Mossy Glen: Part 2 – Cherry Trees

Flowering trees in the spring are glorious, aren’t they? Maybe we appreciate them because their showy display is so brief. In this Part 2 of the series about making Mossy Glen, I share photos, videos and commentary about how I created the cherry trees that sit atop the hillside, off in the distance.

Mossy Glen is the springtime scene in a series of seasonal landscapes that capture the wonder and magic of the natural world, both real and imagined. Mossy Glen and the winter scene, Frosty Morning are available as note cards in my shop here.

The pink tinted trees against the blue sky remind me of the blossoming apple trees in this book jacket illustration for my 1995 book, Mary Had a Little Lamb.

Mary Had a Little lamb 1995

Of course, apple and cherry trees are shaped differently and their flowers aren’t the same shade of pink. I also constructed them differently – the apple trees are embroidered directly onto cotton velveteen, whereas the cherry trees in Mossy Glen are made with a combination of wrapped wire and embroidery on wool felt.

I also made the cherry trees as separate objects that could be shifted around. That way, I could adjust their position according to how the surrounding parts came out. Over the years, I’ve found that keeping an open-ended playful element in my process is more and more important. The idea of following a set pattern or grid, without much wiggle room, such as in knitting, cross-stitching or weaving makes me feel trapped and constrained, without room to breath.

I formed the tree shapes with wire, using a finer gauge for the smaller branches. The loops on the ends were big enough to sew a needle and thread through.

I wrapped the branches with embroidery floss and covered the trunk with wool felt, which I embellished with vertical rows of chain stitching. This Stitch Minute video shows how I wrapped the wire and stitched the blossoms with french knots.

Stitch Minute – wire tree

This was the first time I can remember creating a tree with its own section of sky attached. Luckily, I had some pale blue felt that was almost the same shade as the cotton velveteen background sky.

After sewing the wire tree to the felt, I embroidered a few extra branches to fill in the gaps and added pink blossoms with french knots.

I made a patch of sorts, by cutting the felt around the contours of the treetop. At this point, I’d figured out where to put the trees, so it was okay to decorate the surrounding area. Watch this Stitch Minute video to see how I stitched some little bushes onto the velveteen background.

Stitch Minute – bushes

In the future, I’ll give a closer look at how I made the foliage on the hillside that’s positioned below and in front of the cherry trees.

Stay tuned for more posts about making Mossy Glen. Other parts in the series will focus on the stone walls, forsythia bush, embroidered embellishments and the wee folk characters.
Mossy Glen (overview)
Part 1 (moss)
Part 2 (cherry trees)
Part 3 (stone walls)
Part 4 (forsythia)

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

Bedtime Stitches opens in Lincoln, NE and other news

First off, I’d like to welcome the influx of new subscribers, who’ve recently discovered my work through The Quilt Show. I hope that you enjoy exploring my needle and thread universe that you don’t get too lost in the archives!
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Today’s post includes an exhibition announcement with a virtual gallery tour, a zoom interview hosted by Niisha HandCrafted from Dubai, UAE and a preview of the fall landscape in my 4 seasons series.

Southeastern New England took the brunt of last weekend’s blizzard, but miraculously we didn’t lose power. Sunday was both a gross and fine motor skills kind of day, with shoveling outside and stitching inside in front of the wood-stove. Gotta have a balance of physical exertion and fiddly handwork or weird things start to happen!

I’m working on the fall landscape (autumn for some of you) in my 4 seasons series. As you can see, this scene will have a moss-covered habitat for the wee folk that is surrounded by chain-stitched vegetation. There’s still a lot more to do, but if I can complete it by spring, this yet-to-be-named piece will join Mossy Glen and Frosty Morning in my retrospective show at the Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk, ME this summer (June 3 – Sept. 11, 2022).

Bedtime Stitches Touring Exhibition
The International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska is hosting Bedtime Stitches through April 9, 2022. Even if you live too far away and can’t see the show in person, you can have a virtual gallery tour on their web page here.

