The Tudor's expert gardener, Jenna, with Tasha Tudor's last Corgi, Megan.
Greetings, my lovelies! I am so pleased to welcome you, my dear reader, here this evening! Here at The Christmas Corgi we are celebrating Tasha Tudor Day, on this what would have been Tasha's 95th birthday. I am having a cup of tea in Tasha's honor right now. Earlier today, the power went out, as it often does here in my neck of the woods. Rather than embrace the darkness, I went to get a manicure, complete with bright red nail polish. Not a very Tasha Tudor thing to do, I know. But all of my fellow artists will surely appreciate the few and far between manicures we manage to get. We usually have our hands full of paint and clay and so on and so forth. Tasha was famous for her love of her turkey red tablecloths, so when I look at my shiny red nails (which I'm sure will only last for a day or two) I will think of her.
I am thrilled that Tasha Tudor Day is really catching on, as I truly believe that Tasha was a national treasure. She has influenced me in so many ways. When I was a little girl, I remember seeing Tasha's Corgi illustrations and I thought that Corgis were magical creatures. Now, having lived with them, I know that I was right all along. Tasha had so many fans for so many reasons. Her fan base continues to grow. Some people love her for her art and illustrations, some for her famous green thumb and fabulous gardens, some for her lifestyle. She truly incorporated much of her love and appreciation for the 1800's into who she was, from the way she dressed to her daily life. She did what she loved and as Thoreau said, followed confidently in the direction of her dreams. If you are unfamiliar with Tasha, please spend a little time learning about her. You will be so glad that you did.
I am so happy to have Tasha's dear Daughter-in-Law, and artist extraordinaire, Marjorie Tudor here to share some special things with us on The Christmas Corgi Blog today.
Here is Marjorie with Agatha Kitty.
Marjorie has been as busy as a bee. She just returned from Northern Vermont to spend some time with her colleagues from Boston Children's Theater
, with whom she collaborated on last year's adaptation of The "Velveteen Rabbit." Marjorie said, "I had a fabulous time with Burgess, Toby and Daniel. Burgess Clark is the Executive Artistic Director of Boston Children's Theatre, Toby Schine
its Executive Producer, and Daniel Blake the Musical Director. BCT
is the oldest theatre of its kind in New England and this past year extended its outreach to young folks in the Greater Boston Area from 800 to almost 10,000. I am so pleased to let you know that "The Velveteen Rabbit" is being relaunched for the upcoming 2010 Christmas season, and Burgess Clark's charming adaptation of this classic children's story includes live actors on stage as well as talented puppeteers. It's a wonderful show, so am very pleased. Boston Children's Theatre is over sixty years old. Burgess Clark and Toby Schine
Artistic Director and Executive Producer, respectively, are working to make it an international presence, which it already is in Germany. We eventually hope to bring this particular show to Japan. Puppetry is very popular in that country. Here are some photos of my Velveteen Rabbit adventure last year, which involved live actors as well as the eleven puppets I made. Of the eleven, four were the Velveteen Rabbit, one of them old and worn out from being loved up by the Boy. The little girl, Lucy, is holding one of the three Wild Rabbits...very soft and wild looking" said Marjorie.
And here they are!
Who could resist such cuteness?
This is where the magic happens at Marjorie's house.
It is her artistic workspace. Isn't it lovely? Below that is her "trusty
non-electric Singer sewing machine made in Scotland in the fifties.
I love it! A beautiful machine!" says Marjorie.
Among Marjorie's many talents is doll making. Here is one of her dolls, Elsie that she made and just could not part with.
Elsie is a twelve inch doll. She has carved and jointed basswood arms and legs. Her head and chest plate are modeled from Pro Sculpt. She is in the collection of Hannah Tudor Wyman
Marjorie gives doll study retreats at her home. Classes are small, with two or three students at the most, and it is a two or three day deal. She also gives marionette making workshops. Marjorie said, "I just finished one with a delightful thirteen year old girl last week. We had so much fun, and she made a really lovely doll. I was impressed with her work." We will have to have Marjorie back on the blog to tell us more about this and to share more photos of her other crafts that she has made and some more lovely Tudor family traditions ( I'm thinking maybe Christmastime, Marjorie? )
Happy faces with their cut wool owls.
Students from Japan with their cut wool bunnies.
A marionette workshop student.
