About Salley Mavor

I make 3-dimensional fabric relief pictures that are photographed and used to illustrate children’s books. I sew together different materials to create fanciful scenes in relief, much like a miniature stage set, with figures imposed on an embellished fabric background. My work is decorative and detailed, full of patterns from nature and found objects, all sewn together by hand with a needle and thread.

Up and fluttering

Fairy House blog-1When we got home from Sunday’s opening reception for the Fairy Houses of Highfield Hall exhibit, I told Rob, “It’s so good to have the show finally up and running.” He said, “You mean “up and fluttering.”  Yes, this collection of fairy houses is causing quite a stir here at the top of Highfield Drive, with more than a thousand visitors already. The display will be set up all summer, until August 31st, 2015. I recommend visiting sooner than later, because of weather related deterioration of the houses.

The morning rain cleared by noon, creating a perfect afternoon for families and friends to stroll around the grounds, searching for the 32 fanciful dwellings. You could see groups of all ages following the tour map. And everyone was smiling! It turned out to be a social gathering, too, with neighbors and acquaintances running into each other. One woman said, “I’m so glad to live in Falmouth, where we have a wonderfully creative community that puts on events like this!” She made me feel part of something bigger than just a group of people who like to make little worlds out in the woods. In recent years, I think that the fairy house concept has entered the collective imagination, bringing a much-needed lightness and sense of wonder. I owe a big thank you to all of the house builders who contributed their time and creative genius to making this show such a success!

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I hope you enjoy this set of photos of people interacting with some of the houses. More posts with close-ups of the houses themselves will be coming soon.

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fairy houses 2015: making “Grate Hall”

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Fairy House blog-1It’s been an exciting week in the fairy neighborhood! Every day, more wee domiciles are popping up around the grounds of Highfield Hall and Gardens in Falmouth, MA (Cape Cod). By the time the Fairy Houses of Highfield Hall exhibit opens this Sunday, June 28th at 1:00pm, there will be 32 fairy houses installed and ready to view. Just like the previous show in 2013, this display is sure to bring in many visitors from near and far!

Last winter I invited 30 local artists and fairy aficionados to make houses for this summer’s exhibit. Each builder started the process by walking around the property and picking their favorite spot. They spent the next few months planning and working on their creations. I haven’t been privy to any finished houses until this week, and from what I’ve seen, this year’s collection is spectacular! There’s a wide variety of interpretations of the “fairy house” concept, from cozy abodes to airy perches. Building materials are as eclectic as the pieces themselves: clay, wood, mushrooms, paper, moss, felt, plants, shells, bark, stones, glass, metal, etc. Don’t worry if you live too far to see the originals — in the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing photos on this blog, Facebook and Instagram.

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The Fairy Houses of Highfield Hall and Gardens will be on display until August 31, 2015. The exhibit is free, with a suggested donation. Stop by the hall to pick up a map with house locations and artists’ names. Inside the hall you can also see my fairy family. Raffle tickets for a chance to win the 5 doll set can be purchased online here. Read a post about making the fairy family here. I hope that many of you have a chance to visit this extraordinary outdoor event!

Making my fairy house….
Come along, while I make my fairy house, “Great Hall”, which is pictured at the beginning of this post. It began with a bunch of old metal graters that I saved, while cleaning out deceased relatives’ kitchens. For years I’ve been eying them for a future project and thought they’d give a solid structure to a fairy house. I drilled holes and bolted 4 of them together to make walls and a roof.

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Then, I used my felt covered wire technique to form a base and arched beams. This single glove was in a box of my grandmother’s things. She and her sisters did a lot of tatting in the early 1900’s, so perhaps one of them made it.

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I incorporated the glove into the front wall, leaving room for a door opening and curled loops of felt covered wire.

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I stitched wool tapestry yarn in a zigzag pattern to fill in some areas, while leaving some open for viewing inside the house.

