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.

Doll house stories – all moved in

In this final part 5 in the Doll House Stories series, you will see the completed rooms in my newly refurbished doll house, along with its wee folk inhabitants. The house, which I built in 1975 while in art school, is on view in the exhibition “Bedtime Stitches” at the Cahoon Museum in Cotuit, MA through Dec. 19, 2020.

In addition to showing the original illustrations for my new picture book MY BED, the Cahoon Museum is displaying many rarely seen creations from my art school days to the present, including this doll house. These extra items are only included in the Cahoon Museum show and will not travel in the touring exhibition.

Since “Bedtime Stitches” opened in mid-September, I’ve heard from many people who’ve gone to see the exhibition with their children, grandchildren, parents and friends. One woman said, “After our visit, my husband said it was the best day of 2020.” Another wrote to say, “It feels like your art is the antidote to, I don’t know, maybe most of the rest of the world.”

I’m so glad the show will be up for another 6 weeks (through Dec 19), so that more folks can make the trip to see it. Not only has the Cahoon Museum done a beautiful job presenting my work in the gallery, they have protocols in place to ensure a safe and welcoming experience for their visitors, with timed entry in 1 hour intervals and required face coverings. Click here for hours, registration and Covid safely information.

For the past few weeks, you’ve seen several posts about the doll house. Here’s a list if you’d like to review them:
How the house was used over the past 45 years – part 1 (history)
Before and after shots of wallpapering – part 2 (wall-papering)
The process of making wee folk characters – part 3 (kitchen)
How I re-upholstered a 1930’s era sofa – part 4 (re-upholstery).

After arranging the furniture and figuring out who would live in the house, I moved the whole setup into the basement so that Rob could photograph it. He also made a little film, which pans from room to room throughout the house.

For the soundtrack, Rob recorded crickets and other night sounds outside. In the middle of summer, he sat on our patio with a microphone and headphones, listening in the dark, with the moon above.

I hope you enjoy this little house tour.

It was so much fun working on the house over the summer! I probably wouldn’t have taken the time to indulge in something so seemingly unimportant, if not for the deadline to get it fixed up for the “Bedtime Stitches” exhibition. But, after allowing myself the luxury of “playing house” again, I feel connected to my younger self – The child who spent blissful hours engrossed in creative play, the 13 year old who kept her love of dolls a secret and the self-conscious art student who lay in bed thinking about decorating her new doll house. Throughout my life, I’ve been on the same search – to find ways to make what I imagine into something real to share. And it makes me happy to share it with you!

What are they making in the kitchen? Cheese Straws! This cozy scene is printed on a card with my family recipe for cheese straws on the back. Cards are available in my shop.

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

Doll house stories: re-upholstery

This part 4 in the Doll House Stories series shows how I re-upholstered the sofa which is in the living room of my newly renovated doll house. The house, which I built in 1975 while in art school, is on view in my exhibition, “Bedtime Stitches” at the Cahoon Museum in Cotuit, MA through Dec. 19, 2020. Other posts in this series: part 1 (history), part 2 (wall-papering), part 3 (kitchen).

The “made in Japan” 1930’s era sofa came from my mother’s childhood collection of doll house furniture. Over the years since she gave me the furniture, I’d become quite fond of the sofa, with its sinking seat and rusted tacks. But, as I fixed up the house, I knew that it was time to re-cover the sofa.

When I started sharing the re-upholstery process on Facebook, an immediate alarm went off, as I committed the grave sin of altering a vintage item! And on a cherished toy of my mother’s no less! I imagined that many of the people who commented were just preaching the gospel according to Antiques Road Show. As I posted new photos, the chastising subsided and when they saw what it looked like in the end, I even got some requests for forgiveness.

It actually took years for me to overcome my sentimental attachment to this sofa and decide that my mother would be excited about upgrading it. The first challenge was to find a fabric that was the right color, weave and weight. I looked through my large stash of upholstery fabric and chose this one, with its appropriately scaled pattern and subdued color palette. The only problem was its distracting reddish purple dots, which I pulled out, thread by thread.

I didn’t want to take the sofa apart, since I wasn’t sure what I’d find underneath, so I left the existing fabric in place. Using a combination of white glue and stitching, I covered the seat first.