The Bedtime Stitches exhibition is a unique opportunity for the public to see the detail and 3-dimensional quality of my actual hand-stitched artwork, which was photographed and printed in the book, MY BED: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep around the World.

Russia

The collection of artwork takes the viewer on an international journey, showing where children sleep in varying cultures and living environments around the world. Along with the framed embroidered pieces, interpretive boards give a background peek at my process. See where the show is going for the next few years on the exhibitions page.

View the virtual gallery tour here.

Bedtime Stitches at the International Quilt Museum
Bedtime Stitches at the International Quilt Museum
Bedtime Stitches at the International Quilt Museum

Signed copies of My Bed can be ordered in my shop here. Watch this 8 minute documentary about how I created the illustrations for the book.

Visitors to the exhibition, as well as those of you at home with a copy of My Bed, can hunt for details in the artwork using the downloadable sheet below.

And finally, I want to share a zoom interview I did with Niisha HandCrafted from Dubai, UAE, which can be seen on her Facebook page. If you’re interested in learning about my artwork, where it came from and why I do it, this interview is for you. Prompted by Niisha’s insightful questions, I blab on for over an hour about all kinds of things – how I got started and grew as an artist, what I think about “slow stitching”, as well as offer advice for people who want to build a creative life of their own.

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

Mossy Glen: Part 1 (moss)

Wouldn’t it be nice to step out your front door onto a mossy carpet every morning?  In this Part 1 of the series about making Mossy Glen, I share photos, videos and commentary about how I created just that for the wee folk who live there.

Mossy Glen is the springtime scene in a series of seasonal landscapes that capture the wonder and magic of the natural world, both real and imagined. Mossy Glen and the winter scene, Frosty Morning are available as note cards in my shop here.

I always start a project with an image in my head. In this case it included a forsythia bush overhanging a neighborhood made up of stone walls and doorways nestled into moss covered mounds. I drew a thumbnail sketch of the basic composition and printed it out in full scale using Block Posters. Over the 5 months working on Mossy Glen, I used the enlarged drawing as a general guide, not as an exact template.

Faux Moss
About 10 years ago, I fell in love with stitching moss while making my piece Rabbitat, which you can learn about in this film.

Rabbitat 2011

I can’t believe it’s taken so long to get back into embroidering moss. The simple idea of stitching multiple French knots side by side to form a naturalistic ground cover isn’t a new concept, but it reached a heightened level of obsession with Mossy Glen. It’s one of those repetitive activities that has you totally mesmerized.

Out of curiosity, I calculated that each square inch of faux moss contains an average of 144 knots, depending on the thickness of the thread, number of strands and the density of the stitches. That means that Mossy Glen is covered with several thousand knots.

If you follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram, you’ve gotten a preview of the process of making Mossy Glen. Last summer I shared photos and videos of whatever part I was working on that particular day. One constant question was, “How do you stitch on wood?” Back then, I was immersed in the act of creating and didn’t want to switch on the explaining part of my brain. Now, I’m ready to talk about it.

So, how do I stitch onto wood? It helps to think of art is an illusion, that the goal is to make the viewer perceive something in a way that suspends disbelief, like magic. The thing is, people who make stuff are super curious and aren’t satisfied until they can make sense of how something is done.

Here’s the simple rundown – 1. find interesting pieces of wood, 2. glue pieces of felt to the wood, 3. stitch onto the felt. As long as there is something to catch a needle with, you can make stitches. I usually shy away from using glue because it’s messy and unpredictable, but decided to try it for this purpose. Aleene’s glue makes a variety of fabric embellishing adhesives that all work well. Do I use hot glue? No, because it’s stringy, messy, shoddy looking and I don’t trust its holding capabilities.

French knots/Colonial knots
It’s been pointed out by people who know such things, that I’m actually making a Colonial knot, not a French knot. It has something to do with the twist at the end. Being self-taught, I’ve never paid attention to the names of different stitches or doing them the “right” way. I just use the basics in combinations that work for me. Here’s a Stitch Minute video that shows how I stitched the knots.

