Desire doll Raffle

Desire-19535This month, I’ve had the pleasure of making a special doll who represents one of my family’s ancestors. The “Desire Doll” personifies Desire Howland Gorham, who was born in Plymouth Colony in 1623 to John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley, who both came to America on the Mayflower.The doll will be raffled to raise funds for my sister Anne Mavor‘s ground breaking art project, I Am My White Ancestors: Self-Portraits through Time. Her project involves much more than a genealogic study with a list of names and dates. She is striving to understand our ancestors’ motivations in a historical context. I am glad to be a part of Anne’s fundraising efforts and applaud her thought-provoking vision.

~ About the Desire Doll ~
Hand made by me, Salley Mavor, 4″ tall, stands on a weighted stand, extra sturdy bendable body, hand stitched, clothing made of wool and cotton, basket is made from coiled thread-wrapped wire, includes signed tag. This doll uses techniques taught in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures. This is a rare opportunity to have a one-of-a-kind, more involved and detailed doll, as I usually only make them for gifts or for personal/family projects.

~ To enter the raffle ~ Go to Anne’s Hatchfund page, check the green DONATE button on the upper right. Then enter your tax deductible donation, and choose the Special Desire Doll Raffle Perk. The raffle is being run by the not-for-profit grant making and artist advocacy organization Hatchfund. Donations will be accepted until January 31st, with the winner being drawn on Feb.1st.

Her planned art installation will address issues of immigration, colonization, slavery and war through the personal stories of 10 to 12 of our European ancestors, going back through the centuries, as far as she can research. You can find out about Anne’s project here. Desire-1445

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Anne as Eugenia Buchanan (1823-1898) in Orangburg, SC

Anne describes her exhibit this way:
I Am My White Ancestors: Self-Portraits through Time is a multi-media installation that uses my family history to explore the conflicted story of European Americans. It will consist of 10-12 life-size photographic self-portraits of me as my ancestors, printed on fabric panels and accompanied by short audio diaries from each ancestor’s perspective.

This idea grew out of my interest to understand how my heritage impacts me as a white person living in the United States. I was curious to examine issues such as immigration, colonization, slavery, war, and what life was like in Europe. I wanted to know how similar or different I might be to my ancestors, and what I could learn from their lives. Claiming connection to my family history is also one step towards taking responsibility for the past.

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In a recent update about her project, Anne wrote, “My research continues to turn up gems of information. I just learned more about the life of Desire Howland Gorham who will be my 17th Century self-portrait. She was born in 1623 in Plymouth Colony. Her husband John Gorham was an officer in King Phillip’s War, the last stand of Chief Metacomet and the Narragansett Nation against the English settlers in 1678. After the war, the victorious English soldiers each received parcels of former Indian lands, while the surviving Indians were enslaved or shipped off to the West Indies. Gorham died following the war and was buried on the stolen 100 acres he won on Poppasquash Neck in Rhode Island. Desire never lived there. After her death, her slave Totoo requested in his will that he be buried at the feet of his beloved mistress. War, slavery, and theft, contrasted with deep human connections.”

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Books, tree, dollhouse and Instagram

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There’s quite a list of business to cover here. I’ll begin with the news that I just set up an account with Instagram! This will be a way to share spontaneous cellphone photos of projects I’m working on and things I encounter in my life that I find inspiring, from the everyday to the extra special. So, if you’d like to follow along, here’s my Instagram address.

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Exhibits and a Book Signing:
This little goat (detail above) and a donkey and swine from pages 6/7 in Pocketful of Posies (below) are on public display at the Concord Museum in Concord, MA. It’s included in the exhibit Good Night, Sleep Tight: Art from Children’s Literaturewhich features over twenty original illustrations from classic and contemporary children’s books woven around the themes of bedtime, dreams, and lullabies. The exhibit’s up for a nice long run, until May 3, 2015, but this coming Sunday Dec. 7th is Author and Illustrator Day (1:00 ~ 4:00 pm), which is held in conjunction with the annual exhibit, Family Trees: Celebration of Children’s Literature. I’ll be there, along with other authors and illustrators, chatting with museum visitors and signing books. There’s a lot going on at the museum that day, so, if you’re in the area, come over and say hi!

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A few years ago, I participated in the Concord Museum’s Family Trees event, which I wrote about here. For the past two years, I’ve been using those same ornaments to decorate a tree for the Holidays at Highfield event at Highfield Hall in Falmouth, MA.

