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.

Cuba: cars

Cubacar7WM

The streets of Havana are full of American (and other) cars from before the Cuban revolution in 1959. It’s said that most have had their motors replaced with Japanese engines, but the old car bodies have been lovingly maintained. We took a ride in a convertible one evening!

Cubacar8WM

 

Cubacar11WMCubacar5WMCubacar10WMCubacar9WMCubacar12WMCubacar4WMCubacar1WMCubacar3WM

Posies is going south in 2015!

PFOPpg2_3WM

I am thrilled to announce that the Pocketful of Posies Traveling Exhibit will be going to the Upcountry History Museum – Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina! This is extra exciting, because southerners have been clamoring for the exhibit to come closer to them. The show dates are October 17, 2015 ~ January 31, 2016, so there’s plenty of time to plan a trip to see it.  I have also been invited to do a book signing and give a talk at the museum sometime in the first half of November, 2015. An added bonus will be a chance to visit the area in SC where my grandmother was born and raised and where our Salley family has been for many generations.

Wouldn’t you know, just as soon as I announced that the exhibit’s 3+ year tour will be winding down, it has picked up momentum. Dana Thorpe, the museum’s director, contacted me last week and we quickly made arrangements. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m no longer actively seeking out new locations, but will respond to inquiries from interested venues. Looking at a map, Greenville is located in the north western corner of the state, near the North Carolina and Georgia borders. I am so pleased that folks from the surrounding cities and towns will be able go and see my original embroidered illustrations!

PFOPdogWM

Cuba: modern dancers

Cubadance6

While in Cuba, we had the pleasure of watching a modern dance troupe in rehearsal. What a treat! They were a fantastic, incredibly talent group of young men and women. The dancers did an elaborate warm-up and then launched into a performance piece, with excellent live drumming. I was busy being mesmerized, while my husband Rob took these photos.

Cubadance2

Cubadance4

Cubadance7

Cubadance3Cubadance5

Cubadance1

Cubadance8

Posies originals at Cotuit Library

PosiesCotuitblog

The next location for the Pocketful of Posies Traveling Exhibit is the Cotuit Library in Cotuit, MA, here on Cape Cod. Founded in 1874 and housed in the former village school house (1830), it’s similar to a lot of small town New England libraries that have slowly grown in size over the years.

Because of tall book stacks against every wall, there is limited exhibit space inside the many rooms. I managed to hang 24 pieces in the library; in a glass case, on walls and on top of book shelves. Finding all of the artwork will be like a treasure hunt. I’m concerned that visitors, especially children, won’t be able to see the detail closeup on several pieces that high up. The glass case near the front door is the best display area for getting a close look.

I’ll be giving a talk at the library on Friday, May 2 at 6:00 pm.

Although I’ve said that the “Posies” tour is winding down, it looks like the exhibit will live on, at least through 2015. If everything goes according to plan, I hope to announce a new venue very soon. I continue to hear from people who want to know how to bring the exhibit to their area. Since I’m focusing on newer projects, I am no longer sending out proposals and actively seeking new locations. But, l will respond to inquiries from interested museums and libraries. That’s how many of the 20 shows in the past 3 1/2 years came about. I am willing to drive up to 3 hours away (from Cape Cod) to deliver and pick up the artwork. That means all of Rhode Island and much of Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire. Locations further away will need to cover the shipping costs. So, if you work at or know someone from an organization that may be interested in hosting the exhibit, please have them contact me.

cotuitlibrary

Cuba: people

CubapeoplepollyWM

We were really struck by the expressive and engaging people in Cuba. On a popular tourist street in Havana, Polly Doll met her match with this character dressed up as a washer woman. Of course, it’s easy to feel like a repressed New Englander anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line, especially in a Latin culture. With the exception of the cigar smoking newspaper seller, the people we encountered while waking around the city loved having their photo taken. Around every corner, there was someone interesting to see!

Cubapeople3WM Cubapeople1WM Cubapeople11WM Cubapeople6WM Cubapeople7WM Cubapeople8WM Cubapeople12WM Cubapeople14WM Cubapeople17WM Cubapeople13WM

Cuba: balconies

Cubabalcony4WM

In Havana, people seem to spend a lot of time looking out at the world from their balconies. In this series of photos from our recent trip, you can get a glimpse of the former elegance of the buildings, which even in their rundown condition, are filled with character and beauty.

Cubabalcony1WM

Cubabalcony9WM

Cubabalcony6WM

Cubabalcony7WM

Cubabalcony5WM

Cubabalcony2WM

 

2 new baby jackets

IMG_9454

Within my sphere of friends, two new baby boys have recently been born. So, I made them each a little jacket, which is my go-to baby gift. I love going through my stash and picking out fabric to use for the outside, lining and bias edging. I’ve used the same Simplicity pattern 9647 for about 30 years, adapting it with cotton quilt batting padding, so it’s warm. Their names are chained stitched on the front. Welcome to the world, Eli and Kieran!

elijacket1

elijacket2

Needle Arts magazine cover

needleartscover

I returned from our trip to Cuba (see posts here) to find my Birds on the cover of the March issue of the Embroiderer’s Guild of America’s Needle Arts Magazine! Of course, I knew about the article, but I was unaware that my piece would be on the cover, so it was a nice surprise. Thank you, Shirley Wozena, for describing my work so well in the article. Mary Corbet’s Needle N’Thread blog has a post about this issue and EGA in general.

It is gratifying to know that many of the magazine’s readers have been introduced to my work for the first time. The article shows photos of the process of making the Birds of Beebe Woods, which are some of the same pictures I’ve shared on this blog. I’ve heard from people who want to know if I have instructions or a kit to make their own. Embroidery and needlework has a strong tradition of copying and learning from patterns and directions, so it’s a natural assumption that I would share my techniques. I’m glad that embroiderers are inspired to learn more, but honestly, I can’t imagine revisiting this piece like that and writing out detailed directions.

Yes, I post photos of general steps along the way and have written how-to instructions for the dolls in Felt Wee Folk, but it only goes so far. For instance, in the past, some have expressed frustration that I haven’t shown detailed instruction on how to form hands and fingers. My answer is that I consider the more involved process of making my fabric reliefs a proprietary personal expression that I’m not sure I can explain effectively anyways. My work requires a non-analytical approach that I don’t want to tamper with. For me, recounting the process would be going back in time, instead of moving forward. And, I don’t want to ruin the magic, because that’s what keeps me excited about making the next piece!

This month has been an embarrassment of riches, in the magazine department. Because of postponements, it just happened that everything came out in March. In addition to Needle Arts, there was the Cape Cod magazine profile. The Horn Book Magazine has my essay, “The Common Thread” in their March/April illustration issue and Fiber Art Now has included my Birds piece in their On View feature.