About Salley Mavor

About Salley Mavor

“My aim is to breathe life and emotion into embroidery, an art form that is often perceived as purely decorative. What I make today and how I do it, is a culmination of a life-long search to find ways of translating what I feel and imagine into something real to share.”

Salley mavor

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 objective has been to share my vision in an intimate way, with a wider audience than is usually found in a gallery setting. 

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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.

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.

I am interested in universal, playful narratives that reflect the society we live in. 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.

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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, jigsaw puzzles and posters with printed reproductions of my embroidered scenes are available in my Etsy Shop.

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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 was abruptly cancelled in 2018 at its original venue due to its political content. The show 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 for the book began touring the United Sates in Sept, 2020. The current schedule is here. Inquiries from museums are welcome – please contact me (salley at weefolkstudio.com) for information about hosting the show.

See how I made the illustrations for my new picture book, MY BED in this 8 minute documentary.

I live and work on Cape Cod, in Falmouth, Massachusetts. For answers to frequently asked question, please go to the FAQ Page. Contact me (salley at weefolkstudio.com) or write to P.O. Box 152, Woods Hole, MA 02543.

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  • 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 (salley at weefolkstudio.com) 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.

 

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Poster – Self Portrait

 

 

Recent Posts

Holiday cards and more

SNOW note card

Are you looking for a cheerful, wintry Holiday card to send to family and friends this year? I just added this snow scene to the line of note cards in my Etsy Shop. Snow was an illustration in my 1997 picture book, You and Me: Poems of Friendship. We recently rephotographed the original fabric relief piece after borrowing it from the person who bought it years ago. The image just called out to be made into a card! It and other cards in my shop are sold in packs of 4 and 8. Snow is also part of the Winter Sampler, which includes 4 different winter scenes populated with warmly dressed wee folk characters happily playing in the snow and fairies riding reindeer.

Winter Sampler note cards

Winter Play features sample figures from my how-to book Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures. To see how the scene was photographed, visit this post.

Winter Play note card
Sample dolls in the how-to book Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures

One winter afternoon, when the light was low, I got down on the ground and took this photograph of a group of fairies going for a Reindeer Ride.

Reindeer Ride note card

Frosty Morning was inspired by what I saw early one January morning, when every bare branch sparkled with ice crystals. Learn more about this piece and the series of seasonal landscapes I’ve been working on for the past couple of years here.

Frosty Morning note card

I also offer a mixed pack of 3 different scenes in the series of seasonal landscapes that capture the wonder and magic of the natural world, both real and imagined.

Since so many of you’ve enjoyed my recipe for Cheese Straws over the years, I decided to make a card with the cozy kitchen scene on the front and the recipe for making cheese straws printed on the back. That way, it’s a greeting card (or Holiday card) and recipe card all in one. Get an inside peek at making the family in the doll house kitchen here.

Cheese Straws note cards (recipe on back)

Enter my Etsy Shop here. Cards are sold in packs of 4 and 8 with free shipping. In addition to a large selection of note cards, my shop sells other printed reproductions of my embroidered artwork in autographed books, posters, playing cards and jigsaw puzzles.

A note to my international fans: I’m really sorry, but due to the high cost of shipping overseas and unreasonable delays, I now only ship within the US and to Canada.

Birds of Beebe Woods jigsaw puzzle

JIGSAW PUZZLES!
Two jigsaw puzzle designs, Birds of Beebe Woods and Harvest Time were just added to my shop. I’m glad to report that they are back in stock after quickly selling out. The puzzles are exclusively available through my Etsy Shop.

Is there a particular piece of mine that you would like to see in puzzle form? I’m planning to have more puzzles made and would love to hear your suggestions. Illustrations from my books MY BED and Pocketful of Posies can’t be reproduced, but other stand alone pieces are a possibility, if I have hires photos. Please leave a comment with your suggestions.

Birds of Beebe Woods jigsaw puzzle
Harvest Time jigsaw puzzle
Harvest Time jigsaw puzzle

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. Jigsaw Puzzles! 3 Replies
  2. Harvest Time – Part 2 (turkey tail mushroom) 4 Replies
  3. The best cheese straws in the world! 9 Replies
  4. Harvest Time – Part 1 (mossy tree trunk) 11 Replies
  5. Harvest Time – overview 9 Replies
  6. Bedtime Stitches opens in Minnesota 5 Replies
  7. Sam and Louisa’s wedding dolls 23 Replies
  8. Ian and Liz’s Wedding Dolls 19 Replies
  9. WHAT A RELIEF – first 6 weeks 15 Replies