Treasures – Shirley Temple doll

my mom, Mary Louise Hartwell, about 1930

I saw the new movie, The Artist (see the trailer here) the other night and walked out of the theater thinking about tap dancing, which is featured at the very end. That got me thinking about my mother’s life as a girl during the movie’s time period (late 1920’s-early 30’s). She took tap dancing lessons and I still have her Bell Tone taps, which I sewed into this little hanging I made years ago. It’s a forerunner to the wedding banners I’ve been making lately, which you can see here.

My Mom was one of the lucky girls of her generation to have a Shirley Temple doll, which I now have. The doll has been stored in her original wardrobe trunk all these years.

Shirley Temple was discovered at the age of 3 and became a hugely popular movie star when “Talkies” began to replace silent films in Hollywood in the 1930’s.

 It looks like my Mom peeled off most of the stickers, but here’s one that’s mostly left.

I found Shirley inside, along with a closet and card board drawers full of clothes.

She looks in pretty good shape. I remember seeing the doll as a child, but thankfully, she was kept away from our grubby fingers.

The pile of clothes includes some home-made ones as well as some outfits with “genuine” Shirley Temple tags.

This doll is a treasure to cherish. I’m glad to have this memory of my mother and times past.

Turkey (Bodrum)

I’m still going through the 1000+ photos from our trip to Turkey last fall and have decided to post this group from Bodrum, which is located on the south-western coast.  We had this hill-top view from our hotel, where we stayed before we met up with our chartered boat and started cruising around the area. 

In the morning, we walked downhill into the town, past these white washed houses.

And walked over to see Bodrum Castle, which was built by Crusader Knights in 1402.

We saw suits of chain mail armor on display.

Inside the castle was a museum with ancient stone sculptures lying around the courtyard.

This statues looked better with a head (my husband Rob’s).

We saw amphoras stacked together, as if they were in the hull of a ship.

Then we walked along the pier, wondering which boat would take us out to sea. On top of this bright pink car, the sign says TAKSI. We learned that there is no X in their alphabet.

Fishmongers were set up on the docks.

The next day, we headed out on our cruise, which I wrote about here.

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.”

Happy Hibernation

I thought I’d come out of my blissful hibernation just long enough to show a few pictures of my studio in its current state of messiness (productivity). For some people, winter is to be endured, but I love this time of year, when I can spent hours working on projects, with less distractions. Last winter I spent 4 months working on the Rabbitat piece. See the short film and posts about it here. This winter, I’ve started constructing scenery and characters to use in stop-motion animation, which I’ve wanted to do for a long time. My husband, Rob and I are working together on the project and have started experimenting. We’re not ready to show anything or describe the story yet and are still in the early learning stages of the production. The process is incredibly time-consuming and we’ll be happy if we can put together a 2 minute film. I guess I wanted to show that I’m busy working!

Turkey (cruising)

Last fall, our trip started with a week on a chartered 40′ boat. After loading up with supplies, we embarked from the town of Bodrum on the southern coast of Turkey.

We thought our “gulet’ would be a sailing ship, but the mast and boom held no sails or rigging. It seems that these traditional style boats are rarely seen under sail and are used primarily as motor boats.

There were 4 passengers and 3 crew, including a cook who introduced us to some wonderful Turkish food.

We had beautiful weather, without a drop of rain.

Our captain took us to some secluded harbors.

It was late in the season, so we didn’t see many other boats except for a few fishing vessels.

Some spots had trails which took us to inland homesteads, like this farm.

This cove is called “Cleopatra’s beach”. Who knows if she ever came here, but it’s on a little island with ancient relics all over the place.  

There’s an impressive amphitheatre…

with huge trees growing out of the stone seating.

And what is left of the town’s buildings.

The Mediterranean looked beautiful!

The hills in the background are on the mainland.

One time an ice cream boat came by!

A week on the water was a wonderful, relaxing way to be start our visit to Turkey.

We headed back to Bodrum (I’ll show more in a future post) and flew to Istanbul the next day.

Piano Pin

An old friend asked me to make a pin for his wife. Even though I don’t usually do commissions, I couldn’t say no to this request.  

David Wiesner (the amazing children’s book illustrator) and I were in the same class at RISD (1978) and he bought some of my pins back then. See posts about my pins here. He gave them to his future wife, Kim Kahng, who was a student at Jefferson Medical School in Philadelphia during that time. At RISD, David and I were lucky enough to have David McCaulay as a teacher. See the pyramid pin I gave him here. Several years ago, David and Kim’s apartment was destroyed by a fire and everything was lost, including the pins.  Years passed and David was reminded of the pins when we recently got back in touch. He thought it would be nice for Kim to have a new pin. I found out that she is a pianist and since I had just returned from visiting Istanbul, where carpets are sold at every street corner, I made a piano flying on a carpet. The pin is about 1 1/4″ x 2″. As you can see I made use of hooks and eyes. David reports that Kim is wearing the pin every day! I’m amazed at how the pins I made 35 years ago still hold memories.

Horn Book poster winner!

I am overwhelmed by the response to the Horn Book poster giveaway! Thank you to everyone (107) who entered. I am very touched by so many lengthy, thoughtful and generous comments on the giveaway post, well beyond the usual minimal missives.


Drum roll, please. The winner is Marianne Monaghan! I’ll notify her by e-mail and find out where to send the poster. Anyone who’d like to buy posters ($7 within the US, $10 outside the US) from the Horn Book can call (Eastern Standard Time) or email any of the following:

800-325-9558 ext 7942,  614-873-7942,

I gave a poster to Woods Hole Library Director Margaret McCormick, to hang up in our library.

I just had to show you this picture of one-year-old Helen dressed as a lamb, which was in the most recent Woods Hole Library newsletter. Her mother, Kellie Porter was working at the desk in the library when I brought in the poster. Kellie and I were both surprised to see the similarity between her daughter/lamb and my little girl/lamb swinging from the tree in the poster. I made the artwork for the magazine this past summer and Kellie hadn’t seen the Horn Book cover until I showed her the poster, so the resemblance was unexpected. By the way, Helen’s costume is not homemade, but I think it could easily be copied. I wish I had thought to add a collar and bell!