Category: thanks

dioramas at squam

diorama detail

If you visit here often you know that June was mostly a traveling and teaching month for me beginning with a diorama class at Squam. It’s a fun class to teach and I always learn a bunch too, in preparing as well as the class experience. There is always magic in that class. The magic in people who show up for it and experiment, magic in that forest, and always in that gathering.

play house gathering at squam

It continues to be one of my most favorite places.  Elizabeth Duvivier invented Squam and she invented me as a teacher.  She was willing to give it a shot so I was too. Teaching continues to change and expand me like nothing else. The students this spring experimented and stretched, were open and willing and supported each other, I loved being part of it.

charming assemblage figure

diorama detail - antique bottle with lichen

squam diorama figure

diorama detail

Gathering things for this class is an adventure and I love having permission to roam around and acquire lots of lovely old things to share. Things I feel some spirit in. And there is also so much to find in that giant oak forest.  After class I like to wander around and look for the intersection of real and make believe that intrigues me so much.

tiny rag doll in the forest

a little hand stitched toadstool in a big forest

P S – I’ll be back at Squam this fall and I’m in the planning stages for 2019 workshops now and will be headed South for the first time. I’m rolling ideas around for that – what would you like Southern friends?

an anniversary, getting deeply organized and lovely things made by customers

sewing projects made from ann wood handmade patterns

It’s March and there is so much to celebrate.  The mushroom print pattern and kit are in the shop and it is the12th anniversary of this experiment. To mark the occasion I’ve shared some lovely things made from my patterns by customers, but first I want to talk to you about storage.

My place is small and I’ve got a lot of fabric. It is mostly in one big (ikea) shelf stored in cardboard file boxes. The storage shelf had to be taken apart after the big crash and I never got it back in shape.  Besides being depressing to look at it had also become a giant time waster. I pulled it all out and thought about it. The first thing I did was toss the lids. I don’t need them and the boxes fit perfectly without them, like drawers.

ikea shelves and file boxes for fabric

Most of the labels got lost in all the moving around. I’ve tried a bunch of stuff, hang tags, clothespins, writing on the box with chalk and have not been thrilled with any of it.  I was going to use chalkboard stickers this time but remembered  something I bought years ago and never used,  little metal book plate labels from Martha Stewart.

marth steart book plate labels for my fabric boxes

They are perfect. How much joy can a fancy box label bring? So much. They are just right and  feel so official. I googled them and you can still find them in lots of places including Staples. It’s such a big improvement over the chaos I’ve been working with and looking at.

customer images

tiny rag doll

The doll above is made from the tiny rag doll pattern with wonderful added details and modifications to her wardrobe by Annette (@nessienews). I love everything about her. I want to follow her and spy on her adventures in the forest. 

One of the biggest and best decisions I made in my 12 years of experimenting here was to share patterns. It was such a leap and required and requires a giant amount of learning.  It has turned my experiment into an almost rational enterprise that continues to grow and I continue to be interested in it and happy in the process of creating the patterns and kits (there are lots more coming).  And I love seeing what you make.  I selected a few other customer images to share here and If you like you can see more and share your own on instagram using #annwoodhandmade

And you’ll  find others under: #annwood  #tinyragdoll  #mrsocks  #annwoodpatterns

stitched mushrooms

mr. socks tiny cat ragdoll

handmade goat doll

mr. socks and a little owl

little felt boat and mouse pirate

tiny rag doll

hand stitched toadstools

tiny rag doll

As always, thanks so much for showing up,

ann

5 things that are bringing me joy, boats and a goat

a boston fern and a handmade goat

5 simple things,  that made me happy this week:

sewing in bed

1. Sewing in bed. It’s become a regular thing in the morning. I sew by hand for an hour or so and drink lots of coffee.

2. Getting rid of stuff. Lightening my load.  I spent a whole day this week making space and letting go of things.  I plan to do more this weekend. The spring cleaner in me has awakened early this year.

