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.

“Hither and Yon” Video!

I’m excited to share this new Hither and Yon video that my husband Rob made. It documents the making and installation of my sculpture, which is part of this summer’s “Portals and Passageways” exhibit at Highfield Hall and Gardens in Falmouth, MA. The show will be there through Sept. 7th, so there’s still time to roam the beautiful grounds and see all of the varied interpretations of the theme.

Over the spring, Rob filmed the making of the piece, starting with a scene of me cutting down the naturally bowed tree I found in the snowy woods. During the next few weeks, I called him into my studio periodically to record different stages of the process; drawing out the lettering, wrapping wire with felt, stitching and forming the words. The film ends with a time lapse sequence showing the installation of the piece at Highfield Hall. Rob and I had so much fun working on this video. I hope that you enjoy it!

I’ve really liked being involved with the exhibit and connecting with some of the other artists. I met Linda Hoffman, who invited me to bring Hither and Yon to her Frog Pond Farm in Harvard, MA for her annual sculpture walk, Around the Pond and Through the Woods. It looks like a beautiful property and she’s picked out a couple of trees for me choose from. We’ll be transporting the sculpture on top of my car and installing it soon after the Falmouth show ends. The exhibit opens Sept. 14th, 1-5 pm and there’s an artist reception on Sun., Sept 21, which I hope to attend.

beach scene from early on

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I made this beach scene In 1982 and haven’t seen it in all these years. Recently, I had the opportunity to borrow it from its owner, so that Rob could take a decent photograph. It’s funny how time and memory can play tricks. The old slide from 1982 was of such poor quality, that not much detail was visible. In my imagination, the piece had shrunk and the composition had changed. I was surprised to see that the piece actually measures 18″ W x 24″ H, utilizes a sewing machine and is mounted on a wooden board. Now-a-days, I hand stitch everything and attach the background fabric to a stretcher.

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During this time, I experimented with small figures, creating bodies with cloth covered wire. These 2″ sunbathers are made with some kind of shiny polyester fabric, something I would be hard pressed to use today. But, I think it gives the illusion of sun tan oiled skin. You can see how I tried to stitch fingers and toes, but they look more like paws.

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Back then, my designs were so much more graphic, with lots of open space. Now, I have a hard time keeping myself from filling in every inch. I’m inspired to find a happy balance somewhere in between. It’s helpful to revisit these pieces from early on, to notice the continuity, as well as changes that inform what I do today.

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last week for 2 exhibits

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Just in case you’ll be anywhere near Lexington, Kentucky or Cape Cod this week, I wanted to let you know that my two summer exhibits will be coming to an end this weekend. I appreciate hearing from many of you, who’ve written to say how much you’ve enjoyed seeing the original artwork. It really is a different experience than seeing printed reproductions, either in my books or on the internet.

Pocketful of Posies is at the Lexington Public Library through Sunday, August 17th and the last day of Salley Mavor: Expressions in Stitches, Then and Now at Falmouth Museums on the Green is Saturday, August 16th (11am – 2pm).

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new book cover

feltweefolknewcoverWarning: this a shameless teaser! I’m so excited about this new book cover that I couldn’t wait to share it with you. The book is still in production and the technical editor and I have been going over the text and photos, making sure that the information and instructions will be as easy to follow as possible. Ann Haley at C&T Publishing has been remarkable in her ability to find errors and point out details that might need clarification. Now the latest edited version is off to the book designer and in September I’ll have another chance to check it through, before it’s sent off to the printer.

I’m so pleased that this crowd scene was chosen for the cover. I submitted a bunch of different images populated by figures that represent the doll projects in the book and this is the most animated. Rob took the shot from a high angle, with each waving doll’s head pointed upward, toward the camera.To see how the scene was photographed, go here. My goal was to give a hint of the fun inside by showing a wide range of wee folk, including, but not limited to fairies.

Autographed copies of Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures: 120 Enchanting Dolls will be in my Etsy Shop after the official publication date of March 1, 2015 (sorry, no pre-orders). If you wait and order from my shop next March, I’ll autograph it and include a special goody. I haven’t decided what kind of item yet, but it could be a new poster of a scene from the book. If you want to pre-order a copy, Amazon has it on their site already. The original book, Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects (including fairy skirts and wings) is available from my Etsy Shop.

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Editing Felt Wee Folk manuscript

Spectacular artifacts

specs1 Last winter, I had the pleasure of being invited to look through the Falmouth Historical Society’s archives and choosing interesting items to be shown alongside my artwork. The museum’s curator, Amanda Wastrom came up with this brilliant idea, which creates a tie between art of today with objects from the past. We discovered many boxes full of delightful surprises, like collections of old eye glasses and doll shoes. There was no question that these favorote finds would be included somehow. specs2I arranged the different styled spectacles, including a selection of green sun glasses on my table top and sewed them to a stretched piece of fabric. Each pair was unique in some way, but I liked playing around with  the commonality of oval shapes of wire and glass. specs5Someone said that these sun glasses made with wire mesh are from the 1700’s. specs6We hung up the glasses display, along with other items from the museum’s archives. Sometimes visitors to my show are confused and think that everything hanging on the wall is from my own personal collection, so I want to clear that up. specs7These dolls’ shoes and miniature knitted mittens melted my heart! ThenandNow13 The exhibit, Salley Mavor: Expressions in Stitches, Then and Now will be showing at Falmouth Museums on the Green until August 16th. I am thrilled that so many visitors have come already! ThenandNow12 shoes

12K Rabbitat Giveaway!

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Three years ago, I commissioned a local filmmaker to make a video about my artwork. In this day and age, moving pictures, with spoken word and music seem to be one the most effective ways of communicating information. Daniel and Elise from Undercurrent Productions did such a great job putting together RABBITAT, using material they recorded in my studio and outside. The film has been an indispensable tool in helping tell the story of my artistic journey.

And, I’m happy to share the news that RABBITAT has gone beyond 12,000 views on Vimeo! To celebrate, I am offering a worldwide Giveaway. To enter, please leave a comment on this blog telling me what subject or theme you are drawn to in either making or looking at art. Two winners will be picked at random on July 31st, to win an 8 x 10 print of Slow Work, Fine Work.

print - Slow Work... Fine Work

print – Slow Work… Fine Work

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).