Tessa’s tiles

Last fall, our new tile mural made by Tessa Morgan of Flying Pig Pottery was installed behind the stove. We had been looking at a piece of greasy plywood in the same location for 20 years, putting off the tile project because I couldn’t decide what I wanted. I was originally going to paint my own tiles, but eventually gave up on that idea. Years ago, I did paint some faux tiles in a different spot in the kitchen. See a post about those here.

We asked Tessa to design a landscape and seascape with animals. I had admired her pottery for years and we gave her the freedom to create her own menagerie.  Before they were installed, we laid out the pieces on our dining room table.

Here’s the mural with spacers, before the grout is applied.

We love living with Tessa’s tiles, which are made with a sgraffito technique, which she describes as “the art of carving through a colored slip to the contrasting clay body underneath”.

Tessa encouraged me to decorate some tiles, too, so I carved the narrow back splash strip under the windows. We spent a few enjoyable afternoons carving together in her Woods Hole studio.

A few years ago, Tessa made tiles for a wonderful mural in the Falmouth Public Library. Donors to the library renovation fund had their names carved into hundreds of tiles that cover the hallway leading to the children’s room.

She also makes beautiful lamps, dishes and mugs, all made with her signature sgraffito style.

Flying Pig Pottery’s studio is open to the public and is located on Woods Hole Rd. , just before you enter the village.

Independence Day 2012

It was an absolutely gorgeous 4th of July yesterday. The day started out rainy, with an iffy forecast, but the sun came out in time for the Woods Hole Parade and it stayed sunny through the fireworks at night. Our eclectic parade is light on the red white and blue, with more of an emphasis on science. Graduate students from different labs in the Marine Biological Laboratory march with sculptures they’ve concocted out of found objects. Some are more successful than others in illustrating their particular field of study, but they all have a lot of fun.  Every year, I am impressed by these future scientists’ creativity. It’s always a raucous event and like no other 4th of July parade in America!

perfect Woods Hole morning

At 8am this morning, the water was calm under sunny skies, the humidity was low and the temperature was perfect for a bike ride into Woods Hole.

There was hardly anyone about on Water St. and Eel Pond was still. I enjoy this time of year, especially on a sleepy Sunday morning, when the weather is superb and the summer people haven’t come yet. In a matter of weeks, the crowds will descend, bringing an exciting, but wearing energy. Having been a year ’rounder since childhood, the change seems natural to me, like a built-in part of the seasonal shift. For more recent “winter folks” it can be an annoying adjustment. 

Skiffs will be jammed up around the pond’s edge. This morning, pollen floated and swirled on top of the water.

Decks and porches will be full of people.

And dinghies will fill every spot along the Yacht Club piers. Here we come summer of ’12!

Horn Book poster winner!

I am overwhelmed by the response to the Horn Book poster giveaway! Thank you to everyone (107) who entered. I am very touched by so many lengthy, thoughtful and generous comments on the giveaway post, well beyond the usual minimal missives.


Drum roll, please. The winner is Marianne Monaghan! I’ll notify her by e-mail and find out where to send the poster. Anyone who’d like to buy posters ($7 within the US, $10 outside the US) from the Horn Book can call (Eastern Standard Time) or email any of the following:

800-325-9558 ext 7942,  614-873-7942,  info@hbook.com

I gave a poster to Woods Hole Library Director Margaret McCormick, to hang up in our library.

I just had to show you this picture of one-year-old Helen dressed as a lamb, which was in the most recent Woods Hole Library newsletter. Her mother, Kellie Porter was working at the desk in the library when I brought in the poster. Kellie and I were both surprised to see the similarity between her daughter/lamb and my little girl/lamb swinging from the tree in the poster. I made the artwork for the magazine this past summer and Kellie hadn’t seen the Horn Book cover until I showed her the poster, so the resemblance was unexpected. By the way, Helen’s costume is not homemade, but I think it could easily be copied. I wish I had thought to add a collar and bell!

Irene’s wind

By the time Irene made to us, she was downgraded to a tropical storm. Here are a few photos taken at the Woods Hole Yacht Club before the height of the storm, looking out the fully cleared dingy pier and the practically empty harbor. I’m glad to say our boat held firmly to its mooring.

fiddlers on the roof

As we were heading in from our mooring in Great Harbor we couldn’t help but notice  some house boats had rafted together in a clump, with people all over. They were celebrating a friend named Kenny’s 60th birthday, Woods Hole style.

Guests either rowed, sailed or motored to the party, tying up their boats to one of the rafts.

We were hailed aboard by Alison, the birthday boy’s wife.

There were fiddlers on the roof!

We visited with friends for a bit and motored back to shore in our skiff, thinking how we love living in this place!

tarpaulin cove

With summer’s end quickly approaching, we are getting out in our boat as much as possible. That means less time stitching in my studio, but there will be time for that this fall and winter. I tend to be a compulsive worker, so I’m trying to bring more of a balance of work and family/social time into my life.

We motored down to Tarpaulin Cove, which is about a half hour boat ride from Woods Hole. It’s one of the beaches that the public is allowed to use on Naushon Island, which is privately owned. But you can only get to these beaches by sea. The family trust that owns this stretch of islands keeps them undeveloped and natural, with just a few houses for family members to stay. It’s like going back in time a couple hundred years.

I walked with my friends down the beach toward the light house, passing the farm-house. We went through a stile, which keeps cattle from straying too far. Their pasture is inland, over the dunes, with a path to the water. The last time we came to the cove, the cows were standing in the water, cooling off.

We worked our way along the shore.

And climbed up towards the light house.

Where we could see across the sound, with Martha’s Vineyard in the distance. Looking out, I imagined all of the ships that have passed by this point or taken shelter in this cove. There’s a story about how during the Revolutionary War, British ships hid in Tarpaulin Cove, waiting to attack Cape Cod. They were spied and word got back to the main land in time for the militia to defend the shores of Falmouth.

this library’s special

This past Sunday, the Woods Hole Public Library held a wonderful reception to celebrate my most recent book, Pocketful of Posies. Words cannot express how honored I feel by Molly Bang and my other friends who spoke. I was so touched and humbled by the outpouring of support from the people who came to see my artwork and hear the presentation.  It makes me proud to have grown up and live in such a creative little corner of the world. Thank you, Terry McKee for conjuring up and arranging this wonderful event!
Here I am, signing books at the circulation desk.
Some very special people came, like my RISD teacher and agent, Judy Sue Goodwin-Sturges. She talked about the beginning of our relationship 35 years ago and passed around “Mr. Mole”, which I had handed in (after pulling an all-nighter) for a class assignment (sorry, no picture).
The amazing April Prince, who writes, edits and makes things happen at Studio Goodwin-Sturges also showed up.
The finished and framed Rabbitat picture was displayed on an easel and about half of the original fabric relief illustrations from Pocketful of Posies lined the library’s main room on top of the book shelves. I’ve had to take away the artwork, but one piece will remain for a few months, the illustration from There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. People loved seeing the Rabbitat film (read posts about it here) and commented that it gave them a clearer insight and appreciation of what I do. I haven’t had time to put the film on this blog or my website, but the filmmaker, Daniel Cojanu is showing it on vimeo here
 I wish I had more pictures of the people who came to the event and the cookies Terry and I made, but my husband Rob (the designated photographer) and I were much too busy participating in the festivity. On Monday, Rob and I drove artwork to Vermont, where my show Salley Mavor: Sewn Stories will be showing at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center until February, 2012. Yes, we’ll be returning for the opening on Friday. It’s been quite the week, month, year!