Prudence Is. school visits my studio

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Last week, students from the Prudence Island School came to visit. The school’s teacher, Eliza grew up in Woods Hole and we’ve known each other since childhood. She asked if she could bring the children over to my studio as part of their day-long field trip to Woods Hole.

250px-Prudence-island-schoolhouse-in-2007The island school currently has a total of 8 students from the early grades to teenagers. I was struck by how well the 6 girls and 2 boys of such varying ages interacted. They were inquisitive and appreciative as they looked around my studio and they easily identified all of the birds in my Birds of Beebe Woods piece.

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The students are even learning to embroider! Thank you for a delightful visit!

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Birds poster giveaway winners

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This was the most fun giveaway! Thank you to all of the participants– I loved reading your comments, with such entertaining stories and apt descriptions of your favorite birds. Tallying the count, every bird was acknowledged, but the flashy blue jay won the popularity contest. The crow, female cardinal and male cardinal (their pictures are below) also garnered quite a few votes of approval, too.

Soooo….the winners of the giveaway are Cindy and Jan Johnson. I will alert them by e-mail and send them each a Birds of Beebe Woods poster. If you are one of the 100 whose name wasn’t picked and you still want a poster (or note cards), they are available in my Etsy Shop. 

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Poster Giveaway!

Poster - Birds of Beebe Woods

Poster – Birds of Beebe Woods

To mark the one year anniversary of my Etsy Shop, I will be giving away 2  Birds of Beebe Woods posters. Because of the cost of postage, the contest is just open to US and Canadian residents. To enter, please leave a comment saying something about your favorite bird from the piece by April 21st, 2013. Two winners will be picked at random on April 22nd.

I love all of your stories about why you’ve chosen a particular bird. Keep ’em coming!

The original Birds of Beebe Woods is currently in the Fantastic Fibers show at the Yeiser Art Center in Paducah, KY.

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Birds flying to Paducah!

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Great News! I just found out that Birds of Beebe Woods will be part of the international exhibit, Fantastic Fibers 2013 at the Yeiser Art Center in Paducah, Kentucky this spring. The exhibit will be April 6 – May 4, 2013. I’m pleased that my fabric relief piece will be shown along with other contemporary and innovative works created with fiber as the primary medium.

The American Quilter’s Society Annual Show and Contest will be held in Paducah from April 24th-27th, 2013, so I’m hoping that many of the quilters in town will go to the Yeiser Art Center and see the Fantastic Fibers show as well.

Birds will have to be sent down to Kentucky soon, so Rob is going to whip up a shipping crate right away! Won’t be in Paducah to see the real piece this spring? Here’s the next best thing — I have 2 different note cards and a poster of Birds of Beebe Woods for sale in my Etsy Shop.

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Fairy Christmas in Plymouth

from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

Yesterday, I dropped off artwork at the Hedge House Museum in Plymouth, MA, for their Fairy Christmas celebration. Two originals from Pocketful of Posies and Birds of Beebe Woods will be on display during the 2 weekend event (Dec. 1,2,7,8,9, noon to 7pm). I kicked myself because I forgot my camera! First of all, the museum has a spectacular location, with a view of Plymouth Harbor and the 1809 house is full of antique charm. Plymouth Antiquarian Society Director Donna Curtin has gone all out for this affair, with  fairy houses, precious woodland scenes and fairy decorations all over the historic mansion. There’s even a special Crystal Throne Room set up for the Fairy Queen to receive visitors. I heartily recommend this event to anyone who is open to enchantment, young or old. It’s all done in a genuine, beautiful way, so leave plenty of time to take in all of the detail.

detail from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

Birds of Beebe Woods, fabric relief, 2012

Open Studio Nov. 18th

Everyone is invited to come to my studio in Falmouth, MA (Cape Cod) on Sunday,  November 18th, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Every few years, I like to open my studio to the public when there’s something special to show, usually when a big project is complete. That way people in my area can get a preview before my work is delivered elsewhere. I’m almost finished making decorations for a tree based on my book Pocketful of Posies, which will be included in Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature at the Concord Museum, Concord, MA. Several friends have asked if they can see the tree before I bring it to Concord, so I spontaneously decided to invite the world over, too. The picture above was taken a week ago and I’ve made more decorations since then, so by the 18th, the tree will be full of dolls and strung with garlands made of thread spools!