Stitch Minute – Moss

Thread
To make the moss, I used all kinds of thread, from silk to cotton floss, depending on what kind of look I was after. The naturalistic appearance comes from combining different shades of green in groups of 3 or 4 strands. I used these threads: DMC cotton floss, Vineyard Silks and Watercolours by Caron,

This 2 minute video gives a further glimpse into my process.

Stitching Moss with Salley Mavor

Stay tuned for more posts about making Mossy Glen. Future parts in the series will focus on the stone walls, the cherry trees, the forsythia bush, the embroidered embellishments and the wee folk characters.
Mossy Glen (overview)
Part 1 (moss)
Part 2 (cherry trees)
Part 3 (stone walls)
Part 4 (forsythia)

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

Mossy Glen overview

On this cold January day, I’d like to transport us all to springtime in the Mossy Glen. I began making this new piece in my 4 seasons series last May, just when light green buds started appearing on the maple trees. While I worked on it all summer and into the early fall, I took photos of different stages of the process. As with last year’s winter landscape, Frosty Morning, I will be posting several stories about how I created the different parts for Mossy Glen, from the plants and moss to the little characters frolicking about.

To do that, it’s going to take some adjustment on my part. First off, I’m going to have to turn on the explaining part of my brain, which has been dormant for quite a while. Writing this introductory post and sorting out which photos to include is a way to ease the transition from doing to talking about doing. While I’m in the middle of a project, I give myself over to whatever I’m envisioning and trust that it will work out. I solve each problem as it appears, always keeping the big picture in mind. I don’t try to explain the process, even to myself, for fear of dispelling the magic.

Throughout the months that I was making Mossy Glen, I shared glimpses of my work table on Facebook and/or Instagram. Understandably, my followers were curious about how this or that was made. I gave brief and evasive answers, like “I’ll explain later when it’s finished.” and “Let’s just call it magic.” It’s a tease of sorts, but true to my experience. Now that the piece has been finished for a while, I’m free to go back and review the process with a more analytical eye.

There’s a lot to show and I’m still figuring out how to organize the parts. I’ll be sharing several Stitch Minute videos that give closeup views of me working on different sections of the piece.

I’ll be covering moss-making and stone wall building…

and forsythia blossoming…

and views of constructing the little figures living in the hillside.

I’ll show how I made the cherry trees…

and violets…

and even a mini clothes line.

Please stay tuned for more photos, videos and explanations in the coming weeks.
Part 1 (moss)
Part 2 (cherry trees)
Part 3 (stone walls)
Part 4 (forsythia)
Part 5 (felt and wire leaves)
Part 6 (stitched leaves)

Mossy Glen and Frosty Morning note cards 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

Glancing back, looking forward

All year, I’ve been in full making mode, creating art for no reason other than the pure joy of it. You may ask, “Shouldn’t that be its purpose all along?” Maybe so, but the motivation to make art can take many forms. Throughout my career, I’ve made art to express emotions, shed light on issues and to connect with an audience, as well as more practical reasons, like making money and honoring contracts. This year was going to be less pressure-filled and more spontaneous. And it was, mostly, but it took fending off the strong impulse to assign a purpose to what I was making.

One of the advantages of hand stitching is that it forces you to to slow down and take notice of where you’ve been and where you’re going, artistically speaking. The goal isn’t so much to get it done, but to be immersed in the process, to respond to cues and make adjustments along the way.

4 Seasons Series: Last January, I set out to work solely on a group of seasonal landscapes that capture the wonder and magic of the natural world, both real and imagined. I’ve completed 2 pieces in this series, Frosty Morning and Mossy Glen, which I’ll write about in 2022. I’ve begun a new fall scene and hope to have all 4 seasons finished before 2023. As always, you can follow along and see their progress in real time on Facebook and/or Instagram. 

