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 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.

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.

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.

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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 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, 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 for the book began touring the United Sates in Sept, 2020. The current schedule is here. Inquiries from museums are welcome – please contact me for information about hosting the show.

See how Salley Mavor made the illustrations for her new picture book, MY BED.

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.

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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.

 

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Poster – Self Portrait

 

 

Recent Posts

Bedtime Stitches exhibition opens in Illinois

I am delighted to announce that the Bedtime Stitches touring exhibition is opening today at the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mt. Vernon, IL, which is in the southern part of the state. This is an opportunity for those of you in the middle of the country to see the original bas-relief embroidered artwork for my picture book MY BED. The exhibition will be there until May 2, 2021. I’ve already heard from fans who will be driving from Chicago, St. Louis and Nashville to see the show. Others from further away are planning overnight visits. I wish I could be there to greet you all, but my artwork will have to stand in my place.

Whenever I post announcements about the exhibition, I hear from folks who want the exhibition to come to places near where they live. I would love to be able to point to locations on a map and have them magically appear on the schedule, but that requires enlisting venues to partner with. So far, Bedtime Stitches is booked at locations in eastern, western, northern and southern parts of the country through mid 2023. The current schedule is at the end of this post.

So, will more locations be added? I’m open to extending the tour, if there is an interest. To make that happen I need your help. Over the past few years, I’ve contacted just about every quilt and textile related venue I could find, as well as other art museums. For whatever reason, sending proposals hasn’t worked. What has worked are personal contacts and extra motivated fans. Several bookings are at places that have shown my work before and a few came about as the result of fans telling their local museums about the opportunity to host the show. So, if you would like to see the exhibit come closer to your doorstep, I encourage you reach out to museums in your area. They are more apt to respond to an enthusiastic member of their community than to some random stitching lady they’ve never heard of before. Past experience has taught me that as more people experience the book and exhibition, the word spreads and new opportunities will arise. Interested museums are welcome to contact me for information about hosting the exhibit.

The staff at the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts put together this Eye Spy game for their visitors. It could also be fun for those looking through the pages of the MY BED book at home. You can download it here:

SALLEY MAVOR: Bedtime Stitches
Feb. 28 – May 2, 2021, Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, Mount Vernon, IL
Sept. 14 – Dec. 31, 2021, New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, MA
Jan. 22 – May 8, 2022, Upcountry History Museum, Greenville, SC
June – September 2022, Brick Store Museum, Kennebunk, ME
Oct. – Dec., 2022, Historical and Cultural Center of Clay County, Moorhead, MN
Feb. 1 – Apr. 30, 2023, Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, La Conner, WA
Additional locations will be added when they are confirmed.

Autographed copies of the book, MY BED are available in my shop here.

Watch MAKING MY BED, an 8 minute documentary film about how Salley Mavor created the illustrations for MY BED on YouTube.

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. Making My Bed video 11 Replies
  2. Bed book peek: title page 3 Replies
  3. Bed book peek: Dog 2 Replies
  4. New cards in the shop 1 Reply
  5. Bed book peek: giraffe 3 Replies
  6. Looking back at 2020 3 Replies
  7. Play Village 12 Replies
  8. Bedtime Stitches tour 4 Replies
  9. Shop update 2 Replies