Bed book peek: Iran (part 2)

Let’s get back to the illustration that I introduced last week in Bed book peek: Iran (part 1).  I had so much fun choosing fabrics that reflect the design and color palette in Persian Miniatures. Over the years, I’ve amassed enough bits and pieces of cloth that I can usually find something that works, without buying anything new. For storage, I use the ubiquitous plastic bins, as well as clear zipper bags that bedding and sheets are sold in. The bags are most handy, because you can glimpse what’s inside without sorting trough the whole lot.

For the rooftop wall, I used tube beads for posts, sewing matching large seed beads to one end.  As you can see, basting helps hold pieces in place until the final stitching. The tatting in the window was made by grandmother over 100 years ago. 

Even though the perspective is not realistic, I still had to convey a believable sense of space, with receding and advancing planes.

Every window, door and wall presented an opportunity to embellish and add another set of colors to the mix.

These bead heads are some of the tiniest I’ve painted.

This couple will be looking out the window. The woman’s dress is felt and her head scarf is silk from a collection of triangle shaped remnants I was given at a tie factory 40 years ago. The silk is cut on the bias and every once in a while a snippet is just the right thing to use. I keep thinking that one day I’ll make a silk quilt…


My first impulse was to make the woman shorter than the man, clearly an unconscious nod to cultural norms.  I reconsidered and decided to make the woman taller. It’s funny how a silly thing like that can feel revolutionary.

For the courtyard tiles, I chain stitched outlines on a warn piece of upholstery fabric.

The courtyard will be surrounded by a wall in the foreground. As an accent, I added parts of an Art Deco necklace from a deceased relative. For me, inherited jewelry holds the most promise of being used and passed on through my artwork.

Please stay tuned for Part 3 in this series.

The scene will be included in My Bed , which will be a book about where children sleep around the world, with each spread depicting a different culture and living environment. The story is written by Rebecca Bond and will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2020. Here are links to posts showing other finished illustrations for the book: South America, JapanIndiaAfghanistan and Russia.

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Update: Signed copies of My Bed can ordered in my shop here. 40 pages, 9″ x 9″, words by Rebecca Bond, pictures by Salley Mavor, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-544-94906-5

7 thoughts on “Bed book peek: Iran (part 2)

    • Ha, ha Paula. Yes, I get a good night’s sleep and cook dinner! It’s true that I work all the time (just ask my husband). To meet the book deadline, I’ll be at it 7 days a week, plus evenings for the next 6 months. It’s all because we HAD to make the movie, “Liberty and Justice”, which used up about a year that I’d scheduled for this book. The true is I don’t mind it that much and know that I’ll join the world again when it’s finished. Like most artists, I have a rich interior life and am enjoying the excuse to delve deep into it.

  1. Exquisite. And such a creative way to use cherished pieces of family treasures! I’m so looking forward to seeing the finished piece. Will you be working on an African bedroom?

  2. Just wonderful Salley. Thank you for all the information. It’s coming together beautifully. Best wishes from the UK Sandra

  3. I was reading your comment to Paula and it really struck a cord with me. When you’re an artist working at home, you’re never finished! There’s always more to do. You just keep trudging up to the studio and keep working!

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