Bed book peek – Afghanistan (part 2)

Children, bedding, slippers and an ottoman take center stage in this 2nd part of the series about making an illustration of an a scene set in Afghanistan for my new picture book. To see how the carpet was made, click here for Part 1. The story about children’s sleeping places in different cultures around the world was written by Rebecca Bond. It will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2020.

When creating characters, I start with painting faces on bead heads. Based on past experience, I think painting their features is more nuanced and emotive than anything I can achieve with stitches and fabric. It works best to paint a bunch and pick out the ones I like, kind of like an audition. Then I add hair, using the same wig-making technique shown in the new edition of my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures

To check the scale of this slumbering pair, I positioned them on the layout sketch and then the actual rug.

For a miniature quilt, I stitched and embellished a piece of printed blue fabric.

It took awhile sorting through piles and piles of fabric to find some that were not only appropriate and compatible, but also distinctive enough to contrast with the rug.

These green pajamas are made from a silk remnant.

For this coverlet, I gave up on finding a print that I liked and added embroidery to a simple grey and white print.

I made mattresses and pillows and put the children to bed.

Afghanistan (1 of 1)-2It was so fun making these wee slippers to place by the bedside.

There was also some mini upholstery to do, with this little ottoman.

Each of the illustrations has its own patterned strip, which will be used in the book design phase of the project. To keep it rigid and straight, I stitched Soft Flex beading wire along the edge. It feels good to have finished this one and I’m excited to move on to the next scene, which will be from a very different part of the world.

Here are links to posts about other illustrations I’ve finished for the book: South America, Japan and India.

To keep up with new posts, subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

 

America First lady

For the past 6 months, my husband Rob and I have been making a film starring characters in the Wee Folk Players theater troupe. We’re working in stop-motion animation, where you basically take a series of photos, moving figures and/or objects in between shots, in itsy-bitsy amounts. When the photos are played in sequence at 24 frames per second, it appears like fluid motion. This process has got to be one of the most time-consuming art forms out there. In some ways, it takes the same patience and attention to detail that embroidery work requires, with the added bonus of seeing your creations move!

I’ve wanted to breath life into my figures through animation for a long time, but felt unprepared to take on the task, especially the technical parts. Now, with Rob’s help, I am able to advance my art into a new realm. We are very happy with how it’s coming out and hope to have a 10 minute film some time next spring. It will be a wordless story exploring our current and very unique political environment. At the very end of this post, there’s a peek at our animation stage, with the scene we’re currently filming.

I can’t show you much yet, but HAD to share this latest member of the cast, who will have a cameo appearance alongside the leading man. Thread extensions were useful for her tri-colored hair and I had fun with her spiked heels.

After her shoes were sewn in place, she and her sole sister Barbi commiserated about foot ailments.

This is one of the final fittings for her custom made suit.

Here she is, flashing her rock, while waiting to perform.

The animation stage is set up in the basement, with lights and a camera on a slider. The scene bollow is made with real candy, so everything is pretty sticky. To give you an idea of the time involved, we’re currently filming a 10 second shot that totals 240 photographs. There’a a lot of action with many moving parts and I’ve already had to start over 3 times because of bumping props during the process. One could think of it as 6 hours of wasted effort, but every time I redo it, I learn something new and the results are more nuanced. Tomorrow, I will try again, being extra careful to move only the parts that need animating!

To keep up with new posts, subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page).

Polly – Ireland 2017

Polly Doll just returned from a fabulous week in western Ireland. Here she is having her photo taken in Cannemara National Park. The view from the cairn atop Diamond Hill was awesome!

She enjoyed staying in Clifden

with its many pubs…

and fuchsia growing along the side of the road.

Polly walked along the quay…

and crawled through a trap.

Polly met peat…

and heather.

She visited a castle ruin…

and took a side trip to the island of Inishbofin.

Polly felt most at home in the moss. Her Aran knit sweater was warm and cozy in the nippy air. See how her outfit was made here. More pictures of the trip will be coming soon, including the customary doorways.

Polly steps out

Polly is almost packed and ready to travel again. As you can see, she’s been temporarily staying at the Grate Hall Fairy House.

For months, she stoically observed the goings on in the studio with nary a peep out of her painted lips. From her vantage point atop the display case, she could see other characters and projects taking shape. 
She watched as new talent was brought in for the American Drama Series, including child stars for a stop-motion animated movie about the 2016 election, which seems like it’s been in production forever. It’s been hard for her stand in the sidelines as a whole new cast of characters acts out her preferred genre – political satire.

Also in the works is a new children’s book about beds around the world (to be published in 2020), which makes Polly think about travel even more!

But, Polly’s patience has been rewarded and she will be going back to Ireland, which she enjoyed visiting in 2013. Despite the last minute decision to travel, she was able to put together a new wardrobe for the trip. A fisherman’s knit sweater was the obvious choice!

First, she had a new plaid skirt fitted. Then it was time to “faux knit” the sweater, using off-white wool felt and tapestry yarn.

Polly prefers a button down style, so she doesn’t muss up her hair pulling the sweater over her head.

A little tam with a pom pom completes the look.

I think Polly will be prepared for all kinds of Irish weather. She looks forward to posing in her new outfit and sharing photos of the trip. UPDATE: See photos of Polly’s trip to Ireland here.

Honesty the fairy

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Please meet HONESTY, the newest Blossom Fairy! She is 3 3/4″ tall, with long black tresses, acorn cap hat, embroidered wool felt tunic and petal skirt. I don’t sell one-of-a-kind dolls, but every once in a while I offer a ltd. edition of 25 dolls similar to the ones in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk. You see, I only work on them outside of my studio, while traveling, so there’s no predicting when a set will be finished. This is my way of controlling the impulse to make them all the time. That isn’t such a bad thing, but then, I would be less inclined to make new, more involved pieces or get myself into the political fray! To see previous ltd. editions in the archives, click here. Information about purchasing HONESTY is at the end of this post.

Each doll has a signed and numbered name tag.

I put the finishing touches on the tunics in my studio, but most of the embroidery was done in airport waiting rooms, on board planes and in the car on long drives.

Mass production of heads.

Sometimes they look like a flock in uniform, preparing for a mass take off.

I make sure in advance that there are enough petals to make 25 petticoats.

Information about purchasing a fairy: In an effort to be fair to everyone, I am announcing on this blog, Facebook and Instagram that 25 “HONESTY” fairies will be listed for $75.00 each, in my Etsy Shop on Saturday, September 2 at 10 AM, eastern US time. That gives more of you a chance to read about it in advance, so you can plan on being ready to shop. I’m sorry if this hour isn’t convenient for other time zones around the globe, but I can’t figure out how to accommodate everyone. The last edition sold out very quickly, so if you really want one, act fast! Sorry, no reservations ahead of time. The dolls will be sold on a first come first served basis and can be shipped anywhere in the world.

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And don’t miss a chance to win the FAIRY FAMILY RAFFLE to benefit of Highfield Hall and Gardens.  Tickets ($5.00) may be purchased online here. The winner will be picked on Sept. 4th and the Fairy family will fly to their new home!

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Polly in Oregon

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Polly came along on our trip to Oregon. She was mesmerized by the beauty inside the Lan Su Chinese Garden in the heart of Portland.

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She helped the Mavor sisters make Speculaas, molded Dutch gingerbread cookies.

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She drove south of Portland to Willamette Valley, Oregon’s wine making region.

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It was really gorgeous out in the country. Polly loved Oregon!

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