About Salley Mavor

I make 3-dimensional fabric relief pictures that are photographed and used to illustrate children’s books. I sew together different materials to create fanciful scenes in relief, much like a miniature stage set, with figures imposed on an embellished fabric background. My work is decorative and detailed, full of patterns from nature and found objects, all sewn together by hand with a needle and thread.

Polly heads west


Polly will be traveling again! We’re heading west to visit my sister in Portland, Oregon and my cousins in Utah. During a visit a few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting several blog followers at a talk/book signing in Portland, so I thought it would be nice to arrange another event while we’re in town. This time, I will talk briefly about my work and sign books on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016 at 2:00 pm at A Children’s Place.


Polly needed a new outfit for the trip, of course. She decided on a colorful cotton batik skirt and turquoise top to compliment her favorite red vest. She’s always had a weakness for western attire, so I made a custom cowgirl hat.



Polly is excited to be traveling west, across the whole continent and looks forward to sharing her adventures on Instagram and Facebook.


Meet the Frost family!

frostfamilyposterI am very pleased to introduce the 5 members of the Frost Family. Mom, Dad, brother, sister and baby are all dressed warmly for the coming winter. They are doll-house sized, from 4.5” to 2.5”, with hand embroidered wool felt outfits and acorn capped painted wooden heads. Even though they are sturdy enough to be played with by children, they aren’t just for children and can be appreciated by all ages. Every once in a while I make a group of related wee folk dolls and offer them as a fundraiser for a local non-profit organization. The Frost family will be raffled to benefit the Waldorf School of Cape Cod.

If you visit this blog regularly, you’ll know that I don’t sell one-of-a-kind dolls, so this is a rare chance to have a unique family of wee folk, all hand-stitched by yours truly. Raffle tickets ($5.00 each, 5 for $20.00) may be purchased online here. The raffle is open to all world-wide and the prize will be sent to the winner, where ever they live.

Previous raffles include the Fairy Family and the Oakleys. You can get a behind the scene glimpse at the process of making the Frost Family below…


I made the dolls and stitched their wool felt clothes over the summer.


I just loved picking out the felt colors for the Frost Family’s warm winter clothing. They are a variation of doll house sized dolls from my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures. The doll armatures are extra sturdy (as taught in the book), so as to hold up better to multiple posing and general play by children (or adults).


I added sparkling accents with metallic thread.


French knots make polka-dots on the baby’s jump sit.


Here’s the set-up for the Frost family’s photo shoot, before “snow” (kosher salt) was sprinkled around. The Frost Family is on display at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod until the raffle drawing, which will be during their popular Holiday Faire on Sat., Nov. 19th. Raffle tickets may be purchased online here. Good luck!




Jade – Ltd. Edition Fairy


Please meet JADE, the newest Blossom Fairy! She is 3 3/4″ tall, with long black braids, acorn cap hat, embroidered dark green wool felt tunic and petal skirt. Even though I’ve said that I don’t sell them, every once in a while I offer a ltd. edition of dolls similar to the ones in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk. You see, I only work on them outside of my studio, while traveling, so there’s no predicting when a set will be finished. To see previous ltd. editions in the archives, click here.

In August, a ltd. edition of AZALEA Fairies that I’d gradually been making over the year were sold my Etsy Shop. They’re usually not finished so close together, but this past summer, I made a set of 25 look-alike JADE Fairies while on vacation. Luckily, a patch of white toad stools appeared along the road in front of my house about the time they were finished. So naturally, that’s where they had a photo shoot. Please see information about when and how to order JADE Fairies at the end of this post.


Each doll has a signed and numbered name tag.



Jade’s wool felt tunic is hand embroidered.





