Glancing back, looking forward

All year, I’ve been in full making mode, creating art for no reason other than the pure joy of it. You may ask, “Shouldn’t that be its purpose all along?” Maybe so, but the motivation to make art can take many forms. Throughout my career, I’ve made art to express emotions, shed light on issues and to connect with an audience, as well as more practical reasons, like making money and honoring contracts. This year was going to be less pressure-filled and more spontaneous. And it was, mostly, but it took fending off the strong impulse to assign a purpose to what I was making.

One of the advantages of hand stitching is that it forces you to to slow down and take notice of where you’ve been and where you’re going, artistically speaking. The goal isn’t so much to get it done, but to be immersed in the process, to respond to cues and make adjustments along the way.

4 Seasons Series: Last January, I set out to work solely on a group of seasonal landscapes that capture the wonder and magic of the natural world, both real and imagined. I’ve completed 2 pieces in this series, Frosty Morning and Mossy Glen, which I’ll write about in 2022. I’ve begun a new fall scene and hope to have all 4 seasons finished before 2023. As always, you can follow along and see their progress in real time on Facebook and/or Instagram. 

Frosty Morning and Mossy Glen will be on view in my upcoming retrospective, WHAT A RELIEF: The Art of Salley Mavor at the Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk, ME (June 4 – Sept. 11, 2022). The exhibition will feature a large selection of my artwork, spanning over 40 years, from early on to the present day. Rarely seen works on loan from private collections, as well as pieces I’ve held onto, will fill multiple galleries on the museum’s entire first floor.

See the series of Frosty Morning Posts:
Frosty Morning: Overview
Frosty Morning: Part 1 (trees)
Frosty Morning: Part 2 (branches)
Frosty Morning: Part 3 (shelters)
Frosty Morning: Part 4 (stone wall)
Frosty Morning: Part 5 (sparkles)
Frosty Morning: Part 6 (wee folk)

Heirloom Collections: In keeping with the theme of doing things for no other reason than the joy of it, I spent a good part of the winter going through my collections of spools, buttons, lace and souvenir dolls. On Valentine’s Day, I made a heart shaped assemblage with old wooden spools of thread. Gathering the spools and arranging them took an afternoon, which is a fraction of the time it takes to create a stitched piece. It seems that I either work quickly like this or laboriously over a period of months. Nothing in between. Each way feeds a different part of my creative soul. Even though it wasn’t my intention, the heart image brought out my entrepreneurial spirit and I couldn’t resist having cards and a poster made, which are available in my shop.
Heirloom Collection: Wooden Spools of Thread
Heirloom Collection: Buttons

Bedtime Stitches touring exhibition: This past year, the Bedtime Stitches exhibition was shown in Illinois and Massachusetts.
Bedtime Stitches exhibition opens in Illinois
Bedtime Stitches on view at the New England Quilt Museum
In 2022 it will travel to Nebraska, Maine and Minnesota. See the exhibition schedule for the next 3 years here. I’m excited to learn that a fan from Winnipeg, Canada is planning to come south to see the show when it goes to Moorhead, MN in the fall! Please note that those of you from the PNW and western Canada will be able to see my work in Washington State in early 2023. Even though I’m not seeking additional locations by sending out proposals, I’m open to extending the tour beyond 2024. Inquiries from museum curators and directors are welcome.

Bedtime Stitches at the New England Quilt Museum

MY BED Scavenger Hunt: Visitors to the Bedtime Stitches exhibition, as well as those of you at home with a copy of My Bed, can hunt for details in the artwork using the downloadable sheet below. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the book and the hunt are just for kids!

During the summer, lots of folks went to see the Social Fabric Exhibition in Greenville SC. The Upcountry History Museum is turning out to be a great centrally located destination for my southern fans! I’m happy to say that they will be hosting more exhibitions in 2023 and 2024.

Bed Book Peeks: Over the past few years, I’ve published over 50 posts about making the illustrations for my picture book MY BED. This past year, the following posts were added:
Bed Book Peek: Giraffe
Bed Book Peek: Pony
Bed Book Peek: Dog
Bed book Peek: Title Page
My Bed: Night Sky – Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4
My Bed : Home – Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4 , Part 5

Wedding Banner: Katherine and Basil I really enjoyed making this wedding banner for family friends. Next year, I will be making cake toppers for a wedding in the family!

Making My Bed: Rob and I released a short documentary film about creating MY BED. Here’s Rob editing the 8 minute film, which I wrote about here. Watch the film on YouTube.

Coming in 2022! One fun project to come out of this more spontaneous year are the Stitch Minute Videos. They show a minute’s worth of me stitching, so that people can have a close up view of the process. Rob and I have produced a bunch of these little snippets, which I’ve shared on Instagram and Facebook.

Stitch Minute – Chain Stitching Leaf

We arranged a table in the basement, with lights and a camera stand with an extension arm, so everything is set up and ready to go when there’s something new to film. It’s so simple compared to stop-motion animation. And since each video is edited down to 60 seconds or less, the filming is pretty fast. The part I like best is that all I have to do is stitch, without the pressure to explain anything. During the coming year, I’ll be including Stitch Minute Videos when describing various aspects of my work.

Happy New Year and thank you for coming along on my artistic journey. I look forward to sharing more stuff I’m working on, just for the joy of it!

To keep up with new posts, subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). Your contact info will not be shared. If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

3 thoughts on “Glancing back, looking forward

  1. I promote your art wherever and whenever I can. You inspire me in so many ways to keep my needle and thread close at hand. Wishing you and your family a blessed and safe New Year.

  2. I’m a huge fan of yours. I’m a 69 year old widow living in Ontario, Canada who has a huge love of anything miniature. Your work is exquisite.

  3. Sally, sorry to say I am not a member of Social Media – I enjoy your email so much, so i hope you continue to use it, as well. I alsdo look forward to seeing your exhibitions, some day. Happy New Year!

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