Then, I covered the back…

and stitched along the curve of the top.

The arms were tricky. Looking at this photo months later, I can’t even tell how I did it.

The front of the arms where all of the sides came together looked kind of messy, so I sewed a metal button on top.

It took several wee hands to help move the sofa into the living room. All it needed were some pillows and a doily antimacassar draped over the back.

Stay tuned for part 5 in the Doll House Stories series. I will show photos and a video of the finished doll house. Other posts in this series: part 1, part 2 (wallpapreing), part 3 (kitchen).

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

Doll house stories: kitchen

This part 3 in the Doll House Stories series shows how I made the family of dolls who are gathered around the kitchen table in my newly renovated doll house. The house, which I built in 1975 while in art school, is on view in my exhibition, “Bedtime Stitches” at the Cahoon Museum in Cotuit, MA through Dec. 19, 2020. Other posts in this series: part 1, part 2 (wallpapering), part 4 (re-upholstery.

Here’s a short video of the kitchen scene.

I suppose the boy could be rolling out dough for lots of different baked treats, but I imagined them making cheese straws, which is a family tradition going back several generations. In the past, I’ve shared the recipe for the best cheese straws in the world on this blog.

Since so many of you’ve enjoyed the recipe over the years, I decided to make a card with the cozy kitchen scene (above) on the front and the recipe for making cheese straws printed on the back. That way, it’s a greeting card (or Christmas card) and recipe card all in one.

The Cheese Straws card is available in my shop in packs of 4 or 8.

To make the figures in this scene, I started by painting their faces on wooden beads. After seeing their personalities come to life, I’m motivated to make the rest of their bodies. The doll making process is based on the instructions and patterns in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures.

I glued felt wigs to the crown of the bead heads, making a surface that a needle can grab onto. Then, I stitched their hair with mending wool, which is just the right weight for this kind of detailed work. It seems like all of my relatives kept cards of wool to mend sweaters, so I now have a nice supply of browns and grays to choose from.

I bent wire in the shape of hands and wrapped the fingers and palms with embroidery floss. I’m frequently asked to show in detail how I make hands, but I choose to keep that process private.

Just like I teach in Felt Wee Folk, their bodies are constructed with pipe cleaners.

Here, you can see how the skirt fabric is gathered and sewn to her waist. It can be messy because it will be covered by a sweater.

Since their clothes are sewn on, these dolls can’t change outfits very easily.

I used a chain stitch to sew stripes on this shirt.

To give this character a womanly shape, I sewed beads to her chest.

To finish off her cooking outfit, I made a little apron.

The dough is made with polymer clay. To give it a more realistic color, I kneaded in dried mustard, which is an ingredient in the cheese straws recipe. As mentioned earlier, Cheese Straws cards are available in my shop here.

Stay tuned for part 4 in the Doll House Stories series. I will share how I re-upholstered a vintage 1930’s miniature sofa.

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

Doll house stories- wallpapering

This part 2 in the Doll House Stories series shows how a little light demo work and new wallpaper transformed the interior of my 45 year old doll house. It was a welcome indulgence to spend the summer fixing up the house. My excuse was that the house needed some home improvements to make it presentable for my exhibition, “Bedtime Stitches” at the Cahoon Museum (through Dec. 19, 2020). As you can see, the wallpaper was showing a level of wear and tear that strategically hung pictures could not hide much longer. Other posts in this series: part 1 (history), part 3 (kitchen), part 4 (re-upholstery).

Years of neglect as well as the Wee Folk Players theater troupe’s multiple set changes and general mayhem had taken its toll on the place.

The kitchen was in an especially sorry state.

I demolished the tile splash board.

And made new wallpaper.

I cut out separate pieces for each wall, cutting out the window and door openings. Then I glued them in place, covering up the grimy old paper with the new stuff.

For the other rooms, I used newly purchased scrap-booking paper and some other paper I’ve had in store since I first made the house 45 years ago. It’s true, I don’t throw out anything of an artistic nature that shows promise.

Once all of the rooms were newly wallpapered, I set about putting back the furniture and picking out new pictures to hang on the walls.