In an effort to be fair to everyone, I am announcing on this blog, Facebook and Instagram that 25 “JADE” fairies will be listed for $75.00 each, in my Etsy Shop on Saturday, Oct. 15th at 9 AM, eastern US time. That gives more of you a chance to read about it in advance, so you can plan on being ready to shop. I’m sorry if this hour isn’t convenient for other time zones around the globe, but I can’t figure out how to accommodate everyone. This sale will start an hour earlier than usual, so that customers in Australia don’t have to stay up into the wee hours, but it means that those of you on the US west coast will be setting your alarms earlier. The last edition sold out very quickly, so if you really want one, act fast! Sorry, no reservations ahead of time. The dolls will be sold on a first come first served basis.


road to PEI


On the drive up to Prince Edward Island, we stayed a night in Wiscassett, Maine, which was as pretty as advertised. These photos are from my early morning walk into town from our B&B.



We drove to Booth Bay Harbor, which is right down the road and had dinner with friends.


The next leg of the trip brought us just across the Canadian border to St. Andrews, NB, where I took another early morning walk through the neighborhood.pei-5pei-6

In the afternoon, we arrived at our friend’s cottage on the south east coast of Prince Edward Island. It sure was beautiful!pei-24pei-23

One day, we drove to the charming south coast village of Victoria for dinner and a concert.


pei-14pei-16After a wonderful visit to PEI, we headed home, stopping again in St. Andrews at the Rossmount Inn, where I took this photo of their spectacular background garden.


Anne of Green Gables & family ties


During our trip to PEI, we visited Green Gables, of course. Although L.M. Montgomery never lived there, her cousins’ house and farm was the inspiration for the setting of her famous book Anne of Green Gables. The property has been designated as a National Historic Site of Canada and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

Our friend and hostess Polly (yes, a real life person!), Rob and I were glad to be there on a less crowded week day and freely roamed around the lovingly restored house, inside and out. After perusing every possible Anne themed souvenir in the gift shop, Polly (doll above) sighed with relief when she came across a stack of books.


Green Gables is set up as if the character Anne Shirley and her adoptive family of Matthew and Marilla lived there in the late 1800’s. The rooms are furnished with a wonderful collection of period pieces and Anne’s room includes important book related items, like her carpet bag and puffed sleeve dresses.



This is where the family tie to Anne of Green Gables comes in. But, first a little family history. Growing up, I heard about our relatives in Toronto, the “Canadian Cousins”. We were the only branch of the family to move to America, where my grandfather followed his career in biology. My father’s grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins in Canada seemed so much more interesting than the few family members we knew at home. The stories of their lives emphasized an unconventional and creative spirit, full of drama and public service. I never met them in person and that may be why they still loom large in my mind as colorful characters who were celebrated for their leadership and vision (at least in Canada).

I heard about my totally eccentric great-grandfather, James Mavor, who through his connections with the Canadian government and Russian Tolstoyans, helped arrange the mass immigration of the Doukhobors from Russia to Saskatchewan in 1898. I’ve never met an American who knows about the Doukhobors, but I think most Canadians have at least heard of them or know their descendants. There were also stories about James Mavor’s daughter, my great-aunt Dora Mavor Moore who is considered the Grand Dame of Canadian Theater. My father talked about Dora and her son, his first cousin, Mavor Moore who was a multi-talented creative force in CBC radio and television and the arts. These relatives and my parents are gone, but the family remembrances live on through stories, creating narratives beyond mere names and dates on a genealogy chart.


In Charlottetown, we saw the last performance of the season of “Anne of Green Gables – The Musical™”, which I really enjoyed.  I already knew that Mavor Moore had been involved from the show’s beginning in 1965 and was Co-writer of the lyrics.

What I didn’t know was that his daughter, Charlotte Moore was on stage, playing the leading role of Marilla. During intermission, I read the program and couldn’t believe it when her name and picture popped out. We had not met, but I was aware that she was a professional actress and singer, carrying on the family theater tradition.