Tasha Tudor has done so much over the years to delight Corgi lovers everywhere. One of the most coveted prizes that is given out by the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America's regional clubs is "The Tasha Tudor Certificate" for winning Best of Breed at a Corgi Specialty Show. Tasha was a member of the Mayflower Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club in New England, and it was well known that she was very impressed with anyone who dedicated their life to the protection and welfare of the breed she loved so much. I remember having the opportunity to ask Tasha once what was the greatest number of Corgis that she had at one time. With a twinkle in her eye and and impish look, she said, "Oh, twelve, I think. But one can never have just one Corgi." But, as Tasha headed into the Winter of her years, she did have but one sweet Corgi at Corgi Cottage.
"After Owyn passed away," said Marjorie, "Tasha wanted another corgi, and she wanted to get one from an English kennel. So, I researched and found one (whose name has completely escaped me), which offered pups with super dispositions. Winslow, Amy and I drove Tasha down to Logan airport to pick Megan up. What a little angel she was...and in perfect condition. We were sure the stewardesses had pampered her on the flight over. Tasha sat in the back seat with Meggie on her lap all the way home. This sweet little pup never whimpered or fussed, just snuggled up with Tasha until we arrived back home in Vermont.
After Tasha passed, Megan came to live with Seth and me. She is a very good, healthy, and happy little girl and quite a character - keeps my two kitties in line and never leaves my side. Her favorite adventure is to go for outings in my car, and of course, she is the perfect gardening companion, whose self imposed job routing out marauding voles (Timmy Willies), she enthusiastically pursues.
Here are some amusing photos my son Benjamin took of her in a red jacket during hunting season last year. She looks super cute...and also the watercolor I did of her for a Valentine card. Was thinking of offering corgi watercolor portraits at some point. What do you think?"
...that would be a great big YES from me, Marjorie. ( Let's hold her to that one, my little Corgettes
. If you haven't signed up for the lovely Tasha Tudor and Family newsletter, you can do so from their website.
Some of Marjorie's work and lots of other wonderful things can be found there, so you will be the first to know what is new!)
Here is Meggie.
I think she agrees that she does look 'supercute
' in her red vest!
Here is the watercolor Valentine Marjorie did of her.
Be still my heart!
Winslow Tudor and Megan.
I think Tasha is very happy knowing that her Megan is loved so much.
"I often think of Tasha, often stroll through the old gardens surrounding Corgi Cottage... so many memories" says Marjorie. " We were neighbors for thirty-five years, my children's Granny. To be perfectly frank, that's how I think of her, always ... our Granny. She was my mother-in-law, my friend, my teacher. The knowledge she shared with me, whether it was a gardening tip, or instruction in the arts of watercolor, doll and marionette making, or cooking is priceless. I cherish her memory, not just on her birthday, but every day, and join with, not only our family in the celebration of her remarkable life and legacy, but with all her dear fans. Tomorrow there will be a special celebration at The Rookery. Winslow, no doubt, will bring a yummy cake along with some hand cranked ice cream. Meggie and Annie, Elizabeth Rose and Christina's, Sophie, will be there enchanting us all.
Tasha had a wonderful sense of humor and loved to laugh. I'll share a memory about something she found rather amusing. Tea time, one afternoon around four o'clock in early April, Lazarina, the dove, swooped down from her perch on Tasha's shoulder and landed "plunk" in the middle of a delectable chocolate cake. It was very funny, and we had to disengage the discomfited bird, who had sunk completely into it and wash her carefully off. She fluffed her feathers dry on the warming shelf of Tasha's old cookstove while we drank lukewarm tea.
So, dear friends, I say to you, as Tasha Tudor, herself, would say to you ... "Take Joy" and "To thine own self be true."
Jennifer Tudor Wyman, Hannah and "Granny" Tasha
A photo Tasha took around 1963 of her corgi puppies, and below that, Thomas Jefferson corgi. (Recognize him from the Valentine above?)
David Austin's Heritage, One of Tasha's favorite roses.
Thank you, Marjorie, for sharing a glimpse of your creative life, for all of the wonderful photographs, and especially for celebrating Tasha Tudor Day with us. Those of us who hold a place for Tasha in our hearts are truly kindred spirits. ♥ CS
P.S.Be sure to visit the links in my previous post to Storybook Woods and all of the other blogs celebrating Tasha's birthday today. If you are reading this from a feed, just click on over back to my blog
for all of the other links. Here are a few links to our past TT day posts. 2008