My son Ian made a tiny painting of a suspended egg, which is one of his favorite themes.

I printed out a miniature reproduction of the snow scene from my book “You and Me”, mounted it on mat board and hung it up in the kitchen.

It was fun setting up this domestic scene in the bright and cheery new kitchen. I already had most of the furniture and appliances, but I made a new wall clock out of a Timex watch face set inside a plastic curtain ring.

Stay tuned for part 3 in the Doll House Stories series. – I will share how I made the woman and children and give some clues about what they’re cooking.

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

Doll house stories – history

This past summer, I renovated my 45 year old doll house, to get it ready to display in my exhibition, “Bedtime Stitches”, which is on view at the Cahoon Museum in Cotuit, MA through Dec. 19, 2020.

In addition to showing the original illustrations for my new picture book MY BED, the Cahoon Museum is displaying many rarely seen creations from my art school days to the present, including this doll house. These extra items are only included in the Cahoon Museum show and will not travel in the touring exhibition.

There are so many pictures and stories to tell about redecorating, re-wallpapering and re-upholstering furniture for the house, that I’ll be writing several posts about it. I thought I’d begin by giving a little history of when it was first constructed and how it’s been used up until now. Other posts in this series: part 2 (wall-papering)part 3 (kitchen)part 4 (re-upholstery).

I built the doll house in the summer of 1975, after taking a wood working class. I can remember using my father’s tools and workbench and later obsessing over the wall paper choices and other architectural details. To me, this was just another art project, but I knew enough not to talk about it with people who wouldn’t understand how a 20 year old young woman would rather construct and decorate a doll house than go out partying.

in subsequent years, the doll house has moved around with my family and me, from house to house, along with all of our other stuff. For a long time it sat neglected in the corner and my boys weren’t interested in playing with it. Then, a few years ago, my interest was renewed when some real live children visited my studio and made a beeline for it.

I looked at the house with new eyes and decided to spiff it up. I added some green molding here and there and painted leafy branches on the plain pink gable.

An opportunity to display the house at Highfield Hall’s Holiday event came up, so I decked it out in a Christmas theme. I went through my old family Christmas ornaments and spun cotton Santas and set them up in the rooms, together with the doll house family. There were Santa’s hanging out everywhere – even in the bathtub and sitting on the toilet. I found miniature lights and pine boughs at Michael’s and strung them up. To keep eager fingers out of the rooms, I covered the openings with Plexiglas. People really got a kick of peeking inside!

The house was also used in a photographic set-up that shows the doll house family project in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures.

Then, after the 2016 election, the Wee Folk Players theater troupe took over the house and staged their series of politically satirical scenarios. They ruthlessly rearranged the furniture and transformed the rooms into the White House and a Royal Palace, among other set-ups.

Women’s March

The doll house, along with characters from the Wee Folk Players was part of my exhibition, “Liberty and Justice” at the New England Quilt Museum in 2018.

During their month’s-long occupation, the theater troupe pretty much trashed the place, so when another opportunity to show the doll house came up this year, I decided to fix it up first. Stay tuned for more stories about the renovation. Other posts in this Doll house series: part 2, part 3.

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

Bedtime Stitches at the Cahoon Museum

Cahoon Museum of American Art, Cotuit, MA

For the past month, things have been very busy around here, with the publication of my new picture book, MY BED and the debut of the touring exhibition, Salley Mavor: Bedtime Stitches at the Cahoon Museum of American Art in Cotuit, MA (through Dec. 19, 2020). To plan your visit and register for timed entry, go here. For those of you who live too far to visit, do not fret! The museum has put much of the exhibition on their website here. You can also scroll through this post and see many, many pictures of the show.

Currently, the Bedtime Stitches exhibition is booked at 7 museums through May 2023 and more could be added. I wish I could wave a magic and send it all over the country, but I’m limited by how many years I want to keep the collection in circulation, as well as reliant on the interest and financial support of museums and curators. If you want the show to travel close to where you live, please talk it up with a museum in your area. Enthusiasm from local members of the community can make a difference. That’s how a few of the locations already on the tour heard about the opportunity. Museums are welcome to contact me for information about hosting the exhibit. To find out about the book and see the tour schedule, please go here.