Frosty Morning and Mossy Glen will be on view in my upcoming retrospective, WHAT A RELIEF: The Art of Salley Mavor at the Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk, ME (June 4 – Sept. 11, 2022). The exhibition will feature a large selection of my artwork, spanning over 40 years, from early on to the present day. Rarely seen works on loan from private collections, as well as pieces I’ve held onto, will fill multiple galleries on the museum’s entire first floor.

See the series of Frosty Morning Posts:
Frosty Morning: Overview
Frosty Morning: Part 1 (trees)
Frosty Morning: Part 2 (branches)
Frosty Morning: Part 3 (shelters)
Frosty Morning: Part 4 (stone wall)
Frosty Morning: Part 5 (sparkles)
Frosty Morning: Part 6 (wee folk)

Heirloom Collections: In keeping with the theme of doing things for no other reason than the joy of it, I spent a good part of the winter going through my collections of spools, buttons, lace and souvenir dolls. On Valentine’s Day, I made a heart shaped assemblage with old wooden spools of thread. Gathering the spools and arranging them took an afternoon, which is a fraction of the time it takes to create a stitched piece. It seems that I either work quickly like this or laboriously over a period of months. Nothing in between. Each way feeds a different part of my creative soul. Even though it wasn’t my intention, the heart image brought out my entrepreneurial spirit and I couldn’t resist having cards and a poster made, which are available in my shop. It will also be made into a puzzle by C&T Publishing sometime in the coming year, if they can solve their supply chain issues.
Heirloom Collection: Wooden Spools of Thread
Heirloom Collection: Buttons

Bedtime Stitches touring exhibition: This past year, the Bedtime Stitches exhibition was shown in Illinois and Massachusetts.
Bedtime Stitches exhibition opens in Illinois
Bedtime Stitches on view at the New England Quilt Museum
In 2022 it will travel to Nebraska, Maine and Minnesota. See the exhibition schedule for the next 3 years here. I’m excited to learn that a fan from Winnipeg, Canada is planning to come south to see the show when it goes to Moorhead, MN in the fall! Please note that those of you from the PNW and western Canada will be able to see my work in Washington State in early 2023. Even though I’m not seeking additional locations by sending out proposals, I’m open to extending the tour beyond 2024. Inquiries from museum curators and directors are welcome.

Bedtime Stitches at the New England Quilt Museum

MY BED Scavenger Hunt: Visitors to the Bedtime Stitches exhibition, as well as those of you at home with a copy of My Bed, can hunt for details in the artwork using the downloadable sheet below. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the book and the hunt are just for kids!

During the summer, lots of folks went to see the Social Fabric Exhibition in Greenville SC. The Upcountry History Museum is turning out to be a great centrally located destination for my southern fans! I’m happy to say that they will be hosting more exhibitions in 2023 and 2024.

Bed Book Peeks: Over the past few years, I’ve published over 50 posts about making the illustrations for my picture book MY BED. This past year, the following posts were added:
Bed Book Peek: Giraffe
Bed Book Peek: Pony
Bed Book Peek: Dog
Bed book Peek: Title Page
My Bed: Night Sky – Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4
My Bed : Home – Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4 , Part 5

Wedding Banner: Katherine and Basil I really enjoyed making this wedding banner for family friends. Next year, I will be making cake toppers for a wedding in the family!

Making My Bed: Rob and I released a short documentary film about creating MY BED. Here’s Rob editing the 8 minute film, which I wrote about here. Watch the film on YouTube.

Coming in 2022! One fun project to come out of this more spontaneous year are the Stitch Minute Videos. They show a minute’s worth of me stitching, so that people can have a close up view of the process. Rob and I have produced a bunch of these little snippets, which I’ve shared on Instagram and Facebook.

Stitch Minute – Chain Stitching Leaf

We arranged a table in the basement, with lights and a camera stand with an extension arm, so everything is set up and ready to go when there’s something new to film. It’s so simple compared to stop-motion animation. And since each video is edited down to 60 seconds or less, the filming is pretty fast. The part I like best is that all I have to do is stitch, without the pressure to explain anything. During the coming year, I’ll be including Stitch Minute Videos when describing various aspects of my work.

