IN THE STUDIO

A Phoenix Quilt for Féinics

Every now and then we receive a request for a custom and very personal work of art. On this occasion it was a friend and fellow artist, the talented ceramicist Lynn Duryea (Follow this link to marvel at her work) who had a special gift idea for her niece's new born. She had seen the Quilt paintings that Kathy sells at our local Farmer's Market (See example below,) and wanted to commission her to create - A Phoenix Quilt for Féinics.

Lynn's niece had named her new boy Féinics for the Irish language word for phoenix. Certainly a great name and an inspiring challenge to create a work around. And that night as we lay in bed sipping tea Kath started penciling designs.

Many pencil shavings and eraser nibs were swept from pad to floor and the design was roughed out over the next days before we sent the design to Lynn for approval.

And then Kath got to work. She knew the phoenix was going to prove the hardest element so she started patterning that first.

She found the perfect deep patterned red fabrics for the body and wings that suggested both feathers and fire.

And with a big creative push (Holiday deadlines looming!) over the next few days the fiery plummage really started to come together.

With the phoenix in hand now it was time to start work on the background. Kath's design set the phoenix in a beautiful moonlit setting with rivers, trees and rolling hills.

The sewing machine hummed the better part of a day as all the elements were carefully stitched together.

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And then.....it was sprung and done!

We raced the quilt to town to meet up with Lynn and pass along her quilted gift. She was thrilled.

Ten days or so later in a quiet post Xmas lull we received a wonderful email from Lynn - WITH PICTURES!!! (Big thanks to Erica Duryea for giving us permission to publish pictures of her beautiful boy here)

This was a great project for Kathy on many levels and moreover we are always happy when a piece of her art is adopted into a loving home!

AN OCTOPUS AT THE DOOR

My wife's imagination is reached through an unassuming door. Outside this door a line of characters waits in line hoping to be warmly admitted to her magical world of puppets. But every so often there is a particularly insistent rap at the door, and on this occasion a many armed rapping. "An octopus!" she announced crawling out of our tent at the Wild Goose Festival. And when we got home, she got to work.....

Step 1 - Transform cheap pool noodles into tentacles

Step 2 - Cover with bright orange fabric skin

Step 3 - Pattern, cut and stitch giant octopus head from foam.

Okay enough with the Steps! Next test umbrella puppet mechanics.

Attach tentacles to over-sized golf umbrella.

Next Cut, dart and glue 120 octopus suckers.

Attach suckers.

Fit and cut octopus body.

Attach head and you're done....sort of.

There are still a few yards of sewing still remaining and at least 50-100 sequins to be sewn down but who's counting. We look forward to debuting this blazing orange leviathan at our next show - Friday, September 12, 8pm at St. Luke's Church in Boone, NC. Hope to see you there!

 

FAERY ORIGINS

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Where exactly do faeries come from? Enchanted hedgerows? Fissures in the ancient English Ley-Lines? Overactive imaginatons?

Well probably all of the above but certainly Kathy's crafty hands too.

They generally start with the fabrication of limb-lets.

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Put in box and set aside.

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Fabricate heads.

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Ready for buckram and gluey layer.

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Let dry

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Apply some paint and dress in fantastical garb.

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I never met a bald faery so wispy hairs are a must.

Start with some ribbon. Apply glue.

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Smoosh down colorful feathers.

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Cut to whimsical length.

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Fit to bald pate.

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And style to taste.

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Now some wings.

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Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

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A bit of gentle open-back surgery.

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Don't forget ze strings.

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Done!

Look for these little dudes in Queen Titania's entourage at our next show.

 

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT - Please help us name this gnome

Late last night as a historic snow storm blustered outside, a bleating cry suddenly sounded from our basement studio. A gnome was born! The pint-sized marvel was quickly swaddled and put to bed. But waking this morning instead of the anticipated clamoring for acorn mash or milkweed bottle the little fella just pointed outside and nodded vigorously. He wanted OUT!

The following are some images from his first photo shoot. Can you help us find a name for the little fella?

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GREENS FOR THE GREEN MAN

The Green Man has been knocking on our workshop door for many a moon and it looks like he'll be finally stepping out from amidst the trees in our next production. In the studio Kathy has started work on his dashing cloak fabricating leaves and roots.

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Each leaf is a process - and then some! First a pattern is drawn on velvet fabric.

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Machine sewn.

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Turned inside out and prepared for stuffing.

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Then a matching foam piece is cut to stuff the leaf fabric interior and add three dimensionality.

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Wrestle the stuffing inside.

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"Forceps please Nurse."

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Then sew, sew and sew some more.

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Cut threads and return to cloak.

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And sew down.

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And you're done - phew!

Kath has also been working on a lively and leafy mask.

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The mask then receives an unrefined but strong base coat of paint.

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Ferns, leaves and assorted botanical ornaments will also be added after a final nuanced application of paint.

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Stay tuned as we keep you updated on newly emerging puppets, characters and magical friends.

GNOMENCLATURE

We love Gnomes and there is a family of Gnomes well under way in the studio.

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Kathy has crafted heads, arms and feet and is moving on to their stylish duds. Beautiful suede leather jacket for the woodsy fella.

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Accompanied by an equally wild and wooly pair of boots sewn by our good friend and accomplice Tori Cox.

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It won't be too long before this sweet half-pint couple emerge fully realized - with a new born gnomelet too, of course!

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