beach scene from early on

Beachblog

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.

Beachssunbathers

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.

Beachwomaninchair

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.

Beachsandcastle

“Then and Now” sampler

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

ThenandNow12

 

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).

Borrowing from the past

ThenandNow1

I’ve been contacting people who own pieces that I’ve made over the past 30 years and asking to borrow artwork for my upcoming exhibit, Salley Mavor: Expressions in Stitches, Then and Now at Museums on the Green in Falmouth. Most of the fabric reliefs are from local collections, so it’s been relatively easy to arrange pickup. And I’ve enjoyed visiting the people who were early supporters of my work in the 80’s and 90’s. It’s been long enough that some pieces have been passed down to the next generation. I’m grateful to the owners for loaning the work, as many of them have never been exhibited publicly. It will be a kind of retrospective show, which covers the transition from my early work to what I’m making now. The exhibit will also include items I’ve selected from the museums archives–stuff that stuck my fancy and seems to go.

Since this may be the only chance, I’ve been removing some pieces from their frames and Rob is taking digital photos. Looking at them closely has brought back memories of the years when I made them. I’m amazed that I was so productive during the 80’s, especially with young children around. In a way, life wasn’t as complicated. We stayed home a lot and I spent every spare moment focusing on my artwork.  I found a wonderful neighbor who ran a home daycare and I worked every evening after the kids went to bed. There were less distractions; we had no TV or computer. Remembering this time makes me nostalgic for a simpler life. I bet almost every person reading this post feels the same. So much for my wistful musings–I’m going to put on my thimble and pick up my needle and thread and get to work!

I hope that many of you will be able to see this show. I will be writing more about it and posting more pictures in the next few weeks. Here are the particulars:
July 4 – August 16, 2014 ~ Salley Mavor: Expressions in Stitches, Then and Now Falmouth Museums on the Green, Falmouth, MA. Historical needlework from the museum’s collection will be exhibited alongside the contemporary embroidered artwork of Salley Mavor.  Sat., July 19th – “Tea at the Museum” and Artist Talk – 1:00 -3:00 pm.

studio6_14

 

Mothers

MHALL45WM

On this Mother’s Day, I’d like to share some of my artwork that depict mothers. The domestic scene above is an illustration from Mary Had a Little Lamb. And the one below shows the kitchen in my book, In the Heart. 

pg_10_11WM

This detail from my Self Portrait: A Personal History of Fashion, covers the years when my children were very young and physically attached to me.

MavorSelfPortraitMotherWM

I made this “Old Mother Hubbard” ornament for the Family Trees Exhibit in Concord, MA.

old motherhubbardWM

And finally, here’s The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, from my book Pocketful of Posies which peels away the sugar coating of motherhood.

PFOPpg24_25

Noah’s Ark Poster

noahs ark Etsy

I am pleased to announce the addition of another 18″ x 24″ poster to my Etsy Shop. The poster is new, but the original NOAH’S ARK piece was made 28 years ago!

I remember working on it during a transitional period, when I created animals that were similar in size and style to my pins (see them here), which I sewed to dyed and appliqued cotton velveteen background fabric. The animal’s legs are formed with tube beads. I also remember finding the orange upholstery fabric that’s around the border while shopping at a large fabric store in Berkeley, CA. I can recall playing around and re-positioning the animals for a long time until they looked right. It was also during a time when I fell in love with hand embroidering little leaves on bushes and trees. You can see some details of the animals and landscape below.

The NOAH’S ARK Poster is available from my Etsy Shop here.

4394805.pdf

4394805.pdf

4394805.pdf

4394805.pdf

 

Close-ups (women)

The women in my artwork are usually busy doing something. They’re harvesting, teaching, doing handwork, cooking, washing and talking, etc. I use arm gestures to bring my figures to life in an otherwise static medium. And I like the keyhole shape that a woman in a skirt makes.

pickingpeasWM

detail from “Picking Peas” fabric relief 1986

MHALLteacherWM

detail from “Mary Had a Little Lamb” book published in 1995

MHALLknittingWM

detail from “Mary Had a Little Lamb” book published in 1995

storytellerWM

detail from “The Storyteller” fabric relief 1995

ITHpg1011

detail from “In the Heart” book published in 2001

The mother in the kitchen is from my book, In the Heart and the last 2 close-ups are from my book, Pocketful of Posies.

PFOPpg15WM

PFOPpg40_41WM