wood covered with felt. I chain stitched their wedding date in orange and outlined the numbers in purple to make them more prominent.

I used a spider web technique to embroider ribbon roses, which I learned on YouTube.

I added more ribbon embroidery and bead embellishments.

I glued a piece of felt to the bottom of the wooden platform and stitched the embellished felt top piece to it around the outside edge. Then I edged the base with twisted memory wire and braid.

As soon as the photo of Sam in his black velvet jacket appeared on my phone, I got to work creating its wee version.

To make Sam’s floral bow-tie, I decorated silk ribbon with markers and stitched it to his shirt.

It didn’t take long to sew his jacket onto the pipe cleaner body, and glue his head on top. Now, he was all ready to get married!

For her bouquet, i weeded through my collection of miniature flowers, guessing what it might look like. In reality, it turned out that she held a bouquet of dahlias in a very similar color scheme.

Before covering the wooden base with felt, I had drilled holes for sewing their feet in place. I had marked the location of the drill holes on the felt, so it was easy to anchor their feet with a few stitches using a long sewing needle.

Here they are, atop their lemon poppy seed wedding cake, which was homemade by the bride’s sister. Congratulations and best wishes to Sam and Louisa!

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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