Category: thanks

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

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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.

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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. I’m not sure if it’s available in the US just yet – I’ll update here when I know more.

brutus magazine : ann woodSeeing 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.

little thing magazine

little thing magazine

I’m so pleased to be featured in “Little Thing”  (China) magazine .  It’s a beautiful issue – all about mushrooms!

The article features some of  my early things – when I was just beginning and it’s nice to visit those ideas again. You can see the interview here.

And right next door to my interview is another with The Fabulous Mister Finch!

The magazine  is beautifully put together – there is even a pop up.

And  in keeping with the fungi  theme I’ll leave you with a little preview  of  a Sri Threads mushroom I’m working on.

sri textiles

sri textiles

Stephen Szczepanek  of Sri Threads has fabulous timing and he’s also pretty psychic about what I might be needing.  His packages are always a surprise and they always seem to turn up at a moment when I’m in need of  a boost.

This gorgeous collection of scraps turned up a few days ago and I’ve already begun a mini collection of  Sri toadstools,  little owls and spiders. Please join the shop mailing list if you would like to be notified when this collection is available.

You can see more of Stephen’s treasures  on his blog and the Sri Threads facebook  page.

thanks

seashell folkseashell folk, off to celebrate

Thanks to everybody who showed up for the shop update yesterday – I’ll be packing everything up this weekend and getting things on their way right after the holiday. I’m working on things for Tuesday’s owl and ship update ( there will be one more songbird too) – here are some things in progress:

pale pink songbird

This is the bodice it’s made from- I bought it years ago and have been using bits of it ever since.

antique pink bodice

A  grey owl – fabrics courtesy of Sri Threads.

sri grey owl

And a pair of turn of the century wool swim bloomers I’m about to turn into an owl.

antique swim bloomers

I got them for next to nothing – the seat is terribly moth eaten. The fabric is wonderful- weight, shade, fading , texture – everything ideal.  Also, in the unlikely category,  technically, I’ve just posted a picture of myself on the internet in a bathing suit.

the new artisans

I can hardly believe I’m included in this book – it is magnificent in every way. I think Olivier Dupon has created something very special.  In less expert hands this wealth of  information might  have been overwhelming or the spirit could have been lost but Olivier presents it with simplicity and real elegance – you are never distracted from the central idea: that this is a book about love of craft, process and materials or Olivier’s true affection for the subject.

Find the book: http://www.thamesandhudsonusa.com/new/fall11/551585.htm

on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-New-Artisans/108346249261751

Olivier’s blog:  http://dossier37.tumblr.com/

the new artisans

the new artisans

the new artisans

“This book captures the new mood – a return to a preference for the unique and the handmade. Design expert and acclaimed blogger Olivier Dupon has sourced the cream of the contemporary design world from all over Europe, Australia and the United States, profiling 75 artisans who use craft techniques, rather than mass-production methods, to create stylish, whimsical, covetable objects. Hundreds of colour photographs feature a huge variety of crafts, including art, ceramics, furniture, glasswork, jewelry, lighting, metalwork, papercraft, textiles and woodwork. Complete with a directory of products, and Dupon’s personal recommendations for inspiring shops and websites to visit, this is the perfect resource for discovering unique and beautiful objects made by new, talented artisans from all around the world.”

paper mache teacup pattern

paper mache teacup

A paper mache teacup pattern to  mark the 5 year anniversary of my blog, my experiment.   A  perfect time to say thank you and give you a present.

There is a template you can download here.  And lots and lots of photos and instructions.  If you do make teacups I’d love to see and you can upload a photo here if you like or leave a link to your photo in the comment section below.

ann wood teacups

What you need:

  • Click here to download the template
  • paste –  I use golden harvest wheat paste ( wall paper paste)
  • light cardboard – cereal or frozen pizza box is great and a bit of thicker cardboard for a base
  • newspaper – it’s nice to have different colors
  • scotch tape ( not the invisible gift wrap  stuff- the shiny sticky stuff)
  • glue – elmers, glue stick, hot glue  – whatever you like
  • pencil, scissors, exacto knife, and paint and brushes, glitter, fabric – whatever you’d like for decoration.

Click the photos for larger images.

Cut out the templates for the teacup, handle and bottom  and trace them onto your cardboard. I had the best results with a Kashi frozen pizza box.  Cut out your pieces and  very lightly and  gently score the the teacup where the dotted lines are on the template with the BACK of your exacto knife.

Make a very  tiny snip  – really tiny -just a 16th of an inch or so where the sections meet. Next bring the bottom sections together one at a time and tape together on the outside (the printed side). Then turn it over and taper the bottom inside.  Do this for each section – always taping both sides…….

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