Sarah Jonson – Director and Curator

Bedtime Stitches has been years in the planning and I feel so fortunate to have had the support and encouragement of the Cahoon Museum along the way. When the pandemic caused it’s closing earlier this year and the museum had to cancel its major summer exhibition, they remained committed to my show this fall, even lengthening its duration. I’m impressed by the staff’s professionalism, dedication and resourcefulness in carrying out the museum’s mission which states that it “celebrates American art in ways that expand knowledge, enrich the spirit, and engage the heart.” Museum Director Sarah Johnson was even able to secure the sponsorship of the Coby Foundation, which funds projects in the textile and needle arts field!

Annie Dean – Special Projects Consultant

Because of Special Project Consultant Annie Dean’s careful planning, we were able to get the show installed without a hitch. Michelle Law was brought in to hang the artwork and wall panels and expertly apply the title decals, which can be tricky to do.

Michelle Law – Art installation specialist

Since Bedtime Stitches opened a few weeks ago, I’ve heard from many locals who’ve been to see the show. Thank you for going! For everybody who lives too far, I’ve posted several slide shows with photos of the gallery, the artwork and the wall panels.

Slide Show of the main gallery at the Cahoon Museum:

MY BED original artwork
The touring exhibition features all 18 original bas-relief embroidered illustrations for my picture book, MY BED. The pieces are presented behind glass in cherry wood shadow box frames that my husband Rob made this past summer.

The scenes I made for the book have 2 lives:
1. As Illustrations: The original embroidered pieces were photographed and reproduced in the book, MY BED.
2. As Framed Artwork: I added fabric borders, signed and dated each piece and put them in frames.Then they were ready to be hung on the wall and exhibited, so that people could experience the detail and 3-dimensional quality of the “real thing”.

I am glad to be able to share my work in both printed and original form, so that it’s accessible to a variety of audiences, young and old, from near and far.

Slide Show of finished pieces with borders:

Wall Panels
This slide show includes an Introduction, Bio and a series of mounted boards that describe in words and pictures how I approached illustrating My Bed, from the initial sketches to the many stages of creating the 3-dimensional scenes that are reproduced in the book. The series of panels highlights different aspects of my working methods and gives glimpses into my thought process as I made choices along the way.

Only at the Cahoon Museum
In addition to showing the original artwork for MY BED and the information panels that comprise the Bedtime Stitches touring exhibition, the Cahoon Museum has devoted space in the gallery to displaying rarely seen items from my studio. To give a historical context to the development of my art, they wanted to show work from my childhood to my art school days to the present day. Included are my doll house, fairy houses, self portrait and other 3-dimensional figures and scenes which you can see in this slide show:

You can also see my mini tributes to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (See how I made Ruth here.) and Climate Change activist Greta Thunberg (See how I made Greta here.)


The 40 page picture book, MY BED: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep around the World is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ISBN 978-0-544-94906-5. It is available through booksellers everywhere. Autographed copies are sold at Eight Cousins Books, the Cahoon Museum and my Etsy Shop.

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

RIP R.B.G.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1933- 2020

On Friday night, when I heard about the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I felt heavy with sorrow and trepidation about the future of our country. The next morning I pushed aside everything on my schedule and started making a mini tribute to the Notorious R.G.B., as she was affectionately named. To learn about her ground breaking contributions to civil rights and women’s equality in America, please read her obituary.

A high resolution file of the memorial photo above can be downloaded.

For me, the process of depicting Ruth in doll form was pure therapy – painting her face, stitching her hair, bending her glasses. Just holding her in the palm of my hand brought a sense of peace. For the past few days, I’ve been sharing the different steps along the way on Facebook and Instagram and the response has been overwhelming. This project has hit a chord with my followers in a way that goes beyond a focus on and curiosity about my techniques. Followers wrote to say that seeing the photos “made me catch my breath” and “made me smile and my heart calm.”

The finished R.G.B. doll will be on display in my show, Salley Mavor: Bedtime Stitches at the Cahoon Museum of American Art in Cotuit MA until Dec. 19, 2020.