After the show, it seemed almost impossible to send a message back stage, but another actor told us that the cast sometimes gathers in the bar at Mavor’s Restaurant (named after Mavor Moore) in the same theater complex. We only waited a few minutes in the bar before I heard the name “Charlotte” being called out behind me. I turned around and there she was, my real life “Canadian Cousin”. After some quick introductions, we had a great chat about the family. I also got to meet Mavor Moore’s widow, opera singer, Alexandra Brown Moore, who was visiting PEI from Victoria, BC.

We were all so delighted to finally meet each other! I felt connected to the Canadian branch of my family in a way I hadn’t experienced before. Our interaction made me realize that sometimes just showing up, taking notice and making a little effort can make all the difference in how life unfolds. It’s daunting to think that I am the older generation now. How could that possibly be? After all, I still play with dolls, for goodness sake!


Polly in PEI


About a week before we drove up to Prince Edward Island, I remembered that Polly would need a new outfit for the trip. At first, I was blind to the obvious, but within a few minutes, her new persona became as clear as day.  With her red braids, there was only one choice — Anne of Green Gables! So, I quickly made her a pinafore and straw hat.

I must admit that I hadn’t read L.M. Montgomery‘s books until fairly recently. If I’d had daughters and/or a TV in our home, I probably would have read the stories to them and watched the PBS series. But, the wonderfully written books were enough to make my middle-aged self fall in love with the spunky character of Anne Shirley.


Polly loved the PEI coast, with its red sand. She compared antique tractors, horse teams and geese at the Dundas Plowing Match, a local agricultural fair.




She had dinner at Mavor’s in Charlottetown and learned about my cousin, the restaurant’s name sake, Mavor Moore, who was a well know Canadian writer, producer, actor, public servant, critic, and educator.


It was harvest time on PEI.


She stayed with friends on the coast of PEI’s King’s county.


Of course, Polly felt right at home at Green Gables.




Polly spent her last evening in Canada in the garden behind the Rossmount Inn in St. Andrews. It was a great trip to a beautiful part of the world!



Exhibits and book signings this fall

The next few months are shaping up to be a busy, so I thought I’d give an update of events happening this fall. Coming right up, on Friday, Sept. 16th, is the opening for Intertwined: Needle Art of Salley Mavor at the Bristol Art Museum. Then, there will be a couple of book-signings in New England, one at the Osterville Village Library and the other at RISD in Providence (details listed below). And then, I ‘ll be on the west coast! Oct. 30th at 2:00 PM, in Portland, Oregon at A Children’s Place. I hope to meet many of you in person at these events!


Bristol Art Museum Presents
Three SOLO Exhibits
September 16 – October 30  |  2016

The Catacombs | Thomas Lyons Mills
Mythical Beings Ellen Blomgren
Intertwined: Needle Art of Salley Mavor ~ The exhibit will show several new pieces, including Displaced.

Opening Reception: Friday September 16th  |  6:30-8:30pm
Bristol Art Museum – 10 Wardwell Street / Corner of Hope Street  |  Bristol  |  RI
Regular Museum Hours – Thursday – Sunday   |   1-4pm


Detail from “Displaced” 2016

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Until Jan 8, 2017 ~ Salley Mavor’s artwork is in the Geometry Gallery display case at Providence Children’s Museum, Providence, RI. Selected wee folk dolls, houses and props from Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures, plus 2 original fabric relief illustrations from Pocketful of Posies are on display. Weefolk-1

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~BOOK SIGNINGS

Sat., Oct. 1, 2016 at 11:00 am ~ Salley Mavor will participate in the Author Panel and Book Signing, Children’s Fall Festival Osterville Village Library, Osterville, MA

Sat., Oct. 8, 2016 at 2:00 pm ~ RISD READS: Children’s Book Reading and Signing – Rhode Island School of Design, ISB Gallery, 1 Washington Place, Providence, RI. RISD alums Salley Mavor ’78, Stuart Murphy ’64 and Juana Medina ’10 will talk briefly and sign copies of their books.

Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016 at 2:00 pm ~ Salley Mavor will talk briefly about her artwork and sign books at A Children’s Place, Portland, Oregon.