Paige Turner

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The Woods Hole Public Library is having an exhibit titled “Renewal” this summer. Patrons and friends were invited to make something out of old books that would otherwise be thrown out. A couple of months ago, Margaret, the head librarian asked me if I thought this idea would be supported by the community. I said, “definitely yes”. But, I wasn’t even sure if I would have time to make something for the exhibit. Last Thursday, I found myself caught up with tasks that need immediate attention and devoted the afternoon to making a little doll dressed in clothes made from the pages of a book. My contribution, Paige Turner was just delivered to the library via bicycle.

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Before we brought her to the library, Rob and I had such fun setting her up in different bookish scenes at home.

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Paige and the other artwork made from recycled books are being offered in a silent auction to benefit the library. If you’d like to make a bid, please send the library an e-mail. Bidding via e-mail ends on July 31st at 7:00 pm (EST).

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“Then and Now” sampler

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Since so many of you live too far away to see my exhibit at Falmouth Museums on the Green, I thought I’d put together a chronological slide show of the artwork on display. Because I know that you like closeups, the photos are all cropped images, with lots of details to see. The exhibit includes a sampling of pieces I’ve made from the years 1985 to 2014. The most recent effort is “Wee Gathering”, a collection of dolls featured in my upcoming how-to book, Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures: 120 Enchanting Dolls.

It would be wonderful to meet some of you at the museum this Saturday, July 19th from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. there will be some time to chat and mingle and then I’ll give a visual presentation about my work at around 1:30 or 2:00 pm. There’s still time to see the show. The exhibit, “Salley Mavor: Expressions in Stitches, Then and Now” will be on display until August 16th. Falmouth Museums on the Green is located on the village green in Falmouth, Massachusetts and is open Tues. ~ Fri. 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, Sat. 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and Monday 5:00 to 7:00 pm. The exhibit is free to the public.

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Posies exhibit stays alive!

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I am happy to report that a select group of original illustrations from Pocketful of Posies  will continue to tour. Currently, 24 framed fabric reliefs are on display at the Lexington Public Library in Kentucky. They’ll be there until August 17, 2014 and I’m thrilled that people from this part of the country will have the opportunity to see the show! There have been 20 exhibits around the country since the book was published in 2010 and the plan was to have it travel for 3 years. Sold pieces are now with their owners, but enough of the group are still together to keep the show alive for a bit longer.

These 2 exhibits have recently been added to the schedule for 2015:

April 2 – April 29, 2015 at the Newton Free Library, Newton, Massachusetts. (20 to 25 pieces shown) Artist talk TBA.

October 17, 2015 – January 31, 2016 at the Upcountry Museum – Furman University, Greenville, SC (20 to 25 pieces). Artist talk TBA.

Since Pocketful of Posies began touring, I’ve heard from many people who want the show to come closer to where they live. They write, “Please come to Seattle or southern California or Texas!” I would love to have the work go far and wide, but it’s not that easy. The key obstacles are sparking enough of an interest and securing funding for shipping costs.  At this stage, I don’t have time to send out proposals to new places, but I welcome inquiries from suitable venues. That’s how these latest locations were added. Please contact me for more information about hosting the exhibit.

detail from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

detail from Ring Around the Rosie, “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

Expressions in Stitches, Then and Now

ThenandNow9This past week, I helped install my show at  Falmouth Museums on the Green. The photos below give a behind the scenes look at the process of hanging my framed artwork along with historical needlework and other interesting objects from the museum’s collection. Salley Mavor: Expressions in Stitches, Then and Now  opens today and closes on August 16th. I will be giving a presentation about my work at the “Tea at the Museum” on Saturday, July 19th, 1:00 -3:00 pm. The museum hours are Tuesday ~ Friday 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, Saturday 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and Monday evening 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

If you want to find out which pieces are in the show, refer to the list at the end of this post. Each title is linked to an image or blog post about it. Many works are on loan from their owners and haven’t been seen publicly since they were purchased decades ago.