a boston fern and a handmade goat

3. A boston fern. I’ve been walking by it in the supermarket for weeks, watching it get sadder and sadder. I could not take it anymore and shelled out the $12.99 and brought it home. I did not have high hopes for it but it has made a marvelous recovery. I love plants and I’m happy I did this fern a solid, wish I had done it sooner.

handmade goat in gingham with felt horns

stiched goat with embroidered features

4. Finishing stuff.  All of a sudden a bunch of things I’ve been working on forever are almost done. I spent the morning (in bed) finishing this little goat, stitching sail edges and adding patches and details to owl captains.

hand stitched sails

handmade owls

paper mache ships with owl captains

I’ll take the official photos of the ships next week. They just need flags and wind in to their sails.

cordless iron

5. And finally this old iron. So much joy. I have never felt like this about an iron before. It has been a bad year for irons, this is my fourth and I love it. It was free, a serendipitous meeting, and I never would have chosen a cordless iron but it turns out I love the cordlessness. And it gives excellent steam and the surface of the plate is beautiful, it glides.

What little thing made you happy this week? Do you love your iron? What are you making? Do you sew in bed?

book give away : stitch illo – upper case encyclopedia of inspiration

ann wood : stitch - illo

The winner is  – number 330 – there will be an email coming your way shortly Annie L!

Janine Vangool (upper case magazine) makes beautiful things. I’m happy to be included in the latest volume of her Encyclopedia of Inspiration series – Stitch-Illo. It’s a collection of artists who tell stories through stitch work.

ann wood : stitch - illo

The stories I tell with the things I make are sometimes very direct –  like little birds who camp and put on plays.

More often I think of them as little mysteries – open ended questions – magical possibilities – ships that might float right in your window like a moth or a bit of dandelion fluff. Creatures whose expression and body language imply a history – a world of their own.

textile art owls

It’s a big book – and there is a huge variety of techniques and of the ways narratives are used by the 46 artists featured.  There are several pages devoted to each and 600 color photos, some of my favorite artists are included- like Adriana Torres.

stitch illo : adriana torres

I’m also discovering beautiful work that’s brand new to me.

stitch illo : julie van wezemael

And here’s the fun part – I have one to give away. Everybody is welcome and I’ll make it super easy – just pick a number between one and five hundred and leave it in the comments. I’ll announce a winner next Thursday.

*Update –  Comments are closed now – I’ll announce the winner (chosen by random number generation) and the winner will be announced later today.

lovely feature in Maries Ideer magazine

an wood

Welcome,  good people of Denmark!  I had an intriguing conversation with writer Katrine Sivkær Pettersen around Christmas last year  and the resulting article appears in the March / April edition of Maries Ideer Magazine. We talked a lot about creativity, imagination and papermache – 3 of my favorite subjects and there are lots of photos.

annwood : maries ideer magazine

A side benefit of photographing my place for an article is that I have to spiff it up pretty thoroughly  – nothing like a credible threat for motivation – and the resulting tidyness has  pretty much stuck.  There are a few photos from the December shoot below.

ann wood : studio

ann wood : studio

an wood

ann wood : studio

The photo above looks like I have ghosts floating around doesn’t it? I would not be surprised – or it might be a smudged  lens filter….. Probably ghosts.

annwood : maries ideer magazine

And there is a tutorial! For a little paper mache boat – just big enough for a tiny rag doll.  It’s all in Danish but each step is illustrated with a photo so I think you could accomplish it without understanding the text.  I’m not sure where it might be available in the US  – but I will inquire and update here.

spectacular cloth – 18th century textiles

vermeer yellow textiles

crimson antique textiles

Can you imagine – the hands that wove and embroidered them, the rooms they decorated and moved through?  I am mesmerized by these textiles – most from the 1700’s – the vermeer yellow velvets below are 17th or 18th century – the goldenrod piece with gold lame roses is French 19th century.

vermeer yellow textiles

 antique textiles

antique blue textiles

The colors are intense and I wish you could feel the texture – the weaves are thick and tight. I wondered if they would be sewable and they are – amazing. They came as a complete surprise –  I have remarkably good luck in the fabric department  – this was an incredibly generous gift from Trish Allen  of Trouvais  – a collector’s shop of rare and special early textiles – lovely, inspiring treasures – the antique ballet costumes – oh my.

