WHAT A RELIEF – first 6 weeks

I’m overwhelmed by the response to my first major retrospective exhibition, WHAT A RELIEF: The Art of Salley Mavor. In its first 6 weeks, visitors have streamed in from all over to see a big portion of my life’s work at the Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk, Maine. There’s a lot to see – four galleries on the Museum’s first floor contain over 150 works that span 40 years (more if you count my childhood pieces), from early sculptures, to picture book illustrations to my recent foray into current affairs. If you’re considering traveling to see the exhibit, there’s still time, since it’ll be there for another 8 weeks, through Sept. 11th. I’d thought that people would drive in from the surrounding New England states, which they are, but I’m flabbergasted to hear that fans are actually flying in from other parts of the country to see my work in person!

I’m touched that so many of you’ve gone out of your way to see my work in person. It makes me feel that all of the effort that went into this exhibit was worth it! These are just a few of the comments coming in:

“Hands down, one of the most beautiful, inspiring and creative museum exhibits I have ever seen. I will remember this forever!” -Lucinda Shattuck, Dover, NH

“We are blown away with wonder and delight. We spent over three hours gazing up close at every inch of your amazing work. Best weekend ever!!’ – Julie Steller of Minneapolis, MN

“There is so much to feast your eyes on! I love that women, diversity, and politics all take center stage, too.” – Marty Lapointe-Malchik, Concord, MA

For those of you from the other side of the world, I’ll do my best to show what the exhibit looks like. In this video, I walk through one the galleries that contains original artwork for Pocketful of Posies and MY BED.

Bedtime Stitches
Bedtime Stitches

WHAT A RELIEF: The Art of Salley Mavor
Brick Store Museum
117 Main St., Kennebunk, Maine
June 7th thru Sept. 11th
ZOOM Talk, Aug, 25, 2 PM, Register HERE

I look forward to seeing your smiling faces (via Zoom) when the Museum hosts “An Afternoon with Salley Mavor” ZOOM Talk on Aug. 25 at 2:00 PM (eastern time). After my presentation, there will be an opportunity for participants to ask questions. Please register HERE. Don’t worry if you live in another time zone, the event will be recorded to watch later.

Visitors of all ages are enjoying the show. We hung the artwork a little lower than usual, so that children and short adults can see the detail more easily.

The wall of women has turned into a popular photo-op spot.


At the opening reception in June, I loved meeting people, signing books and

admiring a pair of adorable fairies made from my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk.

This exhibit follows my career through many twists and turns, including my recent venture into political satire. The “Liberty and Justice” room holds the Wee Folk Players cartoons and the props and characters from our stop motion animation, Liberty and Justice: A Cautionary Tale, which visitors can watch on a video monitor.

Liberty and Justice

Jim Newman of Woods Hole, MA wrote to tell me this tidbit:

“My favorite moment was in the Liberty and Justice room, where an elderly lady, bent over a walker, looked over at me and started a nice conversation with “EVERYONE needs to come see this.”  

Liberty and Justice

I want to thank the staff at the Brick Store Museum, particularly Leanne Hayden, who believed in me and supported the idea of a large solo exhibition like this. Let’s be honest, when your medium is embroidery, it can be a challenge to have your work taken seriously by the art and museum world. There is no question that Leanne viewed my work as art from the first time she saw it. After years of planning, it’s gratifying to have everything magically fall into place. I’m thrilled to share my work in such a warm and inviting venue!

Leanne’s kind words about the show left me speechless.

” It has been such a pleasure to work with Salley and host her first major retrospective. I knew it would be a great summer exhibit for the whole family but I never could have imagined the enthusiastic and heartwarming response we receive every day from visitors. I love to hear stories of visitors who have traveled from all over the country to see this exhibit. But my favorite reactions are from those who had never heard of Salley Mavor and are seeing everything for the first time. I have actually had visitors stop me in the galleries just to tell me that this is the best exhibit they have ever seen. Or to hear audible gasps from a particular piece. That is the kind of experience you always hope for when putting an exhibit together.”

Leanne Hayden, Collections Manager, Brick store Museum

Felt Wee Folk
Pocketful of Posies

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15 thoughts on “WHAT A RELIEF – first 6 weeks

  1. Just got back from a trip to Maine with three great friends – spent more than 2 hours enjoying your work – every bit of it!!!!!!!!!!!! Two of us are “stitchers” and wow did your work inspire (and humble) I really hope to have a chance to go back again – wonderful little museum – I loved Liberty and Justice! Meant a lot to me = I struggled in 2016 too!! Thanks for the beauty you put in the world!

  2. My husband is taking me up to see your exhibit from Lancaster, PA for our 35 th anniversary! I’m so excited to see everything on September 2!

  3. We’re coming to family reunion n Beverly, MA the end of September. Will your work be showing anywhere near there then – within a few hours drive?

    Maggie Alexander


  4. This exhibit looks fantastic. I would love nothing more than to spend hours wandering through, and taking in all the exhibits. Unfortunately poor health precludes that from happening. I look forward to seeing the video when it comes out.
    Thank you Sally.

  5. What an astounding amount of needlework! Was it surprising for you as well, to look at all those creations and think Wow! I really made all this!? I wish I could see your work in person, but a very big Thank you for sharing these photos and Congratulations!

    • Thank you, Lynn. Yes, it is an odd feeling to see all of the work together and remember it’s all made stitch by stitch over a period of years. What is even more mind blowing is knowing that this isn’t everything and that 4 times this amount is out in the world somewhere. The only explanation is obsession, pure and simple.

  6. I just returned from a day trip to Maine which included a visit to your exhibit, Salley. I drove 7+ hours round trip and it was totally worth it. I especially enjoyed seeing work from your college days and your 7 yr old artist’s manifesto?! I know your work well—saw the exhibit of Pocket full of Posies illustrations on the Cape and was blown away. The photos in the books are wonderful, but nothing can equal seeing the work in person. ALL. THE. STITCHES. And the imagination, patience, artistry, skill……there aren’t enough words to describe it adequately.

    People, if you have a chance to see the exhibit before Sept 11th—-GO!!!

    • Thank you you so much for your kind words about my exhibit and fro encouraging people to go, Lisa! Yes, seeing my work in person is whole different experience than seeing it printed or on a screen.

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