Happy New Year and thank you for coming along on my artistic journey. I look forward to sharing more stuff I’m working on, just for the joy of it!

To keep up with new posts, subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). Your contact info will not be shared. If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

MY BED – Home: Part 5

PART 5 – Rooster, Cow, Parrot, Camel, Bunny, Crocodile, Duck, Cat, Pony and Sheep: Today’s post finishes up the “Home” series about making the illustration in My Bed, where all of the animal icons featured throughout the book come together in a child’s bedroom at the end.
Part 1 gives an overview of the page.
Part 2 focuses on the outside architectural details of the cut-away house.
Part 3 takes a peek inside at the furniture and the sleeping child.
Part 4 shows how I made the elephant lamp and goldfish lampshade.

Signed copies of My Bed are available in my shop here. Watch this 8-minute documentary about making the artwork for the book.

First, I want to remind those of you in the New England area that there’s only a short time left (through Dec. 31st, 2021) to see Bedtime Stitches at the New England Quilt Museum! The touring exhibition of original bas-relief embroidered artwork for the book will then travel to the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, NE, Jan. 25 – April 10, 2022. See the the full schedule of participating museums here.

Bedtime Stitches exhibition at the New England Quilt Museum

It was so much fun to find ways to cram all of the animals into the child’s bedroom – overhead and underfoot, hanging on the wall, resting on the windowsill and crowding the bed. I like to think of these mini versions as souvenirs from the places around the world where the book travels. As you can see, my interior design style is anything but minimalist.

Some of the animals are depicted in portrait form, such as the rooster and the cow.

The parrot took flight…

and the sheep emerged through french knots and chain stitches.

I shrunk the crocodile to about half it’s size. You’d think it would be tedious, but I relish this kind of thing. I like figuring out how to reduce the scale, while preserving what makes something or someone identifiable.

The crocodile was a last minute addition due to some editorial adjustments, but luckily there was room to fit him on the bed.

We filmed this little animation before the crocodile was added.

There were other changes, too. Both the larger and mini versions of the camel had to undergo plastic surgery, when a follower pointed out that African camels are the dromedary or one-hump type, which shows sloppy research on my part. So, I transformed this guy’s two-humps into one! Luckily this all happened while I was still making the illustrations, so it could be fixed before the artwork was photographed for the book.

The cat and bunny look like they’re dressed in Halloween costumes! I made them using a scaled down version of the wrapped wire method I teach in Felt Wee Folk.

This sweet little Mongolian pony completes the 5 part series about making the “Home” page for MY BED. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this glimpse behind the scenes at my process.
Part 1 gives an overview of the page.
Part 2 focuses on the outside architectural details of the cut-away house.
Part 3 takes a peek inside at the furniture and the sleeping child.
Part 4 shows how I made the elephant lamp and goldfish lampshade.

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

MY BED – Home: Part 4

PART 4 – Elephant Lamp and Goldfish Lampshade: Today’s post shows how I made the elephant lamp and goldfish lampshade in the child’s bedroom scene at the end of my picture book, My Bed.
Part 1 gives an overview of the page.
Part 2 focuses on the outside architectural details of the cut-away house.
Part 3 takes a peek inside at the furniture and the sleeping child.
Part 5 is about all of the other animal icons represented in the scene.

Signed copies of My Bed are available in my shop here. Watch this 8-minute documentary about making the artwork for the book.

My original idea for this illustration was to show a universal child sleeping in bed, surrounded by stuffed toys that looked like the animal icons featured throughout the book. I soon realized that the bed and floor around it wouldn’t accommodate all of the animals, so I came up with other ways spread them around the room.

The sturdy elephant turned into a lamp base and the goldfish ended up swimming around a sea blue lampshade. The goldfish icon first appears on the text panel in the Japanese spread in the book.

To make the lampshade, I appliqued an embroidered felt goldfish head and tail onto a piece of blue felt.

