“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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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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My sister Anne’s exhibit at Highfield

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My sister, Anne Mavor is visiting from Portland, OR this week. She’s having a show of her beautiful encaustic paintings at Highfield Hall in Falmouth, MA. The exhibit, Ancient Landscapes: A Spirit of Place will be on display until July 6th. She will also be giving a talk about her work on Sunday, June 1 at 1:30 pm. And look at the banner out front!

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Anne uses watercolors on a wax-translucent wall medium base, which makes her paintings look very different from other encaustic work. You can read more about her technique here.

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I love this photo of Anne painting with our Mom in Maine in 1962. This is such a typical scene. Mom was always creating artwork of all kinds.

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And this one of Anne with Dad in the mid 50′s.

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Anne’s paintings are of ancient sacred landscapes based on research photos taken by our father, James W. Mavor and herself. Several pieces in the exhibit at Highfield Hall are of local scenes from Falmouth and the Elizabeth Islands. I encourage you to go see this show–it’s stunning!

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She writes, “When I was 17, my family took a trip to the British Isles where we visited ancient stone and mounds built by Neolithic and Bronze age cultures 3,000-7,000 years ago.  My father was enthralled with these sites and their spiritual and astronomical meanings.  This interest became his full time passion for the next 40 years until his death in 2006.  His book Manitou: The Sacred Landscape of New England’s Native Civilization, brings together those years of research.

For my part, I never forgot the experience of walking through those sites. The stones were like groups of people meeting together and the mounds like large mammals hibernating. For the past two years, I have been painting images of those sites using my father’s research photos as inspiration.  It has become a form of collaboration through time, combining the creative efforts of the ancient people, my father’s passion, and filtered through my hands and eyes.”

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Studio report, spring 2014

Studio-HDR3blog I thought I’d take a break from showing my Cuba pictures (more coming) and report on what’s been happening in the studio. Not long ago, I noticed the early evening light streaming in from the windows on the west side. This is the only time of year that it looks this way. The sun’s position was low and shone through the still bare trees. I asked my husband Rob to quickly take a photo, which he did.

You’ll have to imagine what the rest of the room looks like right now, because I’m in the process of working on projects that are secret or just not ready to show yet. I’m making three sets of wedding cake dolls as gifts for friends who are getting married this summer. Of course, I want them to be a surprise, so they’ll be shown after the weddings.

And, I’m excited about making a large sculpture for the Portals and Passageways outdoor exhibit  at Highfield Hall in Falmouth, MA this summer (June 29 – Sept 7, 2014). Working on this large piece has been very different for me and we’ve taken photos and videos along the way. I’ll show them after my sculpture is installed in June. Update: See how my sculpture, Hither and Yon was made here.

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I’m happy to report that my sister, Anne Mavor is also having an exhibit at Highfield!  Ancient Landscapes: The Spirit of Place will feature paintings from her Mounds and Stones series, which was inspired by our late father, James W. Mavor, Jr., an astro-archaeologist who traveled the world documenting the connections between the land and sky at ancient sacred sites.

Soon, I’ll be gathering some of my older pieces, which will be borrowed from their owners for the upcoming exhibit, Salley Mavor: Expressions in Stitches: Then and Now, at Museums on the Green in Falmouth, MA (July 4 – Aug. 16, 2014). Historical needlework that I picked out from the museum’s collection will be shown alongside my contemporary embroidered artwork. I’m really looking forward to working with the curator and figuring out how to display some of the historical items.

More goings on:
Pocketful of Posies Exhibit
Cotuit Library, Cotuit, MA until May 27th. My talk is on May 2 @ 6:00 pm.
Lexington Public Library, Lexington, Kentucky (July 5 – Aug. 17, 2014).

Posies originals at Cotuit Library

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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.

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Birds in New Bedford

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The Birds of Beebe Woods is currently on display at Artworks in New Bedford, MA. It’s part of the Fiber in the Present Tense exhibit, which runs through March 29th. If you get there, please be aware that Gallery 65 on William is just around the corner, where 28 original illustrations from Pocketful of Posies are being shown, (hours: W, T, F, S 11:00 – 5:00).

I will be out of town and won’t be able to attend their openings, which are both on Sat., March 8th from 3 – 5 pm. But, I will be giving a lecture at the closing reception for the “Posies” exhibit at Gallery 65 on William on Sat., March 29th, 3 – 5 pm. I hope to meet some of you then!

Posies at Gallery 65 on William

pages 48/49 from "Pocketful of Posies"

pages 48/49 from “Pocketful of Posies”

On Monday, we hung 28 original illustrations from Pocketful of Posies in Gallery 65 on William in New Bedford, MA. The show begins tomorrow and closes on March 29 (please note: During March, they are open Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, 11 am – 5:00 pm). I’ll be giving a lecture at the closing reception on Sat., March 29, 3-5 pm. It’s a delightful cooperative gallery in the cobble-stoned historic part of the city, which is operated by a group of local artists and craftspeople. I met one of the coop members, Nicole St. Pierre, at a Surface Design Association meeting last year. She invited me to show my work in a space at the back of the gallery set up for revolving “guest” exhibits. We picked March because it was during “fiber month” in New Bedford and there was a gap in the Pocketful of Posies touring schedule.

With the 4 year tour winding down, I am making the work available for sale. All of the 28 pieces in this exhibit have a price listed, ranging from $2,500 to $6,500. The other 23 pieces have either sold and gone to new homes or remain in my collection. Interested buyers may call or visit the gallery (508) 994-1595 during open hours, 11:00 am – 4:30 pm, Thurs, Fri and Sat.

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Maker’s in Business interview

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Liz Smith for her cable program, Makers in Business, which is taped in Lowell, MA. I heard about the show through my friend Mimi Kirchner, who was a guest on an earlier episode. Liz’s welcoming style, along with her knowledge and insight made for an enjoyable conversation.  The series is focused on the business side of art, so in addition to giving some background information about what I make, I talked about my different experiences in the market. Thank you Liz, for having me as a guest on your show!

You listen to an audio version of the program here.