18th century textiles

The box has been here for weeks and I take them all out and look at them almost everyday.  I only photographed a few things today – I might show you some more tomorrow – along with a new creature I’m working on. I started my first project today – a french blue songbird made from an embroidered 18th century silk.  Next will be mosquitos and I think something botanical.

And speaking of songbirds – a new crew of Fortuny birds – here they are discussing some important songbird issues.

fortuny songbirds

fortuny songbirds

advanced beginner : ten years of blogging

paper birds 2006

songbirds 20016

Ten Years!

This February marks the ten year anniversary of my blog. 10 years of trying stuff and sharing it.

Posting my efforts and experiments has made me braver and continues to help me push myself to keep moving, take chances, and get over myself. And I love having a record – evidence of small consistent effort over a long period of time, evidence of growth, a catalog of moments and sensations I would have forgotten. It is also a catalog of missteps. I looked through the entire blog over the last couple days – I never have before – and a lot of it makes me cringe. Not even just the really old stuff. There is a shocking amount of things I felt good about at the time that I see now as terribly flawed or awkward. Part of me wants to edit that all out but that is not the spirit of this effort – the spirit of this effort is reaching and sometimes reaching is flawed and awkward. In all of it that is what means the most to me – I tried stuff and I will continue to try stuff and share it. I’m deeply motivated by the idea that my best work is always ahead of me – I feel like I’ve barely gotten started.

To mark the occasion I chose a photo from each year to share in this post – some are images I loved, or times when I felt like I got somewhere new and some are just little moments I’m glad were preserved. Some of the images remind me of collaborators I was lucky to have and people who have been showing up here for the entire ten years – I am truly touched and grateful for that.

Beginning with 2006 – paper birds.

paper birds 2006

2007  –  the ginger rose

the ginger rose 2007

2008 – snapshots from Camp Wapameo for Birds

camp wapameo (for birds) 2008

2009 – diorama/illustration – theater

diorama 2009

Read More

very nice mice : pattern and instructions (and it’s free!)

very nice mice pattern

little green mouse

I’ve made you something! A free sewing pattern for some very nice mice. You can download the pattern here and all the instructions are below. So little – just 3 inches tall.  They are quick and very easy. And they love to go boating – they are the perfect size to captain my little felt boats.

very nice mice : sewing pattern

boating

nice mice supplies

pattern notes:

I designed this pattern specifically for hand sewing and felt.  The seam allowance of 1/8 inch is included.  I recommend  small, tight, straight stitches with cotton thread.

material list:

pdf pattern

felt ( wool or wool blend)

matching sewing thread ( I think cotton works best)

embroidery thread

stuffing ( I like wool)

pencil or disappearing fabric marker and – optionally – pink colored pencil

sewing and embroidery needles ( a sturdy sewing needle is helpful for sewing through multiple layers of felt)

pins

chopstick for turning and stuffing

mice_1_2

1. Cut one back and two side pieces from felt.

2. Mark both side pattern pieces with the guide dots on the pattern.

mice_3_4

3. Cut out the small pieces – I used a lighter scrap of felt for the tummy oval (textured wool or cotton is nice too).

4.  Stitch the side pieces together from the tip of the nose to the bottom guide mark –  your stitches should be an 1/8th of an inch from the edge of the felt.

mice_5_6

5. Optional – use a colored pencil to add a little pink to the ears.

6. Open the side pieces you sewed together.

mice_7_8

7. Place the top of the back piece (the narrow end) in the center, matching the top edges. Insert the needle 1/8th of an inch from the top coming out  on one side of the center seam (the side you intend to sew first). Make one tiny stitch and knot tightly.

8.  Turn the back piece to one side and begin to match the edges and sew the seam-following the curve and  maintaining an even 1/8 inch seam allowance.

mice_9_10

9.  Stop sewing and knot your thread just before the pattern guide dot on the side piece – leave there needle and thread attached.

