The Red Chair

During the 80’s and 90’s, life was simpler. At least it seems that way, looking back. All I did was take care of my family and make art. That was before the internet, social media, Netflix and all the other ways of “connecting” and being entertained. So, I look back nostalgically at some of the artwork I made back then, like The Red Chair. It is one of the few pieces that I held onto from that period. I just couldn’t bring myself to sell it and it’s been hanging in my studio for 26 years.

From time to time, I’ve offered printed reproductions of The Red Chair in my shop, where they’ve been a favorite gift for new mothers. The cards have also been popular with breast feeding organizations, who’ve purchased them in bulk. Note Cards and Prints are again available in my shop.
Set of 4 Note Cards – $10.00 Buy here
8 x 10 Print – $15.00 Buy here

Back when I made the piece, my figures were flat in the back, in shallow relief (about 1 inch max). For the skin, I used an old woven wool petticoat of my grandmother’s (she was born in 1890). The cloth had been laundered so many times in hot water that it had felted to the point where you couldn’t see the weave. After painting the cloth with fabric paint, I’d embroider the faces. I had to rip out the stitching over and over, until their expressions came out the way I wanted. I used every last inch of that petticoat until it was all gone and I’ve never been able to find anything comparable. So many of the materials and found objects I’ve used over the years are one-of-a-kind, which forces me to adapt and tailor my approach to meet the needs of every new piece.

The chair was modeled after one in our living room that came from my (wool petticoat) grandmother. I changed the straight angular back into a rounded curve, which seemed to better reflect the subject matter. I sculpted the chair feet with Fimo dough. I used upholstery fabric for the chair, wallpaper (embellishment added), floor and carpet.
If you’re wondering about the Buddha, it’s been treasured by my family for 4 generations, ever since my great-grandfather, James Mavor bought it from a missionary while visiting Russia in the late 1800’s.

Opportunity to Pre-order MY BED

My upcoming picture book My Bed is now available for pre-order in my shop here. It’s release date is isn’t until Oct., but people have asked if they can order autographed copies ahead. So, if you put your order in now, I’ll have a better idea of how many copies to get. The book will be shipped to you as soon as it arrives!

It’s been 10 years since Pocketful of Posies came out and for years I honestly didn’t know if I’d ever feel like doing another picture book. With such a labor intensive techniques, illustrating a book is a big commitment! I needed the freedom to make other kinds of art, which I’ve done. But, I missed being a part of the children’s book world, so here we are!

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6 thoughts on “The Red Chair

  1. Sally, I couldn’t have sold it either. That’s a family heirloom of the finest sort. I love the art and the stories.

  2. Hello, I do so love you!

    I have just pre-ordered your book (MyBed) If it can be mailed for less when the time comes, that would be nice for me – but I’ll pay whatever it takes to get it into my world. I have so very much enjoyed looking over your shoulder as you created so many parts of it, it is already a memorable treasure.

    As for your affection for The Red Chair, well, thank you, thank you, thank you, for having been and continuing to be, the unique you that you are, in every way.


    PS (I too must confess to having saved my cast-off worn-out underwear, for the uses the remaining bits of them can be put to, have been put to, that nothing else will quite do, to fill just that need… especially in making miniatures, and doll skin…)


  3. I love this image. When I breastfed my son for 22 months, everyone gave me a hard time. They felt it inappropriate to go on so long. My son’s pediatrician ordered me to wean by two years. Now the “authorities” see the benefits and are more encouraging. But, I loved the quiet, relaxing cuddle time. I don’t believe I caused any harm.
    On another note, I can well imagine that it is hugely labor intensive to illustrate a book. On top of that you manage to post about it on social media nearly every day. I don’t even post anything online, other than comments, but I spend loads of time looking. I know artists are advised that they should be posting every day, but I rather wish you all would cut back. As much as I love the daily flood of artwork, from artists and museums, it is rather overwhelming. I like having a broad mix of art (and other types of posts) in my feed, but it takes time to scroll through and read everything. Every artist has his or her style, and for most artists, there isn’t that much variation in each day’s posts. I end up having to choose between unfollowing people I like and seeing pretty much the same thing day after day and losing interest in it. I would love to see posts spaced further apart. You are one of the few artists who varies your posts enough to keep it entertaining day to day, and I never tire of your work. Just saying, there is pleasure in non-screen time, with more time to create and read, without Fear of Missing a post or story. I don’t think anyone is going to forget an artist, or stop following them, if a week goes by between posts. It would give us a chance to follow more people.

  4. With the pandemic across the globe and daily reminders of its impact filling the airways, even as I self isolate safely in my own home and garden, whenever I see again one if your WeeFolk images Salley, I long to just enter it, shrink into the welcoming comfort of the lovely rooms, curl up in one of the cosy beds or even that red chair. Just the kind of daydreaming as a small girl reading my story books made me feel.
    Delightful images coming across the Atlantic as a small antidote to the virus. Thanks Salley

  5. Dear Salley,
    I bought a copy of A Pocketful of Posies and saw that the dust jacket was torn. Before I gave the book to my granddaughter I carefully cut out all the individual characters from the front and back of the sheet and presented them as a bonus gift for her. She was thrilled to play with them “in person” while we read it. We saved them in a little envelope tucked inside her book and get them out whenever we read it again.

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