To measure Ruth’s arm length, I used Greta as a model.

She had many collars to choose from, but I made a simple lace variety.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1933- 2020. May she rest in power.

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

MY BED is officially launched!

I’m happy to finally report that MY BED is officially released today, Sept. 8th! Thank you to all of you who pre-ordered signed copies of the book. Please be patient while I process 500+ orders and make a gazillion trips to the post office. I hope to get most of them out this week. Some of you may have received yours already, as I jumped the gun a bit and sent out some ahead of schedule. (Don’t tell my publisher!)
You can order signed copies in my shop here.

The book, MY BED: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep around the World takes the viewer on an international journey, showing where children sleep in varying cultures and living environments around the world. I like to think that it will help both children and adults view the world as a good place.

In creating the illustrations for My Bed, I feel as if I’ve gotten to visit all the children in the places they live around the globe, even though I stayed home. Author Rebecca Bond wrote a poem that celebrates our differences, while also bringing us together through the universal theme of children sleeping in their safe little beds. When making the artwork for each of the featured locations, I thought about what makes each child’s bed and home unique, as well as warm and welcoming. My aim was to portray a distinct sense of place for each culture, using architecture, furnishings, and landscapes as guides. I researched the different regions, looking at photos of children and their living situations, both inside and out, now and in the past.

I started working on the illustrations over 4 years ago, but after the 2016 election I put it aside for a year and a half and delved into political satire with the Wee Folk Players and the stop-motion animated film, Liberty and Justice. Looking back, this period has been the most trans-formative, both personally and professionally. Through the twists and turns of the past few years, I’ve learned that sharing my vision, whether it be in a precious, poignant or provocative way, is important.

Liberty and Justice – stop-motion animated film

Many of you have followed along through the process of making the scenes for the book. And there’s more to come! Throughout the fall, I will be posting stories and pictures about different aspects of the illustrations. Up until now, I haven’t posted images of the whole scenes, just details and process photos. But now that the book is out, I’ll show a few. For a full list of posts about making each scene, click here.

Click here to find out how I made the scene from Afghanistan.

Click here to see posts about how I made the Dutch scene.

Click here for a peek at making the South American scene.

Click here to see how I made the Indian scene.

BEDTIME STITCHES Exhibition
And there’s more exciting news! Salley Mavor: Bedtime Stitches, the touring exhibition of original embroidered artwork for the book debuts at the Cahoon Museum of American Art in Cotuit, MA. The exhibition will be there from Sept. 11 – Dec. 19, 2020. To ensure a safe and welcoming experience when you visit, please pre-register for timed entry. Masks will also be required. For those of you who live too far away to come see the show in person, the museum will be sharing the exhibition on their website as much as possible. To see other locations for Bedtime Stitches, go here.

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

bed book peek – Mongolia (part 3)

This is Part 3 in a series about how I made the Mongolian scene for my new picture book MY BED: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep around the World. I’m thrilled to say that the book will be published very soon – in 10 days! Thank you for following along during the past few years, while I shared bits and pieces of the process. For a full list of posts, go to this page.

Update: Signed copies of My Bed can ordered in my shop here. 40 pages, 9″ x 9″, words by Rebecca Bond, pictures by Salley Mavor, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-544-94906-5

BEDTIME STITCHES Exhibition
And there’s more exciting news! Salley Mavor: Bedtime Stitches, the touring exhibition of original embroidered artwork for the book debuts at the Cahoon Museum of American Art in Cotuit, MA. The exhibition will be there from Sept. 11 – Dec. 22, 2020. To ensure a safe and welcoming experience when you visit, please pre-register for timed entry. Masks will also be required. For those of you who live too far away to come see the show in person, the museum will be sharing the exhibition on their website as much as possible. To see other locations for Bedtime Stitches, go here.

Along with the illustrations, additional artworks will be on view, including two fairy houses, many of my wee folk dolls, Polly Doll, as well as composition books and objects from my home studio. Also included is a doll house I built in 1975 while in college and which I’ve spent the past few months renovating and redecorating (photo below). These additional artworks will only be on view at the Cahoon Museum show.