10. Fold the bottom of an ear together – with the pink inside.

Read More

holiday survey results

grandma moses birds

grandma moses birds

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the mini holiday ornament survey – I’m so glad I asked!

The questions were:

When should holiday patterns be available?

Is there a particular ornament you would like?

And do you prefer kits or downloads?

Regarding timing there were equally strong opinions for early and not too early. A lot of responders do not want to hear the word Christmas until October at the earliest but I was surprised at how many people answered July or June – about 1/3 of responders. That ship has sailed for this year ( I’m shooting for mid September) but I’ll keep it in mind going forward. If you are somebody that likes to start early there are three patterns from last year available – a little boat, a whale and a bird.

The overwhelming majority of responders would love to see woodland creatures and nature/ botanical inspired things. You’re forest people like me! I love it. There will be a woodland creature ornament pattern coming your way soon and for now the little mushroom pattern makes a great ornament. Just add a hanging string and I love using wool scraps for ornament fungi.

mushroom ornament

On the question of kits or downloads – downloads win by a landslide.  But you would like to see some hard to find or specialty materials available as an optional purchase – great idea! I’m on it.  If you’d like an email when new patterns or supplies are available you can join the mailing list here.

I also learned that I have incredibly kind readers. There was email after lovely email with marvelous ideas and insights and in addition to the survey responses personal notes that stunned me with their care and thoughtfulness.  Thank you – I appreciated every word.

brutus magazine and my mother’s dresses

brutus magazine : ann wood

You may recall some months ago I was in a frenzy getting ready for a magazine shoot here.  I am very, very pleased and excited to be included in Brutus Magazine’s New York Makers feature.  Brutus is a Japanese culture magazine – it is always exquisite.  It was shot by  Yoko Takahashi and written by David G. Imber and Mika Yoshida – who made this happen for me – I’m truly grateful.

brutus magazine : ann wood

Seeing my Mother’s sewing machine in the feature made me think about what a long and interesting life it has had and how much she would have loved that. If you had known my Mother you would understand exactly where all those little birds came from.  She collected fabric for me – before I knew I wanted it – and I saved many of her dresses and scrap bags and still sew from them ( she had excellent taste). In honor of Mother’s day I put together a little collection of some of things I have made over the last nine years or so from my Mother’s dresses.

textile art bat

textile art songbird

handmade fabric bird
paper mache ship
handmade little bird

maude_2

the makerie workshop and sweet paul magazine

sweet paul magazine

I spent last weekend in Philadelphia teaching at the sweet Paul Makerie. I came home equally spent and inspired. The whole Makerie experience was fabulous – fascinating people, spectacular class line up (I would have loved to take all of them) and it had Sweet Paul all over it – every detail thoughtful and exquisite.

I taught Stitched Botanicals – seed pod forms in textiles. Teaching is new to me and I feel my feet under me more each time. I had wonderful, generous, open students – willing and enthusiastic about trying stuff – I was blown away with what people made.

botanical textile art

botanical textile art at the sweet paul makerieGetting out of my cozy bubble once in a while is so good for me, this was, among other things, a gathering of like minded women, there was such a feeling of belonging and I learned a ton. I came home with a bunch of new ideas and feeling like my world got bigger.

makerie students

I’ve been a huge fan of Sweet Paul since he began way back in olden times (I make this mushroom dill sauce almost every week). Before the magazine there was a blog and then a digital magazine and now the gorgeous quarterly print magazine.

sweet paul magazine

 

sweet paul magazine

It’s exceptional – the kind of thing you save. Paul came to visit last October and I’m featured in the current edition. I couldn’t be more excited – there is an interview and pictures of my place and work. It was shot by Colin Cooke whom I loved. I’m terribly awkward about having my picture taken and he taught me a fabulous technique I call “laughing to the side” – check it out in the feature or see it employed on my about page.

victoria magazine

Every year Victoria Magazine chooses a small group of women entrepreneurs  to acknowledge in it’s January/February issue. I always look forward to it and I was surprised and flattered when they asked to include me this year.  That’s me – top row, second from the left!victoria_mag_2

