About Salley Mavor

About Salley Mavor

“My earliest memories have to do with making things by hand and expressing myself through art. What I make today and how I do it, is a culmination of a life-long search to find ways of translating what I imagine into something real to share.”

A needle is my tool, thread is my medium and stitches are my marks. For over 40 years, I’ve created 3-dimensional hand-stitched artwork that ranges from precious to poignant to provocative. In addition to stand alone pieces, my work is applied in many ways, including children’s books, editorial illustration and stop-motion animation. All along, my goal has been to share my vision with a wider audience than is usually found in a gallery setting. 

Mavorkids1963

Where did this doll-infested needle and thread universe come from? It began at the height of the baby boom, in a family of introverts who were either making things or staring into space. You could say that we excelled at parallel play.

Later, while studying illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design, I rediscovered my childhood delight in sewing and creating miniature scenes.

Manipulating materials in my hands was so much more satisfying than rendering with a pencil or brush. Instead of trying to keep in step using traditional mediums, I discovered that with stitching, I could dance the fandango! I found that my hands would direct me in a compelling way and I could communicate ideas more clearly. For most of my career I have followed this path, creating sculptural scenes in bas-relief, much like miniature, shallow stage sets, with figures imposed on embellished fabric backgrounds.

My work is decorative and detailed, full of patterns and found objects, all bound together with stitching. I am interested in universal, playful narratives that reflect the society we live in today. I want to transcend the fiber medium by and of itself and make art that is valued for its message and emotional resonance as well as the materials and techniques I use.

PFOPcoverhres


Some of my embroidered pieces are photographed and reproduced in children’s books, including the 2010 award-winning Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes. My bestselling how-to book of doll projects, Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures continues to inspire creativity. Personally autographed books, cards and posters with printed reproductions of my embroidered scenes are available in my Etsy Shop.

Displaced_Detail3WM




My new work moves away from the land of innocence and into real world issues and current events. I strive to find the beauty within the struggle and strife, as in my 2016 piece Displaced.

After the 2016 presidential election, I formed a satirical wee folk drama troupe, The Wee Folk Players  (they’re a stitch). Also, my husband Rob Goldsborough and I made a short stop-motion animated film titled Liberty and Justice : A Cautionary Tale in the Land of the Free.

WGBH (1 of 1)

My solo exhibit Liberty and Justice, which was abruptly cancelled in 2018 at its original venue, due to its political content, was generously picked up by the New England Quilt Museum and the Cotuit Center for the Arts and portions were included in The Art of Cute at the Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk, Maine. You can watch my interview about the Liberty and Justice exhibit on WGBH TV and read the post Finding My Voice, which includes an excerpt of my talk about making art that is both precious and provocative.

My new book, MY BED: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep around the World was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in September 2020. You can see blog posts showing the book’s progress here. SALLEY MAVOR: Bedtime Stitches, an exhibition of the original bas-relief artwork from the book will tour the United Sates beginning in Sept, 2020. The current schedule is here. Inquiries from museums are welcome – please contact me for information about hosting the show.

I live and work in my home studio on Cape Cod, in Falmouth, Massachusetts. For answers to frequently asked question, please go to the FAQ Page. Contact me via e-mail or write to P.O. Box 152, Woods Hole, MA 02543.

salley2014

Originals for sale: Please contact me for a list of available artwork. The pieces are displayed under Plexiglas in custom-made cherry wood shadowbox frames. Prices range from $2,500 to $6,500.

  • Subscribe to this blog (top right column of Home Page).
  • Posters, cards and autographed books are available in my Etsy shop.
  • Contact me via e-mail or write to P.O. Box 152, Woods Hole, MA 02543
  • Visit my Facebook Page. Follow me on Instagram.

Rabbitat is a short documentary video about my work:

Interviews

Book trailer for Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures

Information

  • Posters, cards and autographed books are available in my  Etsy shop.
  • To see a list of all of my books, go to My Books.
  • Watch videos about my work: Videos Page
  • For info about upcoming exhibits, talks and book signings, visit the Events Page.
  • Frequently asked questions: FAQ Page

Self Portrait: A Personal History of Fashion (pictured below) is on semi permanent display at the Woods Hole Public Library. Posters of the piece are available in my Shop here.

