Close-ups (chairs)

It’s been a while since I’ve shown some closeups, so here’s one about chairs. See the archived posts from the Close-ups Series here.

I use chairs as perches for my little dolls. The trick is making the chairs in shallow relief, so that they don’t stick out too far in my pictures. The first photo shows a girl sitting on a chair made from milled wooden pieces that are used in doll house miniatures.

detail from "The Storyteller" 1998

detail from “The Storyteller” 1998

George’s chair is made with old worn upholstery fabric. The chair’s feet are sculpted with Fimo. Read about and see more pictures from “The Storyteller” and “George’s Chair” in another post here.


Detail from “George’s Chair” mid 90’s

Mary’s mother sits knitting in this detail from Mary Had a Little Lamb. I only had to show a board in the back and one chair leg to achieve her pose.


These little women from The Hollyhock Wall are about 1 1/4″ tall, so their chairs are tiny. They were made of wire wrapped with grey embroidery floss.


The yellow high chair is made from miniature doll house wooden parts. It’s in the kitchen scene in my picture book In the Heart. I was able to get some copies when it went out of print, so I’m offering autographed books for a good price in my Etsy shop.

detail from picture book “In the Heart” 2001

Here are a couple of details from Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes. The girl is sitting in a wicker chair made with floral cloth wire.


Detail from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

Scallop shells serve as a hat and chair back for this character in “Posies”.

Detail from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

Detail from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

Wedding Banner: Kat & Devin

Last Sunday, we had the pleasure of attending Kat and Devin’s wedding.The bride’s family and my family have been closely connected through several generations. Kat’s grandparents and my grandparents were next door neighbors in Woods Hole in the 1940’s and our families have shared our love of folk dancing, folk music, sailing, and art ever since. Kat is an artist and her husband seems to be a free spirit. Here’s a picture of the dancing wedding couple.

As usual,  I made them a wedding banner for a gift. I really lucked out with the felt  colors I chose, since the wedding’s predominant color was purple/lavender.  I bent wire into the letters of their names and then picked out some decorative objects and beads. The pinkish square object in the center, between their names is a cool leather button I bought years ago.

I then wrapped the wire letters with embroidery floss and stitched the square wavy edged name panel with variegated pima cotton.

I sewed the wire letters and objects to the felt piece.

Then I stitched around the outside edge of the felt  banner piece and sewed the square panel in place. I added some fun “dalmatian” stone beads in a zig zag pattern.

I added some bead  and shell embellishments to the scalloped bottom edge and sewed the wrapped wire wedding date to the felt.

I picked some metal beads from India that I thought would bring an interesting texture to the hanging part of the banner.

A section of a strangled bittersweet vine serves as a hanger. I screwed in tiny metal eyes and hung the banner. I hope Kat and Devin like the banner. It was a lovely wedding and I wish the bride and groom many years of happiness!

Rabbitat (stitching details)

The Rabbitat film has been viewed over 4000 times (13,000 in November 2014) since it was posted on Vimeo, 9 months ago! To celebrate, I’ve put together a selection of process photos, most of which have not been published before. Posters of Rabbitat (on left) are available from my Etsy shop. The original fabric relief piece is currently on display until January 17, 2015 ~ ART QUILTS XIX: Permission to Play, Storytelling Art Quilts at Vision Gallery , Chandler Center for the Arts, Chandler, Arizona. Two of my most popular pieces are included in this exhibit ~Rabbitat and Birds of Beebe Woods.

















Etsy shop open for business

I’ve finally joined the rest of the world by opening an Etsy shop! It’s taken a while for me to figure out what kind of items to sell, since I’ve given up mass-producing dolls and kits, etc. I could have really used a service like this 30 years ago, or even 10 years ago. At the moment, I’m happy to offer three brand new posters of some of my more popular fabric relief pieces; Self Portrait: A Personal History of Fashion, Rabbitat and On Halloween.

The 18″ x 24″ posters are high quality reproductions, printed on sturdy 100 lb. paper. My sister, Anne Mavor did a beautiful job with the graphic design–so tastefully done. I’m very excited to be offering these, so please visit my shop!

Baby Banner (Eliza Jane)


My cousin John and his wife Mariana had a baby girl on March 1st, so I had to drop everything and make a baby banner for Eliza Jane. I took photos along the way, which give an idea of my process. It’s like the wedding banners I’ve been making for a few years. You can see all of them here.

I first made a simple pattern, with her name, birth date and weight written out. Then I cut out a smaller felt square and bent wire to form the letters and numbers.

I wrapped the wire with 2 strands of variegated embroidery floss, hiding the knots behind the curled ends. In this case, wire had to overlap to make the Z. I tried making the fancier lower case script Z, but it was hard to read, so I went with the simpler zigzag style. Below you can see how I made an orange stripe with another thread on top of the embroidery floss in JANE.


I like using variegated thread to edge the felt.


I made a narrow panel for a sheep button and some leaf beads.


Glass leaf beads and a chain stitched vine fill the space between the words.


I’ve had this ceramic sheep button for about 30 years. It’s so satisfying to put it to use in just the right place.



I braided some Greek leather that I bought at a bead show and made a strap to hang the banner. Working with the leather reminded me of making gimp projects at camp. Remember gimp? What a weird material!




Welcome to the world Eliza Jane!


Posies show coming to Fresno, CA

I’m happy to announce that the Pocketful of Posies Traveling Exhibit is going coast to coast! 25 original fabric relief illustrations from Pocketful of Posies, plus some illustrations from my other books will be displayed at the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature, Henry Madden Library, California State University, Fresno, CA, from March 18 – May 27, 2013.

This arrangement came about because a librarian at the Arne Nixon Center saw my illustration on the cover of the current issue of Horn Book Magazine. (See how I made the cover artwork here.) She found out about the touring exhibit and inquired about sending the artwork to Fresno. Luckily, half of the pieces in the show are available during the time slot she was interested in, so they’ll be shipped to California in a little over a year. The other half will be shown at Cedarhurst in Mt. Vernon, Illinios about the same time, from Feb. 23rd to May 5th, 2013.

Plans are in the works for the show to travel to some other locations, which I’ll announce when arrangements are confirmed. I’m so glad that people in different areas of the country will be able to see my work “up close and personal”. Inquiries from non-commercial, secure venues with museum lighting and a shipping budget are welcome. (

2 more weeks to see “Sewn Stories” in Brattleboro, VT

Self Portrait detail

My show, Salley Mavor: Sewn Stories will be at the Brattleboro Museum in Vermont for just 2 more weeks. It’s a wonderful little museum in a great town! Many people have seen the exhibit since it opened last July , but I know there are others who have been thinking about going, so now is the time. The show will be there through Sunday, February 5th, 2012.


The show includes several originals from Pocketful of Posies as well as illustrations from some of my other books. My Self Portrait: A Personal History of Fashion and Rabbitat are on display, too. After the show ends, the self-portrait will be returning to its semi-permanent home at the Woods Hole Public Library.

I don’t usually toot my own horn so loudly, but I want to share a few sentences from this review of the show, which came out in Art New England: 

“In astonishing detail, Mavor’s work above all conveys an artist who is entirely present. Beyond merely illustrating a story or poem, she brings us into it. Engaging with these works is like searching for stars in the night sky–at first we don’t recognize the extent of the delicate endless stitching, but as we keep our eyes focused, more and more appear. Surely her thread is gossamer, her fingers unimaginably nimble.”