Oh, my, what have I done? This means I have a week to finish the tree and clean up the studio! Not too much fixing up, though–it will still look like a busy work place. Birds of Beebe Woods will be in the studio, too, before it is delivered to the Plymouth Antiquarian Society’s Hedge House Museum for their Fairy Christmas celebration. By the way, the Pocketful of Posies traveling exhibit will be there next summer.

new “Birds of Beebe Woods” cards

New Birds of Beebe Woods note cards just arrived from the printer and I’ve added them to the other cards, posters and books in my Etsy Shop. I picked two detailed images from the larger piece, one of the crow, surrounded by smaller birds and the other features the blue jay and gold finch. I’m pleased with how the cards came out and think they show the embroidered patterns and textures of the birds quite well.

Archives: To see all of the posts about the making of Birds of Beebe Woods, go to the archives here.

Birds of Beebe Woods: robin

Back in the spring, when I started working on Birds of Beebe Woods, robins were in abundance,  hopping around the yard. After making the larger, dominant crow, I added a robin to the piece, placing it in the center, down on the ground. Compared to the smaller, realistic looking birds that were made later, the crow and robin’s bodies are more abstract, with stylized patterns on their wings and breast. My approach to rendering the birds seems to have changed during the 4 months that I worked on the piece. Toward the end, when I sewed the nuthatch, chickadee and warbler, I referred to photographs more closely and was caught up in making them identifiable and naturalistic. I like to combine realism and abstraction.

In keeping with the robin’s perky nature, I curved the bird like a sideways apostrophe, with its tail flaring upwards.  The red breast presented a opportunity to play around with warm tones and metallic thread.

To see more posts about the making of Birds of Beebe Woods, see the archives here. A 18″ x 24″ poster (pictured at the beginning of this post) is available through my Etsy Shop. Note cards of details from the piece, including the robin, are also sold as mixed sets and separately.

Note Card – Robin
Note Cards – Birds of Beebe Woods

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Birds of Beebe Woods: warbler

I wanted to include a warbler in the Birds of Beebe Woods piece and found that a handful of varieties live in our area, each with their own distinct markings. I liked the look of the black throated green warbler best and thought its color patterns and striped wings would show up against the brownish gold background fabric.

To start, I found many photographs of warblers in books and on the internet and sketched until I found a pose that fit into the  scene of birds. After making paper patterns, I cut out the bird’s shape from acid free matt board and cut pieces of white, green, black and yellow from wool felt. Thinking ahead, I glued cheap acrylic felt to the back of the matt board body, so there would be something to grab the stitches while the front felt piece was later being sewn in place. I also basted thick wool felt padding to the top of the matt board piece.

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I embroidered the texture and markings on the warbler’s green head. The bead eye is sewn inside a cut out hole in the yellow felt. Periodically, I would hold the bird up against the background fabric, to make sure there was enough contrast.

I used a combination of blanket stitch, fly stitch and lots of little single stitches.

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The wing’s stripes were defined by chain stitched lines.

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To finish, I made a little felt tail and added thread wrapped wire legs. Then, the black throated green warbler was ready to join the flock.

To see more posts about the making of Birds of Beebe Woods, see the archives here. An 18″ x 24″ poster (pictured at the beginning of this post) and note cards are available through my Etsy Shop.

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3 shows, 3 prizes

Three of my fabric relief pieces are currently in three different shows in La Conner, WA, Framingham, MA and Falmouth, MA. I’m happy to say that they’ve all been recognized in some way. I tell myself that art isn’t competitive and that prizes don’t matter, but it sure feels good when one’s work is noticed in a special way. Thank you jurors and voters! It just so happens that all three pieces are available as posters in my Etsy Shop.

This is the first time I’ve entered a quilt show because without 3 layers and a hanging sleeve, my work doesn’t usually qualify. But, the La Conner Quilt Festival made me feel welcome. The quilt show structure (and culture) still feels alien, though, with its myriad of categories and prizes.  I’m not complaining — it’s wonderful to slip into the “fiber art – not quilted” category.

Self Portrait: a personal history of fashion received 2nd place in the Masters Fiber Art – not quilted category, in the 2012 Quilt Festival, La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum, La Conner, WA. The show is this weekend, Oct. 5 – 7, 2012.

Rabbitat (see film here) was awarded Second Prize for its inclusion in the Danforth Museum of Art’s  Annual Juried Exhibition of Children’s Book Illustration Picture This!. The show will be at the Danforth Museum (Framingham, MA) until November 4, 2012.

And I just heard that Birds of Beebe Woods was voted “Most Favorite Artwork” by attendees at the Beebe Woods Exhibit opening last friday night. That’s nice! The show will be at Highfield Hall in Falmouth, MA (Cape Cod) until Nov. 16, 2012.