Azalea – Ltd. Edition fairy

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Please meet AZALEA, the newest Blossom Fairy! She is 3 3/4″ tall, with long crimped auburn hair, acorn cap hat, embroidered wool felt tunic and petal skirt. Even though I’ve said that I don’t sell them, every once in a while I offer a ltd. edition of dolls similar to the ones in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk. You see, I only work on them while traveling, so it’s an ongoing project that takes time. This year I made a set of 25 look-alike Azalea fairies while riding in cars and on vacation. I like to keep my hands busy, so this is a way of producing something, as well as keeping contented while sitting.

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Some of the finish work that’s not as portable, I did while on vacation. I have to limit the time I spend working on these because otherwise I would spend every minute in fairy land, constructing dolls, night and day. That isn’t such a bad thing, but then, I would be less inclined to make new, more involved pieces.

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In an effort to be fair to everyone, I am announcing on this blog, Facebook and Instgram that 25 “Azalea” fairies will be for sale in my Etsy Shop on Saturday, August 13th 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. Last year’s dolls 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.

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Oakley family RAFFLE

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Come and meet the five members of the Oakley family; Mama, Papa, Sister, Brother and Baby. They’re a folksy dollhouse sized acorn-capped family, who will feel right at home in any environment. Every once in a while I make a group of related wee folk and offer them as a fundraiser for a local non-profit organization. Last summer, I made a Fairy Family for Highfield Hall, which you can see here.

This time, Raffle ticket sales will benefit the Falmouth Art Center, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer. My mother, Mary Mavor was one of its early members and supporters and I’m proud to continue the tradition.

If you visit this blog regularly, you’ll know that I don’t sell one-of-a-kind dolls, so this is a rare chance to have a unique family of wee folk, all hand-stitched by yours truly. At the end of this post, you’ll find information about purchasing tickets for a chance to win the Oakley Family. But first, I want to show you some behind the scenes photos.

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I brought the family outside for a little fresh air and took a short video with my phone camera.

The Oakley family has extra sturdy armatures, which hold up better to changing poses and play.You can make your own dolls using the patterns and directions in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures.

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The Oakley Family is on display at the Falmouth Art Center in Falmouth, MA (on Cape Cod) all summer. The winner will be announced on September 1, 2016. Tickets for a chance to win may be purchased from the Falmouth Art Center by calling (508) 540-3304. Information about the Raffle is here.

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A family of Wedding dolls

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It seems like every summer, someone I know is getting married or celebrating a big anniversary and this year is no exception. My good friends Judy and Phil Richardson had a small gathering to celebrate the recent marriage of their daughter, Mary to David. And Mary orchestrated a 50th anniversary surprise for her parents at the same time!

This was an opportunity for Terry McKee and me to partner up again for a cake and doll project. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you might remember some other creative adventures that Terry and I have embarked on in the past. We’ve teamed up for so many cooking and sewing projects that we have a special category here.

My part was constructing 2 sets of wedding dolls, one of Mary and David and the other of Phil and Judy. It helped to have reference photos to make likenesses in face and clothing. They were based on the patterns and directions in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk-New Adventures.

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Terry made a delicious lemon bundt cake with a stand for the dolls in the center hole. She devised a paper New York Skyline to surround the couple, complete with the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty.

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Judy and Phil, on the other hand, needed a vessel to ride in, since they would be floating in a sea of ice cream, glazed with blueberry compote.

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Terry came up with the idea of adding a shortbread depiction of Vinalhaven, Maine, where they were married 50 years ago. Here are Terry and I, enjoying the results. It was another successful collaboration indeed!

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display at the Providence Children’s Museum

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I had the pleasure of going to the Providence Children’s Museum last week to set up some of my artwork in their Geometry Gallery display case. This section of the museum explores spatial thinking and has a number of hands-on play and learning experiences. The display case shows a changing exhibit of 3-dimensional creations loaned by different  artists. The museum staff couldn’t have been more welcoming! We’re all anticipating that the glass will have to be cleaned frequently because of finger and nose prints left by inquiring little (and big) ones!

I brought 2 original fabric relief illustrations from Pocketful of Posies and a whole bunch of wee folk characters from Felt Wee Folk, as well as houses and other props from my collection that I talk about in still playing with dolls. The items will be there for 6 months, until January 8, 2017. I hope that some of you will have a chance to visit. FYI – An exhibit of new fabric relief pieces will also be shown nearby in Bristol, RI, Sept. 16 – Oct. 30, 2016 ~ Intertwined – Needle Art of Salley Mavor  at the Bristol Art Museum.