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FairyHouses-1-7I tried not to get too fussy, but the door required a bit more detailed work.

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I worked on the house during the snowy winter — my favorite time to be engrossed in a project.

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The whisk was another kitchen find that I added near the end.

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I pruned some supple branches off my blueberry bushes and lashed them to the grates and wire, adding a more organic façade.

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I wanted the interior to be magical, so I draped strings of glass beads and crystals from the ceiling. Tiny blue and white LED lights (run on batteries) added a glow as well.

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In the daylight, it’s hard to see the lit interior, so I sprinkled small round Shisha mirrors on the ground inside to reflect the lights and make it sparkle.

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Scotland – June 2015: woods

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During our trip to Scotland, we spent a week in the Highlands, hiking along the Great Glen Way, from Fort William to Inverness. At 10 to 12 miles a day, it was a lot of work, but we saw some beautiful areas of wilderness that we wouldn’t have witnessed otherwise. At the beginning of the journey, it was too rainy to get out a camera. On clearer days, I found a new wondrous site to photograph at every bend in the path. We traveled through all kinds of woods, with moss in abundance. I could imagine fairy house neighborhoods everywhere! Speaking of fairy houses, the Fairy Houses of Highfield Hall exhibit opens on Sunday, June 28th, with an artist reception at 1:00 pm. I’ll be there, along with a fantastic collection of 32 houses and their builders. More about that coming soon!

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Scotland – June 2015: Doors

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It’s been a few days since we returned from Scotland and I’ve just now looked at the photos of our trip. As usual, I’m organizing them in my favorite categories, including doors, houses, store fronts, flowers, landscapes, Polly, etc. We visited cities, including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness, but spent the bulk of the trip hiking the Great Glen Way, which follows the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands. The weather covered the gamut, with rain, strong wind, clouds and even a few days of sunshine. But, we managed to avoid the dreaded Scottish midges! We loved meeting the locals in the towns along the way, who all seemed to have time to chat–a welcome contrast to our experience at home, where we are so busy and preoccupied with our “important” lives.

Today’s collection includes photos of doors in the ubiquitous stone houses seen everywhere in the UK. The pictures of town houses were taken early one unusually bright morning in Inverness, in our B&B’s neighborhood. Stay tuned for more photo collections of our trip. I hope that you enjoy the tour!

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Podcast with Mimi and me

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I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Abby Glassenberg for her popular series of While She Naps podcasts. In her podcasts, Abby talks with a wide variety of designers and makers about building their creative businesses. She is a savvy and personable woman, who has a natural gift for asking pertinent questions and keeping the conversation running smoothly. I’m happy that she paired me with doll artist extraordinaire Mimi Kirchner, as we’ve been friends for over 30 years. After recording the interview, we joked about feeling like wise old sages. Here’s Abby’s blog post. You can hear the postcast here. I hope that you enjoy our chat!

Polly’s traveling again

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Polly is proud to show-off her new outfit, which she’ll be wearing during her next trip. She’s especially fond of her Glengarry bonnet! Polly will be visiting relatives in Scotland (my grandfather on the Mavor side was born in Glasgow) and hiking the Great Glen Way from Fort William to Inverness. She’s sure to bring back lots of pictures and stories of her adventures!

etsywidgetlinkMy Etsy Shop is closed during our trip and will reopen June 16th.

Wee Folk in the bugle weed forest

WoodlandFolkinBugleweedWMThe whole Woodland Folk family recently ventured out into the bugle weed forest for some fresh air. Ever since they had the excitement of posing for my new book, it’s been dismal for them, all cooped up inside. The wee folk couldn’t get enough of the natural surroundings!

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Many of you have made your own versions of these dolls by following the directions and patterns in Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures. I hope that you are having as much fun as I am! The book is available through your favorite book seller or from my Etsy Shop (autographed, with extra goodies). Please note: My shop will be closed from May 29 to June 15th.

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