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My tree, as well as 6 original illustrations from Pocketful of Posies are downstairs in the front hall and my dollhouse is upstairs. Holidays at Highfield is open daily from 10:00 to 4:00 until Dec. 7th.

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2 exhibits, many miles apart

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detail from “Birds of Beebe Woods”

I’m excited to let you know that some of my most popular pieces are included in 2 group shows which are both opening this weekend, one locally in Fall River, MA and the other way across the country in Arizona. Since it’s close to home, I’ll be going to the opening at the Narrows Center for the Arts and hope to meet some you on Sunday, Nov. 8, 4:30 – 7:00 pm.

detail from Rabbitat 2011

detail from Rabbitat 2011

Rabbitat and Birds of Beebe Woods are included in the group show, ART QUILTS XIX: Permission to Play, Storytelling Art Quilts at Vision Gallery , Chandler Center for the Arts, Chandler, Arizona ~ Nov, 7, 2014 – January 17, 2015.

Click on this poster to read the list of artists in Art Quilt XIX:

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And the other show in Fall River…

detail from Self Portrait : A Personal History of Fashion 2007

detail from Self Portrait : A Personal History of Fashion 2007

Self Portrait: A Personal History of Fashion and Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary (from Pocketful of Posies) are included in this group show  ~ MODERN SPIN: CONtemporary TEXTiles in an Historic Mill at the Narrows Center for the Arts, Fall River, MA. Nov. 7 – Dec. 27, 2014. Opening Sunday Nov. 9, 4:30 – 7:00 pm.

from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

Click on the poster below to read the list of artists in Modern Spin:

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Elsie Marley goes to Concord

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I’m pleased to let you know that an original fabric relief illustration from Pocketful of Posies will be part of a special exhibit at the  Concord Museum in Concord, Massachusetts this fall and winter. My contribution is the double page spread of “Donkey, donkey old and gray” and “Elsie Marley, shes so fine, she won’t get up to feed the swine”. I thought this would be a good opportunity to revisit this piece and show some process photos about adding the border.

First, here are the particulars: Oct. 10 – May 3, 2015 ~ Good Night, Sleep Tight: Art from Children’s Literature will feature over twenty original illustrations from classic and contemporary children’s books woven around the themes of bedtime, dreams, and lullabies. My old friend and college mate Beth Krommes will also have an illustration from one of her wonderful books in the show.

I will also be signing books at  Author and Illustrator Day on Dec. 7th at the Concord Museum, Concord, MA. This event is held in conjunction with the annual exhibit, Family Trees: Celebration of Children’s Literature.

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After the illustrations were photographed for the book, I needed to make them presentable for their next life as framed works of art. I cut out pieces of felt to make a border and embroidered them with my initials and the date. Although it took 3 years to make all 51 pieces, I treated the collection as one work and dated each piece 2010, the book’s publication date. Then, I stitched the felt scene and border onto a stretched piece of upholstery fabric. And last, but not least, my husband Rob built wooden shadow box frames for all of them, which you can see here. See posts about making more of the borders here.

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Hither and Yon travels 99 miles

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Earlier this week, we tied Hither and Yon onto the truck and drove 99 miles northwest to its next location in Harvard, MA. To make sure it made the trip in one piece, I wrapped the more delicate, dangling parts with fabric and duct tape. Linda Hoffman, Old Frog Pond Farm’s owner and exhibit coordinator had selected a tree to install my piece. It was at the beginning of a fork in the wooded path, making a natural spot to entice people to walk in the direction of Hither and Yon.

Linda took Rob and me around her amazing property, which includes acres of lovely lily pad ponds, orchards and woods. Her annual sculpture walk at Old Frog Pond Farm was the inspiration for this summer’s Portals and Passageways exhibit at Highfield Hall in Falmouth. Linda and I both had pieces in the show and met at the opening in June. That’s when she asked if I’d like to be a part of her event this fall. I told her that I’d love to and offered Hither and Yon, if the schedule worked out.  Well, it couldn’t have worked out better. We took it down one day and installed it in its new location the next day. Despite being outside all summer, the piece is in very good shape. You can see a video about the making of Hither and Yon here.

I encourage everyone in the Boston area to make the trip out to beau-colic Harvard (the town, not the college) to see this show! I hope to meet some of you at the Opening Artist Reception on the 21st.

Around the Pond and Through the Woods ~ Sculpture Walk at Old Frog Pond Farm, Harvard, MA. Opening Artist Reception, Sept. 21, 2014, 1- 5 pm. (I’ll be there!), Open weekends, 1 – 5 pm until Oct. 5.

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“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.

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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