I added a felt back piece and edged the front and back with wire on the top and bottom. That way, it would stick out and stay curved like a real shade.

For the lamp base, I shrunk the elephant down to about 1/2 the size of the spot illustration on the text panel on the Indian page of the book.

To make the armature, I bent a pipe cleaner and threaded one end through a wooden bead. The bead would become the head and the pipe cleaner extension would form the trunk.

Then I wrapped the pipe cleaner trunk with embroidery floss, covering the fuzzies like the dolls’ arms and legs are made in my how-to book Felt Wee Folk.

I sewed pieces of felt inside the body to fill in the void and give it bulk.

I then covered the bead head and body with pieces of felt. It’s been a few years, so I can’t remember exactly how this part was done, but I remember that it was rather fussy. I probably used 2 separate pieces for the front and back of the body and the head.

You can see the difference in scale between the 2 elephants in the photo of my work table below. They’re like the mother and baby elephant in my first children’s book, The Way Home.

Replicating the blanket at 1/2 size was also fussy, but at least it was flat!

Wouldn’t it be fun to have a full size version of this lamp, with the elephant made out of clay or wood and a painted goldfish swimming around the shade?

Stay tuned for more posts about the other animals in this scene.

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

MY BED – Home: Part 3

PART 3 – Furniture: This series is about making the illustration at the end of my picture book, My Bed, where all of the animal icons from around the world come together in a child’s bedroom. Part 1 gives an overview of the scene and Part 2 focuses on the outside architectural details of the cut-away house. Today’s post will take a peek inside, at the furniture and the sleeping child. Coming up next in Part 4, I’ll show how I made the elephant lamp and fish lampshade.

Signed copies of My Bed can be ordered in my shop here. Watch this 8-minute documentary about making the artwork for the book.

The giraffe on the text panel found its way here after it was bumped from the Ghanaian page. To read about the giraffe gaffe which caused the switchover, go to this previous post.

For this scene, I rendered the giraffe in a different form, as a chain stitched image “painted” on the side of a chest of drawers.

To make the chest look like a wood paneled piece of furniture, I created layers of felt, including a cut out frame and a backing piece of a slightly lighter shade of green. Then, I outlined the frame with blanket stitching and basted the 2 pieces on top of one another.

I chain stitched a simple outline of a giraffe and filled it in with more chain stitches and satin stitched spots. For eyes, I combed through my glass bead supply until I found 2 of the tiniest black ones

After adding a branch and leaves, I sewed wire around the outside edge to give the panel more structure. And for extra emphasis, I went over every edge and corner with a darker shade of green embroidery floss.

To help visually anchor the corners, I sewed on jump rings, covering the metal with embroidery floss. I added a felt top, bead drawer pulls and bead legs.

Creating a side view of the bed frame came next. It’s made with carved bone beads from Africa that I found at a bead show years ago.

Because I wanted every child looking at the page to feel a connection to the character in the illustration, I intentionally made them non-specific by gender or race. I also wanted the house and bedroom to convey a warm and playful sense of “home” that could be imagined anywhere.

Since the child was going to be tucked under the covers, I only had to make the top half of their body. The figure is based on the dolls in my in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk.

While picking out colors and patterns for the child’s clothes and bed spread, I was keenly aware of how easy it is to fall for pink = girl and blue = boy stereotypes. After much consideration, I chose striped orange pajamas and a starry purplish night sky bed covering.

I embroidered the stars with gold metallic thread, which for me is a material of last resort. Even though synthetic thread is icky to work with, it provided the shine I wanted.

Once the child was safely tucked into bed, I started making the different renditions of the animal icons featured throughout the book. Coming up next in Part 4, I’ll show how I made the elephant lamp and fish lampshade. After that, I’ll write about the other animals in the room.

Bedtime Stitches, the touring exhibition of original 3-dimensional artwork for the book is at the  New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA through Dec. 31, 2021 and will be at the International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, NE Jan. 25 – April 10, 2022. See the the full schedule here.

