doll house play


Yesterday, I witnessed the sight of real children playing with my doll house! Some friends came over to my studio with their grandchildren, who immediately engaged with the dolls and miniatures in and around the house. You may wonder why I find this so remarkable, especially since I constructed and decorated it almost 40 years ago. For most of those years, the house has been packed away or displayed behind glass. My sons weren’t interested in playing with it, so I offered to have it shown in the children’s room at the Falmouth Public Library. It stood there for several years in a case near the check out desk, out of reach of children’s hands. When the library was renovated and didn’t have a space for the house, I took it back and it has since been gathering dust in a corner of my studio.


I loved watching the children manipulate and position the dolls with their small hands.

The house has been out on my center table lately, because I’ve been fixing it up for a photo shoot of some projects that will be in the 2nd edition of Felt Wee Folk (2015 release date). I’m also sprucing it up for display at the Holidays at Highfield event later this year at Highfield Hall in Falmouth. The 10 day event will feature a tree decorated with Pocketful of Posies ornaments that I made for the Family Trees exhibit at the Concord Museum last year (see posts here).

Nov. 29 ~ Dec. 8, 2013, Original embroidered artwork, a tree full of ornaments and a doll house all handmade by Salley Mavor will be on display at The Holidays at HighfieldHighfield Hall, Falmouth, MA. Open daily 12 pm ~ 4 pm


15 thoughts on “doll house play

  1. What an adorable dollhouse Salley!! I am so glad it will be displayed in Falmouth for many to see, but so cute for you to see children interacting with it now in your studio! Once again, your talent is limitless and I so enjoy seeing your art work! Happy Fall to you and your family!

  2. My mother has just received my old doll’s house back into her home, since my niece is too big for it now and her little brother too destructive. It will have to wait a few years now until my little grandchildren are big enough to play with it. Mind you, I rarely actually played with it, I just loved making things for it and decorating it.

  3. I love BEST the carpet being lawn-mowered!

    What fun the little ones have been having in the room upstairs, barely any floor space left to step through.

    I have always loved 6-7-8 year-olds playing with my toys – if anyone lacks delicacy or respect, it’s such a useful teaching moment to show them how much more fun it is to actually engage in real play.
    And best of all, I have always asked them not to clear up after play, because putting everything away afterwards is how I get to really discover the imagination they’ve used (not to mention getting re-acquainted with everything I’ve made or acquired over the years)

  4. I agree with ushashi… I was so tickled to see how a visiting 5 year old had played with my dollhouse and other doll toys. Once she left, I gradually noticed precious scenes or changes she had made.

    And I’m so thrilled there will be a second Wee Folk. I was JUST working on a pirate before I took a break to eat and visit the computer this moment! I was thinking that even though I’ve had the first one for years, it has never lost its magic. The photos are mouth-watering!!!

  5. How enchanting is this house!! Aren’t we lucky that we can still play with our toys too!! I am making fabric books at the moment with little characters that slot into pockets etc.
    When I was a Junior Primary teacher, I always had a dolls house in my classroom.I wish I had taken photos of how the children would decorate the house- especially at Christmas time.They would come to school with items they had made at home and on the weekend ,to put in the house.Most times I had 2 houses, as the demand on the one house became too much.
    Thanks for these charming photos!

  6. What a delight to see the little children playing with your doll house. I remember loving my metal one and I played with it many hours. Your “people” are so pretty and special. Thank you for sharing this. Love your blogs!!!

  7. you must have been thrilled to see the little girls getting so much pleasure form your beautiful little house. Shame I do not live nearer as I would have loved to see it on display.

  8. Oh my gosh, Salley. I have the same little rolltop desk and chair as is in your doll house upstairs bedroom. Mine was purchased for me in Mexico City! about 1962 when I was there for 3 months with my mother who was a linguist studying ancient Aztec languages. I distinctly remember seeing it in a shop window and wanting it desperately! We talked about it, didn’t get it, but in several days my mother finally gave in. I have cherished it all these years and still keep it in a special place. I’m so glad you have one too! I’m wondering where you got yours…….

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