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still playing with dolls

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Some things never change. Like the urge to play with dolls. I’d venture to guess that there are a lot of grownups like me who still find themselves drawn to creating little worlds, just like they were in their youth. I feel honored to share my passion (perhaps even obsession?) for the wee world with you through my books and this blog.

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I recently got out some props I’d made a few years ago for a video project that my husband Rob and I were planning, but didn’t undertake. It was pure play, as I set up one of the houses out in the yard and made this video with my phone camera.

Our original idea was to make a short stop motion animation of one of my favorite nursery rhymes, Wee Willie Winkie. The easy part was constructing the characters, houses, trees and a clock. Finding the time and space to work on the incredibly tedious task of animating the story turned out to be too much of a challenge. We figured that it would take several months of concentrated effort to make even a 5 min. video that we would be proud of. We’re still intrigued by the prospect of putting together a film and who knows, we may do it eventually. But for now, I will soon embark on a new project that will keep me busy for a few years. More about that later…

The houses, etc. (and a couple of original Pocketful of Posies illustrations) will be shown for the next 6 months, June 2, 2016 – Jan 8, 2017 ~ in the Geometry Gallery display case at the Providence Children’s Museum, Providence, RI

13147836_1084989028189856_5937376141503391142_oHere’s the clock for the scene, “Are the children in their beds, for now it’s 8 o’clock?”

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In the meantime, the various props have not been hidden away. They’ve been used as backdrops for other photos, including shots of Polly and A Buggy Picnic, which is available as a card.

wee folk sprouting up all over

Weefolk-1-18I can’t remember a more glorious spring here on Cape Cod! The days are clear and warm, but not too hot, with zero humidity. And the yard is full of perfectly scaled vegetation and flowers for wee folk to ramble through, including bugle weed, forget-me-nots and buttercups. Here’s a selection of characters who escaped from my studio into the outdoors, some from my how-to book,  Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures.

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How about a lattice topped pie in an acorn cap?

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Weefolk-1-19Poppies are ready to pop.

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Little Red Riding Hood makes her way across the bugle weed forest…

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And a fairy bride and groom dance through a field of buttercups!

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Cover Up (part 2)

CoverUp_lowresThis is the 2nd part in a series of posts about my new piece Cover Up (24″ x 30″), which features 45 individual characters who represent women from particular times or places. They all wear some form of head covering, adornment, makeup or mask that serve as markers, whether they are forms of self expression or dictated by religious or cultural tradition. There’s a wide array, from exaggerated fashions to veils that hide women from sight.

Some depictions are identifiable by their national costumes, tribal markings or regional headdresses and others are less distinguishable and open to interpretation, but they are all distinct individuals who fit into a collective portrait of women through history.

souvenierdollI tried to personify a variety of ethnic groups with accuracy and sensitivity. I didn’t want them to look like those plastic international souvenir dolls (shown on right), with generic features molded in different pigment shades. And I hope that Cover Up has more depth than a fashion show or a Unicef card. My intention was to show portraits of real imagined people, with their own personalities and spirits, who live or have lived with the pressure imposed by their society’s ideas about being female. Even the Geisha has an identity underneath her white pancake makeup and the Afghan woman has a unique self inside her blue burqa.

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I used Google Images to find reference material and practiced painting likenesses on 20mm wooden bead heads with tiny brush strokes. As I watched the crowd of characters grow, I realized that each one had a story to tell. So, I photographed them all separately before sewing them onto the larger piece. Looking at the women individually may be a way to appreciate their distinct styles, but the relationship between them is missing. When viewed alone, there is no context for comparison, whereas the whole piece creates a juxtaposition that I find more thought provoking.

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The following images are a collection of portraits of women who depict cultural, national, and religious forms of head coverings and tribal markings that reflect notions of female modesty, fashion, status and conformity from different times and places. The originals have 20mm wooden bead heads and these photos are enlarged so you can see the details.

Instead of making a key that lists each character’s source, I’ve decided to resist the tendency to label them and let their humanity speak instead. I hope you enjoy meeting the women!

12 x 17 posters featuring of a selected group are available in my  Etsy Shop here.

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Cover Up is part of a series that includes Face Time and Whiskers, which focus on bringing to life different people from around the world, using themes of history, style and cultural identity. In each piece, head and shoulder busts peek out of “cameo” framed holes. Their faces are painted 20mm wooden beads, with wigs and adornments, similar to the doll heads in my how-to book Felt Wee Folk – New AdventuresThese 3 pieces will be included in my exhibit Intertwined – Needle Art of Salley Mavor at the Bristol Art Museum, Bristol, RI, Sept. 16 – Oct. 30, 2016.

The next post (part 3 & video) shows the process of making the pieced felt background for Cover Up. Read Cover Up (part 1) here.