I just wanted to point out that my Etsy shop will be closed while I’m away on vacation, from Dec. 5 to 20. So, if you’d like to order books, cards or posters before Christmas, please visit the shop in the next few days. I’ve recently added some new items: cards with a baby nestled in a walnut shell and autographed copies of my board book, Hey, Diddle, Diddle!
Last Saturday, a group of lovely women gathered at Highfield Hall in Falmouth for my felt banner workshop. Lynn and Christy treated the workshop as a destination event. They drove down from Vermont a day ahead and spent the afternoon riding their bicycles on our prized Shining Sea bike path. The next morning, they were eager and ready to go before we officially started at 9:30.
I brought wool felt and other supplies like thread, wire and an alphabet guide. The class was made up of stitchers and quilters who felt very comfortable with a needle and thread. Everyone came with an idea of what kind of banner they wanted to make, so they got right to work. There were holiday signs, a baby banner, a Chinese proverb, a sewing room sign, and one woman made personalized tooth pillows for her nieces. The first challenge was selecting felt and thread colors. Then, I showed them how to form and wrap the wire letters. This is a technique I’ve been developing for some time, but I’ve never explained or demonstrated how to do it.
The wrapping technique can be quite tedious and fussy, but this group picked it up quickly. They didn’t seem frustrated and became engrossed in the process, asking questions along the way.
Lynn wanted to make a wire plant instead of words, so I showed her how to form and wrap branches.
Christy started a cheerful purple Christmas banner, which will include felt holly and other embellishments. The hours passed quickly and by closing time at 4:30, everyone’s project was progressing well, but nothing was completed. I know that Christy is working on hers at home, because she wrote to ask some questions yesterday.
Will I teach any more classes? I’m striving for the right balance between time out in the world and time creating in my studio. With so many projects planned, I hesitate to commit to teaching workshops, especially if it involves travel. I find it difficult to do my artwork if I’m constantly coming and going, preparing and recovering. Teaching at a venue close to home makes the idea sound more manageable, but I still guard my studio time like a mother bear!
Last week, I saw this picture in the fashion section of the Wall Street Journal. The article pointed out a change in women’s business attire, from dark suits, to bright colors and even florals. The peplum jacket reminded me of my wee folk fairies. Not that today’s business women are wearing folksy petal petticoats and fitted, leafy tops. I’m just glad to see that women in the corporate world are showing more confidence in their own individuality. Those pink shoes have got to go, though!
I designed a felt peplum style jacket for my 3 1/2″ Blossom fairies about a dozen years ago. It is the basic pattern used for the fairy’s clothing in my how-to book Felt Wee Folk. This jacket is the usual giveaway that someone has used my patterns in dolls they sell on Etsy. I don’t mind that they make the dolls and use my patterns for their clothing, but I try to keep up with shop owners and ask that they credit me and my book as the inspiration for their creations. Most everyone honors my request and are usually apologetic, when they realize that they didn’t think to credit me in their product descriptions. One woman said that she assumed it was OK to use my designs because my book is so well-known. Well, the book is still being discovered and I hope it will stay in print for years to come. That means that the publisher needs to see a consistent demand for the book.
I’m not making dolls to sell myself and am happy that people are having such fun making them. The Bayberry Fairy below is included in my new Blossom Fairy Poster, which is available in my Etsy Shop. Want your poster autographed? Just mention it on your order.
A whole swarm of Blossom Fairies are gathered together in my newest 18″ x 24″ poster, which is listed in my Etsy Shop. I’ll be glad to autograph any of the posters–just mention it on your order. There’s Blueberry, Black-Eyed-Susan, Aster, and Porcelain Berry, along with 12 other fairies dressed in petal petticoats. About a dozen years ago, I went on a fairy-making binge, designing all kinds of wee characters to go with different flowers and berries in season. I carried them in a basket, searching around the neighborhood for the best natural spots to take their pictures. Hazy days were best for photography, because there were less harsh shadows on their delicate fairy faces.
It was fun to go through the slides (they were taken before digital) and pick out which fairies to include in the poster. Many of the photographs are printed in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk and some are still available as note cards in my Etsy Shop. My sister, Anne Mavor designed this poster in her clean, classic style. Even though I don’t make kits and Ltd. edition dolls any more, it’s fun to have the photos to work with. I’m happy to find a way to bring back the Blossom Fairies!
Last Sunday, we had the pleasure of attending Kat and Devin’s wedding.The bride’s family and my family have been closely connected through several generations. Kat’s grandparents and my grandparents were next door neighbors in Woods Hole in the 1940’s and our families have shared our love of folk dancing, folk music, sailing, and art ever since. Kat is an artist and her husband seems to be a free spirit. Here’s a picture of the dancing wedding couple.
As usual, I made them a wedding banner for a gift. I really lucked out with the felt colors I chose, since the wedding’s predominant color was purple/lavender. I bent wire into the letters of their names and then picked out some decorative objects and beads. The pinkish square object in the center, between their names is a cool leather button I bought years ago.
I then wrapped the wire letters with embroidery floss and stitched the square wavy edged name panel with variegated pima cotton.
I sewed the wire letters and objects to the felt piece.
Then I stitched around the outside edge of the felt banner piece and sewed the square panel in place. I added some fun “dalmatian” stone beads in a zig zag pattern.
I added some bead and shell embellishments to the scalloped bottom edge and sewed the wrapped wire wedding date to the felt.
I picked some metal beads from India that I thought would bring an interesting texture to the hanging part of the banner.
A section of a strangled bittersweet vine serves as a hanger. I screwed in tiny metal eyes and hung the banner. I hope Kat and Devin like the banner. It was a lovely wedding and I wish the bride and groom many years of happiness!
I’ve finally joined the rest of the world by opening an Etsy shop! It’s taken a while for me to figure out what kind of items to sell, since I’ve given up mass-producing dolls and kits, etc. I could have really used a service like this 30 years ago, or even 10 years ago. At the moment, I’m happy to offer three brand new posters of some of my more popular fabric relief pieces; Self Portrait: A Personal History of Fashion, Rabbitat and On Halloween.
The 18″ x 24″ posters are high quality reproductions, printed on sturdy 100 lb. paper. My sister, Anne Mavor did a beautiful job with the graphic design–so tastefully done. I’m very excited to be offering these, so please visit my shop!
My cousin John and his wife Mariana had a baby girl on March 1st, so I had to drop everything and make a baby banner for Eliza Jane. I took photos along the way, which give an idea of my process. It’s like the wedding banners I’ve been making for a few years. You can see all of them here.
I first made a simple pattern, with her name, birth date and weight written out. Then I cut out a smaller felt square and bent wire to form the letters and numbers.
I wrapped the wire with 2 strands of variegated embroidery floss, hiding the knots behind the curled ends. In this case, wire had to overlap to make the Z. I tried making the fancier lower case script Z, but it was hard to read, so I went with the simpler zigzag style. Below you can see how I made an orange stripe with another thread on top of the embroidery floss in JANE.
I like using variegated thread to edge the felt.
I made a narrow panel for a sheep button and some leaf beads.
Glass leaf beads and a chain stitched vine fill the space between the words.
I’ve had this ceramic sheep button for about 30 years. It’s so satisfying to put it to use in just the right place.
I braided some Greek leather that I bought at a bead show and made a strap to hang the banner. Working with the leather reminded me of making gimp projects at camp. Remember gimp? What a weird material!
Welcome to the world Eliza Jane!