Birds of Beebe Woods: wren

Last Friday, both floors of Highfield Hall were packed with people celebrating the opening of the Beebe Woods themed exhibits. The event joined the arts with the cause of preserving open space in Falmouth. Along with the art displayed throughout, there was a sound-scape piece and local poets read their poems about Beebe Woods. The curator, Annie Dean did a wonderful job of encouraging individuals as well as bringing together the different groups in town.

I learned so much about the birds of our region, while researching my contribution to the  show, Birds  of  Beebe Woods (pictured above). I wanted to show birds of varying sizes, and the wren was one on the small side. They have such a characteristic stance, with their tail pointing upwards at a sharp right angle. I printed out tons of photos and illustrations of wrens and tried to copy their markings and feather patterns correctly.

An 18″ x 24″ poster and note cards of Birds of Beebe Woods are available in my Etsy Shop.

Find out more about the Birds of Beebe Woods fabric relief here.

After attaching the feet, I found that the bird could stand on its own.

wren4WMTo keep up with new posts, 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.

The Intimate Woods

My latest piece, Birds of Beebe Woods, is included in The Intimate Woods exhibit at Highfield Hall in Falmouth, Massachusetts.  An exciting assortment of artwork will be on display throughout the building and grounds this fall. It’s all part of Beebe Woods: The Trail Leads to Our Door, which celebrates the 40th anniversary of J.K. Lilly’s gift of Beebe Woods to the Town of Falmouth.  The opening will be this Friday, September 28th, 5:00 – 7:00.

Highfield Hall’s web site describes the exhibit as follows:

The Intimate Woods: Wed., Sept. 19 – Fri., Nov. 16  Inspired by the flora, fauna and intimate details of the woodlands, this companion exhibit to Beebe Woods: The Trail Leads to Our Door features the work of ten regional fiber artists including Salley Mavor, Helen Koehler, Joyce Shutter and friends. These artists’ creative interpretations of the natural world are enlivened by a wide range of media: from hand-made papers, felting, beadwork and collage to various forms of fine needlework. This exhibition serves as a reminder that our observations of nature are ever expansive and the rare and delicate lady’s slippers barely noticed at our feet can offer as grand an experience as the stately beech trees that have reigned over Beebe Woods for decades.

Here’s a shot of Rob taking a picture of the felt covered wire border from Birds of Beebe Woods before it was all assembled. And other photo of me taking a photo.

Birds of Beebe Woods: cardinals


Poster - Birds of Beebe Woods

Poster – Birds of Beebe Woods

See other posts about making Birds of Beebe Woods here. A poster is available from my Etsy Shop.

Most of the birds in Birds of Beebe Woods are the colorful male variety, but I decided to add a pair of cardinals to the mix. The female is shown in her nest, which is made of florist’s rafia-like straw.


After consulting photographs of cardinals, I did a simple drawing to follow. The basic shape is cut out of matt board and the padding is basted in place. I don’t know what the padding material is made of— a friend gave me a bunch. In this case, I made a felt hood and embroidered feather patterns with variegated thread.


Then, I stitched the beak and surrounded the bead eye with several rows of black blanket stitching.


The tail has a wire armature to help keep its shape.


new “Birds” poster on Etsy

The Birds of Beeebe Woods posters have arrived! My sister, Anne Mavor did the classy graphic design. We picked a chocolate-brown background and gold lettering to set off the warm tones of the piece. The 18 x 24 posters are now available at my Etsy shop. I’ll be traveling in Ireland Sept. 11 – 20, so if you want one before I leave, place an order by Sept. 9th. Otherwise, I’ll fill any orders after I return.

Go here for more information and to see posts about making Birds of Beebe Woods.


Birds of Beebe Woods: bluejay

Birds0001blogWMUpdate: The Birds of Beebe Woods  poster is in my Etsy shop .

Now that the piece is finished, I can spend time reviewing how I made some of the parts. Opportunities to see the original piece are listed at the end of this post. The bluejay (life size) was one of the first birds I made, after the crow, because it’s on the large size and I wanted to make sure it would fit. The birds’ arrangement wasn’t set until the very end and I kept moving the critters around. That’s why I like to create separate elements–it’s very much like a collage that way. I have kind of an idea of how it will be, but I want room to maneuver the pieces. Tweaking is good because it brings surprises!


After looking at photos of bluejays, I picked a pose and cut the body shape out of matt board. Then I cut a piece of white felt and stitched a textured pattern on the breast. I cut a whole in the felt for the bead eye, too.


Oh dear, looking at these photo’s, the sequence of steps is not clear to me. You’d think I’d remember, but every time I make a new character or animal, I try different approaches. When I sew, I’m not analyzing what I’m doing, which makes it hard to explain later.