Doll house built in 1975, renovated in 2020

Now, back to the Mongolian scene. Part 1 and part 2 are about making the little yurt, sheep, plants, door and flag. This 3rd and last part is about the yurt’s cozy interior that appears in the cutaway.

In my research, I found photographs of families inside their yurts, sitting on beautiful carpets, always with a stove in the center. I noticed painted red furniture, so I made a little chest decorated with a chain-stitched locking key pattern.

To keep the felt straight and firm, I edged the pieces with wire, which is stitched over so you don’t see the shiny metal.

For the stove, I used black felt and various hooks and eyes that look like mini hardware.

As with the red chest, the different pieces are edged with wire to keep them firm. For the feet, I sewed on square clay beads. The stove pipe is made with acid free card board covered with felt.

I made a little tea kettle of wood and wire. The lid is a button with a seed bead knob sewn on top.

A little metallic acrylic paint makes it look authentic.

I made a little rug using brocade upholstery fabric as a base and chain stitched a bold pattern around the border.

The child has a painted wooden bead head and wire hands.

He only need one arm because most of his body will be hidden under the covers.

For the bed covering, I embellished a piece of printed cotton that must be at least 50 years old. In fact, every piece of fabric and felt used in all of the illustrations for this book came from my collection. That goes for all of the found objects as well.

I used red leather strapping to represent the painted red slats that hold up the walls. Lengths of leather are folded over and sewn together and then sewn in rows.

And lastly, I sewed glass and metal beads on top of the chest, just to make it look homey. I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes peek at making the Mongolian scene. For a full list of posts about My Bed, please refer to this page.

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.

Bed book peek – Mongolia (part 2)

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This is Part 2 in a series about how I made the Mongolian spread for my new picture book. Photographs of my stitched bas-relief scenes will be printed in MY BED: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep around the World. Here are links to posts about making other illustrations for the book: South America, JapanNorth AfricaGhana, Russia, Scandinavia, North AmericaHollandIran, and Afghanistan. To see a list of all my books, click here.

Update: Signed copies of My Bed can ordered in my shop here. 40 pages, 9″ x 9″, words by Rebecca Bond, pictures by Salley Mavor, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-544-94906-5

Art Exhibition: An accompanying national tour of the original artwork reproduced in the book will debut at the Cahoon Museum of American Art in Cotuit, Massachusetts from Sept. 11 – Dec. 19, 2020. Information about the exhibition is on this page.

Part 1 looks at the process of making the yurt or ger, sheep, and plants in the Mongolian scene. This Part 2 will focus on the creating the door.

My_Bed_Mongolia (1 of 1)-39When researching the yurts or gers in Mongolia, I was impressed with the bold and beautiful doors. They are made of wood panels painted with traditional geometric motifs in predominately primary colors. For my design, I referenced several doors I saw in photos, combining the squares and triangles to make a pattern I liked.
I don’t remember exactly how I transferred the design from paper to the felt, but it probably involved a ruler and eyeballing it with a chalk fabric pencil. The red basting stitches mark where panels will later be placed on top. I colored in the patterns with chain stitched rows of cotton flower thread. The yellow triangles are made with fly stitches.

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Stitching patterns like this is the closest I get to doing old-style embroidery. It feels as calming as coloring in between the lines in a coloring book. 

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To replicate the wood panels, I cut strips of felt and outlined them with blanket stitches. To make them firm, I edged the panels with wire, which I covered over with stitches.

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For the door’s hardware, I poured through my collection of hooks and eyes until I found some of the right scale.

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I sewed them in place back to back, so they looked like door hinges.

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In the research photos, I often saw red flags flying on poles near the doorways. To make mine, I cut the corner off of an old red hankie that had delicate white edging. I then finished off the other two sides. I added wire around the outside edge so that it could be bent to look like a flag flapping in the wind.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you will have noticed that besides fabric, thread and beads, wire is an essential component of my artwork. I use it as a structural framework to keep limp materials upright and to form free-standing shapes.

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Another feature of the doors is a hanging rope-like pull. To make one, I braided strands of pima cotton.

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Please stay tuned for Part 3 in this series, which will be about making the child and the interior of the Mongolian yurt or ger.

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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.