 

bristol
Poster – Self Portrait

 

 

Recent Posts

Looking back at 2020

As we bid adieu to 2020 and look ahead to a hopefully brighter 2021, let’s review the posts published here during this most unusual year. They are grouped by topic, including a miscellaneous category at the end. I wrote about a variety of subjects, including how to make cloth face masks, a wee folk tribute to RBG, and a series of stories about refurbishing my dollhouse. A big focus of the year was the publication of my new picture book MY BED and the debut of “Bedtime Stitches”, the touring exhibition of original artwork for the book. Over the past few years, I’ve shared the process of making the illustrations for the book. There’s more to show, so I’ll continue the series into 2021.

One thing I’ve noticed about life during the pandemic, is that it is more socially acceptable to exhibit introverted tendencies. It’s become quite normal to do as I’ve always done – stay home and basically keep to myself. I hear that people miss going to bars. For me, going to a crowded bar is more of an endurance exercise than an enjoyable activity. Why did it have to take all of this disruption, hardship and tragedy on a world-wide scale for me to fully realize my potential as a semi-reclusive eccentric grey-haired stitching lady?

Even extroverts are feeling awkward these days. An entertaining New York Times article talks about how even extremely outgoing people are feeling uncomfortable socially, “like eighth graders attending a school dance for the first time.”  The article’s author has some insights on the subject, if you can get past the rampant name dropping of fashion world personalities that a clueless baby boomer like me has never heard of.

Winter, especially January has always been my favorite time of year, when the hubbub around us slows down and we are free to move inward, with fewer distractions. Come to think of it, this year of Covid has felt kind of like January all year long.

For the past few years, I’ve been very busy promoting my new book, MY BED and its touring exhibition and I’m anxious to get back into making mode. During the cold months ahead, I’ll be working on a new piece with a winter theme. If it goes well, I may do more scenes that reflect the other seasons — spring, summer and fall. This project isn’t for any purpose other than to celebrate the natural cycles of life on our planet. I’m looking forward to becoming so totally engrossed in the process, that time stands still.

2020 in Review

Pandemic
A Virus Free World
This Little Piggy Stayed Home
DIY Cloth Face Mask Video
Introverts Have the Advantage (includes “Confessions of a Homebody”)

Doll House Stories
Doll House Stories (part 1) History
Doll House Stories (part 2) Wallpaper
Doll House Stories (part 3) Kitchen
Doll House Stories (part 4) Re-upholstery
Doll House Stories (part 5) All Moved In

Celebrity Tribute Dolls
The Greta Effect
RIP RBG

Polly Doll
Polly Travels Close to Home

Cape Cod Museum Exhibition – Once Upon a Stitch
A Few More Weeks
Scavenger Hunt
Lace Bombing

My Bed Book
Bed Book Peek – Cow
Bed Book Peek – Back Cover
Bed Book Peek – Ghana (part 1)
Bed Book Peek – Ghana (part 2)
Bed Book Peek – Ghana (part 3)
Bed Book Peek – Ghana (part 4)
Bed Book Peek – Crocodile
Bed Book Peek – Mongolia (part 1)
Bed Book Peek – Mongolia (part 2)
Bed Book Peek – Mongolia (part 3)
My Bed Is Officially Launched!

Bedtime Stitches Exhibition
Bedtime Stitches at the Cahoon Museum
Bedtime Stitches Tour
Play Village

Shop
Greta Cards Are Here
Hand-Painted Wee Folk Faces
Shop Update

Misc.
To Teach or Not to Teach
The Red Chair
Library Community Art Project

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

  1. Play Village 12 Replies
  2. Bedtime Stitches tour 3 Replies
  3. Shop update 2 Replies
  4. Doll house stories – all moved in 12 Replies
  5. Doll house stories: re-upholstery 5 Replies
  6. Doll house stories: kitchen 8 Replies
  7. Doll house stories- wallpapering 18 Replies
  8. Doll house stories – history 6 Replies
  9. Bedtime Stitches at the Cahoon Museum 17 Replies