You can find the magazine on news stands and bookstores etc. and it’s also available in digital form here.

victoria magazine

I truly appreciate the encouragement  and acknowlgement.  I can hardly believe it was almost 9 years ago that I sort of accidentally began this.  It has changed and evolved over the years in ways I could not have predicted. I think this year in particular is going to be very interesting – I’ve got all sorts of plans: I’m excited about the weekly creativity posts I started this week.  I’m also launching a mini email newletter  this week (the first goes out this Thursday). I’ve got new patterns in the works and personal projects I’m moving forward this year. And just so you know – I still make lots and lots of birds – this is the first large group of the new year – headed for BHLDN.

cake topper birds

so long 2014

One more post for 2014, and on one of my favorite subjects – the magical occurence of an unexpected package at my door. A surprise from Sri Threads.

sri textiles

 

srie textiles

I love every bit of it and I have a sort of ceremonious way of opening these packages – I go slow- each thing revealing itself, my wheels start to turn and the generosity and thoughtfulness wash over me.  It’s such a beautiful  gift. I’m planning some new botanical experiments inspired by this sheer saffron net- and already made  a few new toadstools – the last of the year. I see owls and songbirds too.

sri toadstool

I hope 2014 was good to you and wish you the best in the brand  new year.

the other side and sri threads

It has happened – my blog has moved – I am on the other side.  I think having everything in one place is a much better and so much simpler solution and I made lots of other improvements that were overdue  like secure on-site  credit card payments in the shop, an overall better shop experience and backend-wise everything is a lot more user friendly for me.  I moved over labor day weekend. Sarah Bailey of Spun Monkey handled everything for me and I would be lost without her – if you use wordpress you need her – can’t say enough good things about working with Sarah.

For the first post at my new blog address one of my favorite subjects: beautiful textiles from  Sri Threads.  A box arrive a little bit ago  (they are always unannounced and unexpected)  filled with inspiring treasures gathered by Stephen Szczepanek .  I love unpacking the boxes – I make coffee, and put on music, (Johnny Cash for this box) I go very, very slowly and linger over each intriguing thing – thinking of what I might make.

sri_textiles_1

sri textiles

I’m not sure what the piece above is – a  cuff I think – I love the shape and the metal closure tabs.

sri flannels

The flannel pieces above are wonderful – the textures and the colors are so striking. There are also some wonderfully textured cream and ivory pieces of heavy cotton – perfect for the pale owl and white rat I’ve been wanting to make. All this color is perfect for toadstools too.

sri mushroom

I’m making some little toadstools to take to Squam next week. We’ll be making toadstools in my botanical class and I’ll have some for sale at the Art Fair on Saturday ( at very special fair prices). I’m also bringing paper mache ships – if you’ve been thinking about trying the pattern and you’re in the neighborhhod come by and say hi and check them out.

Update: the little mushroom pattern is now available in the shop.

Sri Mushroom Specimens

Occasionally, and always unexpectedly, a package magically appears in my vestibule from Sri Threads.  They always inexplicably contain exactly what I need at that moment and things I couldn’t even dream of – all thoughtfully collected by the brilliant eye of Stephen Szczepanek. When a package appears I make tea and put on music and spend way more time than necessary  unpacking and examining – it is such an incredible gift. The textiles  are remarkable in color and texture and history – bits of eccentric mending and exquisite wear and patina that bring qualities to whatever I make that just pass through me – that is such  a particular sensation – an ideal.

eccentric mending

I think the magical and thoughtful way they come to me brings a certain spirit to  the objects as well -they spring from  a wonderful set of circumstances I did not and  could not invent – happenstance is magic.

This weekend I finished a group of 12 little experiments made  from Sri treasures – each numbered and signed ( the numbered series will close at 100).

sri threads mushroom specimens

I’ll finish photographing them today and add them to the shop tomorrow 3/4.

Update: if you would like to make your own mushroom specimen you can find the pattern here.