Bedtime Stitches at the New England Quilt Museum

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

MY BED – Home: Part 2

PART 2 – Architecture: This series is about making the illustration at the end of my new picture book, My Bed. It’s a cut-away view of a sleeping child, surrounded by souvenir animals from the places around the world that the book travels through. Looking at it now, the child’s one room house filled with animals reminds me of a favorite children’s book character, Pippi Longstocking, who lived an exciting self-sustaining life with a monkey and a horse. Of course, My Bed is a completely different kind of story, but those kind of connections make perfect sense to me.

Signed copies of My Bed can be ordered in my shop here. Watch this 8-minute documentary about the book.

Today, the focus will be on how I put together the outside architectural elements of the house, including the doorway and the roof. Everything was made with wool felt, with wire reinforcements.

As always, I blanket stitched around the outside edge of each felt piece. My motto could be, “When in doubt, blanket stitch.” The little dashes all lined up make the different parts stand out, like crosshatching with a pen. I added a layer of wire around the outside, giving the felt some stability, so it wouldn’t be too floppy. You can’t see the wire because it’s covered with brown whip stitches. Then, I decorated the felt “board” with a chain stitched curvy line.

This is the roof section, which I built up to about 1/2″ with layers of felt. I wanted to create a 3-dimensional structure that clearly separated the outside from the inside space.

To make roof tiles, I sewed together a line of rough cut shell beads.

Then, I sewed the string of beads along the rooftop and crowned the top with a clay bead.

The door is made with 2 layers of felt, all blanket stitched. My goal was to soften the hard edges and make the building parts look sturdy and wobbly all at the same time.

The door knocker is a hook and a bead and the door knob is button and a bead.

I made the light out of a hook, a bead and some kind of bobble I’ve had for ages.

Now that we’ve looked at the outside, let’s take a peek inside next time, shall we?

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

MY BED – Home: Part 1

PART 1 – Overview: For the past few years, I’ve shared the process of making the 3-dimensional embroidered illustrations for my newest picture book, MY BED. The book has been out for a year and the Bedtime Stitches touring exhibition of the original artwork is well underway. So, I’d like to pick up where I left off last year and continue to show what goes into doing this kind of work. Posts I’ve written in the Bed Book Peek series so far are listed here.

The Bedtime Stitches touring exhibition is at the  New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA through Dec. 31, 2021 and will be at the International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, NE Jan. 25 – April 10, 2022. See the the full schedule here. Visitors often ask, “How did she make all of this in one year?”. It’s confusing because all of the pieces are consistently embroidered with the date 2020 on the border. Even though I worked on it over a 3 year period, the project was completed when it was published as a book in 2020.

Signed copies of My Bed can be ordered in my shop here. Watch this 8 minute documentary about how I created the illustrations for the book.

HOME – Near the end of the story, the illustration shows a child in bed, when it’s almost time to go to sleep. All of the animal icons from the different places featured throughout the book are gathered together in a snug little bedroom. I felt it was important to depict a universal child, who wasn’t clearly identifiable by gender or race, whom any child being read to could identify with. I also wanted the house to convey a warm and playful sense of “home” that could be imagined anywhere.

You can find out more about the Animal Icon spot illustrations in these previous posts – Rooster, Camel, Parrot, Elephant, Goldfish, Cat, Duck, Sheep, Rabbit, Cow, Crocodile, Giraffe, Dog, Pony.

To begin, I enlarged the thumb nail sketch to full scale and used it as a template. The drawing provided a general layout of the house and tree, but once I started making the animals, they took over and pretty much determined what the interior arrangement would be.

I worked on one double-page spread at a time. The background and parts accumulated on an old ironing board that served as an extra working surface. When I needed to press a piece of felt, the iron was right there.

Rob set up a camera and lights on top of the table, so we could make a little animated film before I sewed all of the parts together.

This is what it looks like when you compress 6 weeks into 9 seconds.

There’s is so much to show about making this scene that I’m going to write several posts focusing on different parts, including the animals, the child and architectural details. Stay tuned for more!