ThenandNow4To see how the arrangement would look, the curator, Amanda Wastrom cut out paper templates in the dimensions of each frame, which we taped to the wall. We wanted a lively arrangement and played around with the spacing until we were happy with the flow. ThenandNow5One great thing about the paper technique, besides being able to see how the different sizes look overall, is that you can pin point exactly where to nail the picture hanger, right through the paper. We hung some of the textiles from the museums collection using a clever method that involves sticking a metal washer to the wall and using a magnet to hold the items in place. ThenandNow1Amanda and I started planning the exhibit a year ago, when she came up with the brilliant idea of juxtaposing my artwork with historic items that never seem to make it out of the basement archives. We met several times over the winter and looked through boxes full of tissue wrapped treasures. Of course, I was attracted to the textiles, but we also put aside other objects that fit in with the theme. I mounted a collection of old eye glasses and leather doll shoes to hang along side my pieces.

Here’s Amanda peeling back the wall title.

ThenandNow6My husband Rob came by to help install the display case he made for the wee folk characters from my new book (not pictured).ThenandNow7ThenandNow2I really like the way it came out and I hope that many of you who live relatively nearby will make the trip to see the show. Thank you Amanda, Erica, Sue and Rob for your help bringing it all together!ThenandNow8

The exhibit includes 19 fabric relief pieces, made from 1985 to the present. Click the title links to see images of the artwork. The only one without a link is “A Wee Gathering”, which is a case full of sample dolls from my upcoming how-to book, Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures. Since the book isn’t yet published (spring 2015), you’ll have to come see the wee folk in person!

Noah’s Ark (1986); Feeding Chickens (1985); Picking Peas (1986); Mary Had a Little Lamb (1995); Self Portrait: A Personal History of Fashion (2007); Rabbitat (2011); Birds of Beebe Woods (2012); Walking the Dog (2005); Winter Scene (1986); Rana is Born (1991); Pocketful of Posies book cover (2010); Hush-a-bye-baby, page 56 from Pocketful of Posies (2010); Baa, Baa Black Sheep, page 8 from Pocketful of Posies (2010); Jerry Hall, page 23 from Pocketful of Posies (2010); “Rain, rain, go away”/”There was an old woman”/”Rain on the green grass“, pages 32/33 from Pocketful of Posies (2010); “Humpty Dumpty”/”Peter Piper”/ Two little dicky birds”, pages 48/49 from Pocketful of Posies (2010); The Red Chair (1994); Slow Work, Fine Work (2012); A Wee Gathering (2014).

Once Upon a Thread

henna handWM One thing leads to the next and before you know it, you have enough pictures and information to fill a blog post. It all started with the photo above, which was meant to show my henna decorated hand that was done at the local arts festival last weekend. The doll heads scattered on the table are from another long term project, which I’ll write about in the future.

When Rob took the picture, I was sewing letters on left over paintings from Waldorf School projects. The words are part of a new title image for my slide talk, Once Upon a Thread. I really enjoy giving lectures about my work to quilt and embroidery groups, as well as the general public. The next scheduled talk will be during the opening event for my exhibit at Museums on the Green in Falmouth, Massachusetts. “Tea at the Museum” is from 1:00 – 3:00 pm on Sat., July 19th.

OnceUponaThreadshoot This is a teaser of sorts,  because the dolls in the scene are some of the models in my upcoming book, Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures (Spring 2015), the long-awaited follow-up to Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects. Rob took the photo of them holding up the stitched signs, like a group at a rally. I’ll use the photo in my power point show and Facebook cover banner.

This summer, there will be an opportunity to see many more of the new dolls up close and personal. My talented and ever helpful husband, Rob is also building a special display case that will hold dozens of new characters. The case full of dolls will be included in my exhibit, Salley Mavor: Expressions in Stitches, Then and Now, at Museums on the Green, July 4 – August 16, 2014. I hope that many of you will come see the show. It will be chock full of work from the past and present! Once Upon a ThreadWM

Hither and Yon installed

HitherandYonblogThere’s going to be another outdoor art exhibit at Highfield Hall in Falmouth, Massachusetts, Portals and Passageways.  I’m excited to be a part of this Cape Cod Art and Environmental Sculpture Exhibit.
June 29 - Sept. 7, 2014 ~ Portals and Passageways, Highfield Hall, Falmouth, MA. Artist Reception: June 29, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm.

Last summer, I curated the Fairy Houses of Beebe Woods Exhibit at Highfield Hall (to return in 2015), but this year I am happy to be just one of the artists who’s made a portal or passageway for this year’s show.

My piece, Hither and Yon  uses the same felt covered wire lettering technique that I’ve used in other projects (see here). But this time, the scale is LARGE!

