brutus magazine and my mother’s dresses

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

make your own birds

Find the pattern for the little birds here and the merry wobblers here.

handmade little bird



  1. oh i am so tickled that my beautiful bird is made from one of your mother’s dresses….congrats on the magazine too…

    • annwood

      Thanks so much Jean – which do you have the blue or the brown?

      • i have the brown shown with the acorn chapeau and green wooly scarf

  2. love the bat. Are you still making bats? Sooooo really want one. Please let me know how I can have one of my own.
    Your work helps me on my path toward self expression. If I feel down and disheartened about my level of skill or that my work is equal to a non-talented 3rd grader, I look at one of your blogs and see the beauty you create and I feel inspired to aim way higher and move forward. Never mind that I won’t reach your degree of expertise – somehow it comforts me and as I said ‘inspires’ me.

    • annwood

      Thank you lyn. The older I get the less enamored I am of skill and am far more intrigued with heart and expression – it’s more and more what I’m after. And bats – I love them too but man-they are hard on the hands – there is one in the shop – hopefully more soon:

  3. Tierney Barden

    What a lovely tribute to your mom. The power of cloth. 🙂
    You mentioned licorice tea a few posts back, and I was intrigued. It’s now among my favorites, thank you very much!

    • annwood

      Isn’t it that best? And kind of kills a sugar craving – a freind introduced me to it a couple years ago.

  4. Winter is closing in on us down here in Macedon, Victoria, Australia and as well as understanding and agreeing with the above comments, I am looking forward to beginning my first boat. I’ll be using someone’s mother’s linen hankies for the sails!
    My 3 year old grandson, Odin, is fascinated with the little magenta dragon called, Erigon, that I was inspired to make from Jonni Good’s website and I know he will love your little boat sailing in his room. Thanks Ann for the continued inspiration.

  5. I think it is lovely to have beautiful pieces made from your mothers dresses. My mother is 91 this year and I cherish all the time we spend together. My father passed away nearly three years ago and it leaves such a huge whole in your life. I have some of his wool vests and a sweater and I love seeing them in the wardrobe.
    Kind wishes

  6. I have read your article on BRUTUS Magazine in Japan.
    I am really impressed your artworks!

  7. Such a beautiful line up of talent and in such lovely and sentimental fabrics. ♥

  8. Ann, I’ve made your wonderful mushrooms for a dear friend, who just loves them – a truly cool collection. Another friend is Catholic and devoted to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Do you have any patterns, by chance, that would be adaptable for me to be able to make a Mary for her? I have plenty of fabrics, plenty of organic wool stuffing, plenty of fibers for embroidery and such.
    Any advice would be wonderful. Thanks so much – I so enjoy your blog and stories and love the recipes. I just wrote out on my grocery list what I needed for the spring potato salad! I’m also a plant-based cook and eater! Thanks!

  9. Oh Ann, thank you for sharing this. I cried. My mother died 36 years ago when I was 21 and I still have one of her dresses. I think it is time to make some little birds from it or me and my sisters. Everything you make is so lovely and inspiring. Thank you so much for what you do. You bring more beauty to the world.

  10. Linda Clary Caldwell

    I hope you make a dog to go with your cat. I will make your cat for my 5 year old great granddaughter, Fynnlee. However, I neec a dog to make for her sister and my 3 year old great granddaughter Tilley. They each love anything their Nan makes for them because they know how much I love them. Your work is exceptional.

  11. I can understand your feelings about fabric and it’s past life. New fabrics leave me cold – give me shirt fabric worn by my Dad, a scrap of 1930’s velvet, a fragment of a beaded Victorian bodice or a piece of cotton from a kaftan I wore on holiday under so many suns. Those are the pieces that make the best textile art. They carry with them secrets, whisperings of the people that wore them or used them – they become something more than fabric.

  12. Dear Ann,
    I ran across your work a few months ago and am completely charmed by all I’ve seen. Your comment about your Mother saving fabric for you before you knew you needed it caught me off guard. Somebody else’s Mom did that too? I’ve been tinkering and stitching and sewing and beading for 10 years now and mostly tapping into a stash of goodies that my Mother had collected and I couldn’t bare to part with. Just recently felt the “need” to create jelly fish and have opened up a gold mine of possibilities with the yarns and fibers that she had amassed. Thank you so much for your post, the timeliness of it is so appreciated. Mothers Day will be a better holiday.

  13. Cynthia Anderson

    Oh Ann
    I loved hearing about your mom putting away fabric for you.
    Mom recycled old clothing to give me and my sister a start sewing during the summertimes.
    I loved hearing your story and about going to the Beatrix Potter movie. I am looking that up now.
    Kind Regards and congrats on your magazine article.
    You constantly inspire me.
    Cynthia Anderson
    Houston Texas

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