Eight years ago, I started this blog with the intention of sharing my creative life with the wider world. Back then, I couldn’t have predicted how the regular discipline of writing posts would help me form a personal narrative about my life as an artist. For me, this blog has become much more than a place to publish images of my artwork and show process photos. Over the years, I’ve developed a clearer understanding of why I do what I do, which is to communicate through making things. This platform offers an opportunity to articulate what I think and care about and I thank you for listening and following along!
Today, I am very excited to share a video of my Self Portrait: A Personal History of Fashion, which is set to music in chronological order. Like the dolls’ outfits in my embroidered piece, the sound track reflects my upbringing and personal taste. Some of what you see and hear may even overlap with your memories, especially if you were born in the 1950’s. I hope you enjoy the film – be prepared for a nostalgic experience! Please note that a complete list of songs will scroll by at the end of the video.
In mid-November 2009, the introductory Wee Folk Studio blog post featured my Self Portrait: A Personal History of Fashion. I made the self portrait for an invitational show 10 years ago in 2007. It shows a spiral of little dolls, one for each year, starting with my birth date and a baby in the center, up until age 52 when I made the piece. Each figure is dressed in an outfit I would have worn that year, taken from memories, family photos or my imagination. My husband Rob appears the year we were married and my sons, Peter and Ian, are included through the years when they were little and physically connected to me. Through the progression, you can see my hair gradually graying over time. The wool felt spiral is mounted on upholstery fabric, which I embellished with multicolored french knots. The tatting around the outside of the circle was made by my late grandmother over 100 years ago.
The original framed piece is on semi-permanent display at the Woods Hole Public Library, Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
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With your grandmother’s tatting like a hug over all.
We’re roughly contemporaries. This was lovely. May you enjoy many more years!
Many, many more. Perhaps you should start a companion piece, to represent your third age.
I agree with you, the tatting is so special. I am a bit older but I grew up with an appreciation of the fine art of needlework through my mother and grandmother. It warms my heart to see something so sentimental.
I love this. What a good idea to show each doll individually during the video. I thought I had looked it the piece very carefully before, but clearly, there was lots I had missed!!
What a captivating journey that was. I’m still processing… thank you for sharing this.
I’m just a little older but those were definitely the songs of my life too….funny the memories they bring back. Thanks for the close up shots of the dolls I love looking at the details. Happy Sewing!
Salley, this is just wonderful. I have the poster of this piece, and now I need the whole soundtrack! You’re right – lots of memories. Thanks for sharing this. 👏❤️
What a lovely tribute to yourself. There are millions of teeny, tiny stitches telling a beautiful story. The music was spot on as well, and with the intricacies of the stitches, it was quite mesmerizing. I always enjoy your work, Sally. Keep on stitchin’ on!
You are an amazing artist! I have not commented before but subscribe. I bought your book on making Wee felt dolls quite a few years ago and dont have the discipline, but still enjoy all that you do.
Last night I sorted through a big box of saved pages from sewing magazines and catalogs of clothes I liked and could not stop laughing as I threw out so many … the colors and styles of what I made, purchased, and just plain liked. Your fashion piece is fabulous!!
This is a lasting legacy for your family and for all your fans. So I enjoyed seeing the video as the intricate work was revealed by year, and the colors and details made it beautiful as you are.
Loved the video and your art. Since there’s only 2 years difference in our ages, I can relate to many of the fashions. Beautiful work.
This is just an amazing piece of art. I love looking at it in the book, I always find something new.
Wonderful! I think you raided my closet at some points.
What a good observation that writing about your creativity brings it into greater focus. Maybe we should all think about how we can do this for ourselves.
Can’t begin to tell you how much I love this video showing your progression of time through art and music. Still smiling.
How lovely this is, Salley! I found myself moved to unexpected tears several times. I am just a couple of years older than you, but no matter. We are contemporaries for sure. I remember most of these styles and nearly all of the music. Coiled in a beautiful spiral, it makes one see how many years it takes to get to this stage of life! Don’t stop there, carry on! Thank you for sharing this.
This is the most beautiful work, and the music to go along with each year Salley..absolutely icing on the cake. I just love your work, look forward to every post. Thank you for all you do so many of us can enjoy this.
I wish I had the perfect, eloquent words to express my awe of you and your truly spectacular work. But I find myself truly speechless. You take my breath away!
This is unbelievable, what a great piece of family history, your work is glorious. Keep on sewing, I am hopeful the Trump character will step up again, you helped me through a very low time with your wit. It made me realize all is not lost.
Thank you for this wonderful journey!
Sally, I love your Self Portrait set to music. All very evocative. Many good memories. Ann B. >
I really enjoyed seeing your portraits and hearing your accompanying music…love to you and Rob
LOVE, LOVE, love it Salley !
We have the same birthday 😉 … though not the same year (’46)
My sister, too, in ’52. Yes, it’s the best birthday! Altough some bad things also happened on April 14th – Titanic sinking and Lincoln being shot.😔
Thank you for sharing this. It’s marvelous, both visually and aurally. I’d like to see the dolls that come after 2007, too. I love every part of this- the spiraling outward, the colors, the textures, the multiple layers of craft and fiber. Again, thank you!
That was SO beautiful. I sincerely hope your parents are alive to see this. May everybody appreciate their life, their families, art and music this much! with gratitude…
Thank you for your positive thoughts Julia. Alas, my parents passed a few years before making tbis piece, but their spirit is definitely there!
Thank you, thank you!! I was born in 1950 and the music is very meaningful to me — of course, the fashions too. But you make every outfit look cuter than I remember my own being 🙂 It’s a story I could watch again and again….
What a thoroughly amazing and moving piece of art. It certainly brings back a flood of memories. I am in awe.
Thanks for such an incredible journey! Your love of the needle has not waned , that is evident in this incredible piece. Thanks for sharing and inspiring ! Beautiful artistry and great music. I was born in 1953.
Such a beautiful piece of yourself. We are within a few months of being the same age and it was like looking back at my own life. The music and the attention to detail down to the greying hair just adds to the wonder and magic of this piece. I always enjoy your amazing and beautiful work! Thank you for sharing it!
lots of my favourite music!
Salley, Such beautiful amazing artwork. Meticulously created! I am so inspired by you! Thank you so much for sharing. I was looking back in an old magazine from 1999 of Mary Engelbreits and there you were. Thought I would google your name. I am 65 and just retired from a school district in Oregon. I feel like my life is beginning all over again to be able to explore and create.
Blessings! Keep on sewing❤
Welcome to the wee world, Julie! That article in Mary Engelbreit’s magazine sure helped bring my work to the attention of a lot of people. It sounds like you are already enjoying life as a retiree. Best wishes in your creative pursuits!