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Last winter, after being invited to make an installation, I walked around the Highfield property, looking for a spot that called to me. Coming down the path along the west garden, I saw a beech tree leaning toward the path and envisioned a curved branch arching over, creating a space to pass under. I immediately knew that this was where my passageway would be located! I wanted to incorporate words into a kind of sign. 

HitherandYondrawingI searched the woods around our house and located an 8′ young tree that had grown with a natural bend. I cut it down and brought it over to the Highfield site to see if it would work. Rob took a photo of me holding the branch up against the leaning beech tree and it was the perfect size and shape! I reduced the photo’s contrast and printed out a bunch of copies. After settling on the words, “Hither and Yon”, I drew on top of the photo, outlining the branch with a marker, trying out several designs. I carried the branch into my studio, lay it on my work table and drew out the letters to scale on a large piece of paper. This would be used as a template to form the felt covered wire letters.

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I wound wire with 1/2″ wide (or larger) strips of felt and embroidered it with rows of seed stitches. I used acrylic felt because it’s cheap and I figured that it would hold up through rainy weather. There had to be decorative stitching, of course, even though the sign would be hanging up high, away from close inspection.

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I bent the wire, writing out the letters and sewing them in place.

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Being an outdoor sculpture, the sign had to withstand the forces of wind and rain. I attached screw eyes to the wooden branch, which anchored the wire (covered in white) and reinforced the lettering, helping to keep it stable and in position. I sewed the letters wherever I could to the grey underline strip and the white covered wire.

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Yes, it had to be strong, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t add another stretch of decorative zig-zagged wire and wooden beads along the top.

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The last challenge was figuring out how to attached the sign to the beech tree without hammering or drilling into the trunk. My engineer husband Rob’s suggestion of using ratchet straps worked beautifully! I padded the lower part of the branch with an old yoga mat and covered it with some cotton fabric that  was a close match to the tree’s bark. The glaring red ratchet straps were also padded and covered with the camouflage fabric. Hither and Yon is now installed and hardly moves at all in the wind– just the suspended beads at the tip flutter around. Let’s hope that it holds up through the summer. It is so satisfying to have an idea, not knowing exactly how it will come out and working toward making it appear as you envisioned. And it’s come out exactly how I saw it in my mind!

I’d like to thank Annie Dean of  Highfield Hall for her perseverance and vision in making this show a reality. Portals and Passageways looks to be an exciting event and I hope that many of you can come see it. You can walk around the grounds any time, not just when the museum is open.

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Borrowing from the past

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I’ve been contacting people who own pieces that I’ve made over the past 30 years and asking to borrow artwork for my upcoming exhibit, Salley Mavor: Expressions in Stitches, Then and Now at Museums on the Green in Falmouth. Most of the fabric reliefs are from local collections, so it’s been relatively easy to arrange pickup. And I’ve enjoyed visiting the people who were early supporters of my work in the 80′s and 90′s. It’s been long enough that some pieces have been passed down to the next generation. I’m grateful to the owners for loaning the work, as many of them have never been exhibited publicly. It will be a kind of retrospective show, which covers the transition from my early work to what I’m making now. The exhibit will also include items I’ve selected from the museums archives–stuff that stuck my fancy and seems to go.

Since this may be the only chance, I’ve been removing some pieces from their frames and Rob is taking digital photos. Looking at them closely has brought back memories of the years when I made them. I’m amazed that I was so productive during the 80′s, especially with young children around. In a way, life wasn’t as complicated. We stayed home a lot and I spent every spare moment focusing on my artwork.  I found a wonderful neighbor who ran a home daycare and I worked every evening after the kids went to bed. There were less distractions; we had no TV or computer. Remembering this time makes me nostalgic for a simpler life. I bet almost every person reading this post feels the same. So much for my wistful musings–I’m going to put on my thimble and pick up my needle and thread and get to work!

I hope that many of you will be able to see this show. I will be writing more about it and posting more pictures in the next few weeks. Here are the particulars:
July 4 – August 16, 2014 ~ Salley Mavor: Expressions in Stitches, Then and Now Falmouth Museums on the Green, Falmouth, MA. Historical needlework from the museum’s collection will be exhibited alongside the contemporary embroidered artwork of Salley Mavor.  Sat., July 19th - “Tea at the Museum” and Artist Talk – 1:00 -3:00 pm.

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