I’m still organizing pictures from our trip to France last fall. Here I am, taking photos of the many picturesque buildings we saw in Provence and in the towns and villages along the Canal du Midi.
This 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.
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.
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.”
I am pleased to announce the upcoming release of my newest how-to book.
Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures: 120 Enchanting Dolls by Salley Mavor, C&T Publishing ©2015, 160 pages, 8″ x 10″.
Books may be pre-ordered from my Etsy Shop here. Your order will be sent when the book is released in late February 2015. Books ordered from my Etsy Shop will include some extra goodies; autograph, a winter scene poster (folded flat) and faux flowers to make 2 fairies.
Rob and I had such fun filming the process of making a fairy doll for this book trailer:
This long-awaited all-doll version expands the wee world introduced in the original edition of Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects (C&T Publishing 2003), with pictures, directions and patterns for making more bendable figures with a variety of hairstyles, outfits, and armatures.
Favorite doll projects from the first book, including acorn-capped blossom fairies and other fanciful wee folk make a return appearance. As requested by fans, more challenging techniques, such as wig making are added, making this book suitable for all skill levels, from the beginner who is learning the blanket stitch to the experienced embroiderer who relishes fine stitching.
The book is bursting with inspirational photographs of little characters set up in miniature worlds, from woodland scenes to doll houses, to fairy gardens. A certain type of person enjoys creating and looking into tiny, enchanting worlds and this book is for them! These dolls appeal to the child within you, no matter your age.
Take a behind the scenes look at photo shoots for the book here.
Upcoming book signing events (poster included with book purchase):
Sunday, March 8th at 3:00pm — Book Release party at Eight Cousins Bookstore, Falmouth, MA
Sunday, March 15th at 2:00 pm — Book Signing and short presentation, Return of the Wee Folk at the Sandwich Public Library, Sandwich, MA
Greetings on this News Years Day. I found a quote attributed to Buddha, “The trouble is, you think you have time.” I love how the words resonate differently with different people. For my husband, it says to stop futzing about and get going. For me, it points to the concept of now, at the present moment, and our whole misunderstanding of time as something to “have”.
While searching through my photographs for one I could use for the quote, I found several scenes that pictured paths and roadways pointing toward vanishing points. The theme seems appropriate as we head into 2015.
I spent a little time this week taking still life photographs. Rob is giving me tips about lighting and operating my camera. Some of the photos show seasonal arrangements and others are permanent displays around the house. While looking for things to take pictures of, I noticed that almost every object in our house has been in Rob’s or my family for a long time. It’s an eclectic collection of stuff, from a 3 ft. high bronze Buddha my great grandfather bought from a missionary in Russia in the late 1900’s to tiny silver salt shakers Rob inherited. Very few items are new or were purchased by us. Both of our families are small and we have become the keepers of the past by default.