I still enjoy bundling up a couple little birds and taking them out for a photo in Prospect Park. 9 years in, I still enjoy it. Even on a day as frigid as it was – I think they enjoy getting out…..
* Find the sewing pattern to make your own bundled up bird here.
So far it has been a pretty wintery winter and this feels like the depths of it. I’m having persistent fantasies of warmer days and the smell of the forest. I took the photo below in the Adirondacks and it’s one of my favorites. It’s an enchanted spot – I would not be surprised at all to see a fairy or an elf or a gnome appear on the mossy little path.
I’ve collected a few images of birds made from my pattern to share- people have made wonderful, imaginative birds and taken fabulous photos:
from Becky – “the stand off”
from Christina – Daisy Chain Creations
from Amanda – Hanging by a Thread – A snow scene!
In Dots – by Irene (love the tags)
from Karen- these are so sweet- checkout the satchel on the bird in the center
and a thoughtful little bird in the garden by Abby Glassenberg!
Sewing feels like a treat and a needed change of pace, I’ve spent way too much time with my computer lately. I’m working on a few new things.
These are mostly made from Sri Textiles – in a moody palette I find myself returning to again and again this year. There is also a wonderful bit of eccentric mending on the lower right.
The songbird is a little bit of a re- design. The songbird pattern was the only one I hadn’t backed up and I lost it – so frustrating. As soon as I finished the new design I found the old one in a mislabeled box. I’m glad I did it though – they’re different – the old shape is more stylized in a way I like and the new one has a more natural shape and I like that too.
And a button score! I used up what I thought was a lifetime supply of vintage and antique shell buttons – I use them for rigging ships and owl eyes. I’m back in buttons for at least a couple years I think.
The little bird sewing pattern is finally here! My goodness- it was an epic effort. I hope you enjoy it! You can purchase it here.
Little Birds includes a link to the free video tutorial “how to make a perfect bird leg” – useful with this pattern and for all your bird leg needs as well as a link to a video on sewing the bird body that you will receive within the PDF when you purchase the pattern. And make a bird size top hat just like the caketopper bird above is wearing – find the free tutorial right here. I hope you make birds! If you do I’d love to see – use #annwoodhandmade or #annwoodpattern on instagram. And if you’d like to be notified when more patterns are available you can sign up here.
*This is a long post and there are a lot of birds in it.
I’ve been working on a pattern for my little birds and as I’m reaching the end of that long process of drafting and adjusting the pattern, shooting the steps, writing the instructions, testing the pattern, compiling the files and materials and resource lists etc., etc. I’ve been thinking a lot about my long history with these funny little fabric birds. Releasing this pattern feels like a big step in that history and involves some letting go.
The things I make are a large part of my identity and that is maybe even a little more true of these earnest little birds. They came about sort of accidentally – it’s funny how one thing leads to another and strange things you could not invent occur.
How I came to Make Thousands and Thousands of Little Fabric Birds
In the fall 2005 I happened into a ruined Edwardian gown. I wish I had a photo. It was in pieces and all of it too delicate and too fragile to even display. At the same time I was designing a holiday window for a shop on Orchard Street. The gown was shimmery and twinkly and I wanted to incorporate it. The featheriness of the fraying fabric suggested birds and I began to experiment with sewing a bird shape. I counted – I made 60 failures before I came to a shape that sort of worked. The first birds were fancy: miss haversham on the left and bertha whimsy emerson on the right.
I hadn’t intended to sell them but people wanted to buy them so I did and then I made more.
And more. And more.
I also photographed them. They went to summer camp,
put on plays,
Spring really fires me up and I’m having a super busy and super productive month. Besides all the air and freshness the extra daylight in the evening makes such a difference.
I find I work best early in the morning to mid afternoon and then I usually get a significant creative second wind between 5 and 8 PM – how about you? Other people’s creative practices are always interesting to me.
A couple progress photos for you:
A dark, crow-ish sort of bird and and sails for several new ships. I’ve been saving that antique embroidered cuff on the lower right for 6 years- waiting for just the right ship. I’m finishing the first full sized, multi sailed extravaganza sort of ship that I’ve made in a long time tonight and I’m excited to photograph it tomorrow – excited enough to get up extra early.
I’m working on some new owls – a new smaller owl shape for me with some new details. I’ll finish these tonight and photograph them in the morning . They are part of my “new creatures” update tomorrow ( friday 3/28 ) evening.
And onother new shape – a hummingbird – a bit larger than a real hummingbird but still quite small, she fits in the palm of your hand. The bird and owls are made mostly from Sri textiles – I love this muted palette.
Another new creature Laurent ( all my rats are french) and a blue owl.
He’s big and blue and bad, and has some junk in the trunk.
Owls. And a blue velvet songbird.
I get pretty excited about fall and to celebrate I pulled out my houndstooth wool. I’m also working on a blue velvet songbird and another owl made from a textile from Sri Threads. It is one of my all time most favorite fabrics – I can barely stand to use it. I think if I had miles of it I would never get tired of it. Here’s a closer look – it’s a thick heavy weave and the pattern is incredible.
And I made a little more progress on the songbird.
Another fall ritual for me is taking a group of little birds out to prospect park for a photo ( I do it every spring too). It was a big adventure.
I made some little birds this past weekend and had fun photographing them today.
Fannie and her bundled up friends are in the shop.
These songbirds ( and probably one more) all made from vinatge and antique garments, as well as forest flower ballerinas will be available in my shop tomorrow at 11 AM ( new york time) . Also, I have a new and much speedier checkout – you no longer need to create an account if you prefer not to – just enter shipping and email and you’re done. Existing customers can still log in as usual.
The teal songbird is made from this antique jacket.
And this black songbird is made form this antique bodice.
There will be an owl and ship update on Tuesday Septmber 4th at 1 PM ( new york time) and you can check back here on Monday for previews.
Earlier this summer, on another trip to the Adirondack park, I made and photographed ( in front of my favorite mossy stump) a little troupe of forest fairy ballerinas.
The ballerinas will be available in my shop on Thursday at 11 am ( New York time). Lately I moved ann wood handmade to a new server and this is long overdue -my old one could not handle the spikes in traffic that come with shop updates so I have been unable to share the date and time of updates to try to keep it manageable. I have felt unsure about how to test my new server in any significant way but I thought of a plan while I was away last week : it’s a particularly quiet end of summer week and a holiday weekend ( in the US anyway) so I’m going to have a couple small shop updates and share the date and time – here , and with my mailing list and facebook – I’ll share the whole schedule and another preview (songbirds) tomorrow.
I love the longer days.
And the little green sprouts in the park.