But, I can tell you this much, the bluejay’s wings are made of layered blue and white felt, all embroidered with a few simple stitches, in this case the fly and blanket stitch.

The tail stripe pattern is mostly blanket stitched.


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

2015 UPDATE:
Since many people have asked if the original is for sale– not now, as I will be holding onto it for a few years, so that it can be displayed in public exhibitions. The next showing is May 15 – Sept. 15, 2015 at Highfield Hall and Gardens in Falmouth, Massachusetts. I am also curating the outdoor exhibit of 32 fanciful fairy houses, Fairy Houses of Highfield Hall, which will be on display June 28 – August 31, 2015.

And later in the year, the “birds” will be in Winconsin. Oct 21. 2015 – January 10, 2016 ~ Insects to Elephants at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.


Birds of Beebe Woods finished!

Yeah! After 4 1/2 months of constant stitching, Birds of Beebe Woods is finished! I know that many of you have been checking in all summer to see its progress. We propped the stretcher on a window sill outside, securing it with duct tape on the top sides. The piece feels heavier than anything I’ve made before. All of that wire adds up in poundage. Over the next few days, my husband Rob will take photographs of it in different lighting conditions outside. For soft shadows, a bright, hazy day, will be perfect. when we get a good photo, I’ll have a poster made to sell in my Etsy shop.

Now that it’s finished, I can bring Birds of Beebe Woods to Mahopac, NY next week, when I give a talk at 7pm at the Mahopac Public Library. This stop on the Pocketful of Posies touring exhibit ends the same day, Wed., August 29th. I hope to see some of you there! To see the full schedule of the tour look here.

Then, the birds piece will be hung with other Beebe Woods inspired artwork at Highfield Hall in Falmouth, MA from Sept. 18 – Nov. 15, 2012, as part if the The Intimate Woods fiber art exhibit. I’m also giving an all day workshop at Highfield Hall in Falmouth on Sat., Oct. 27th. We’ll make felt banners with wrapped wire lettering.  Find out more here.


Birds of Beebe Woods: goldfinch, nuthatch & chickadee


I made my week’s goal of sewing 3 new birds to add to Birds of Beebe Woods! I was so determined to get them done, that I didn’t pause to take photos along the way. They are all approximately life-size. Here’s the show-off male goldfinch.



I love the way the little nuthatch hangs on facing downwards.

Poster - Birds of Beebe Woods

Poster – Birds of Beebe Woods

And our own Massachusetts state bird, the darling chickadee. It’s time to work on the background now. I’ll be checking in as the piece progresses.

Update: Posters and cards of Birds of Beebe Woods are available in my Etsy Shop.


Birds of Beebe Woods: cedar waxwing


Update: See the completed piece and read more about it here.
More and more birds are emerging in Birds of Beebe Woods, including this 6″ long cedar waxwing. Here are the felt parts before they were all embroidered and attached.


I like stitching the feather patterns and textures.


Poster - Birds of Beebe Woods

Poster – Birds of Beebe Woods

Poster – Birds of Beebe Woods

The September deadline for the Intimate Woods exhibit at Highfield Hall is approaching, so my goal is to make 3 small birds this week and more after that, if I have time. Then I have to attach everything to a stretched background, which usually takes longer than I think.

Update: Posters and cards of Birds of Beebe Woods are available in my Etsy Shop.

Beth from Acorn Pies in the studio

Beth Curtin, the woman behind the wonderful blog Acorn Pies came over this morning for tea. We met through blogging and have been talking about meeting face to face for a couple of years. She’s in the area, at her Cape Cod house this summer, so we were able to have a nice visit in person.

I cleared away a space for us at the end of my oak table for us sit. The other end is filled with the makings of my current piece, Birds of Beebe Woods. In the last month, I’ve added many birds and will show more pictures when I’m finished. Right now, I’m stitching a chipping sparrow and will make a woodpecker next.

Birds of Beebe Woods (crow)

I’ve emerged from my months-long blissful state of stitching Birds of Beebe Woods, just long enough to show some process pictures of the crow, whom I’ve named Argyle.

He’s about 13″ from head to tail, with about 2 weeks worth of hand embroidery on his wool felt body.

Poster - Birds of Beebe Woods
Poster – Birds of Beebe Woods

From time to time, I’ll be posting photos of the other birds in the scene. See the introductory post about Birds of Beebe Woods here. This is a brief report–the birds are calling out, “September deadline, September deadline!”

Update: Posters and cards of Birds of Beebe Woods are available in my Etsy Shop.

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