WHAT A RELIEF installation

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that my artwork runs the gamut from precious to poignant to provocative, making it hard to categorize. One thing is for certain, I love creating and sharing my vision with you, whether on social media, in books or in person! This summer, from now until Sept. 11th, there’s an opportunity to see over 150 of my bas-relief pieces and sculptural objects at the Brick Store Museum in the quintessential New England town of Kennebunk, Maine.

WHAT A RELIEF at the Brick Store Museum

The retrospective exhibition, WHAT A RELIEF: The Art of Salley Mavor contains a large selection of my life’s work, showing everything from a folksy fairy world to full-frontal nudity (in the Garden of Eden). The exhibition spans over 40 years, from early in my career to the present day. Rarely seen works on loan from private collections fill multiple galleries on the Museum’s entire first floor. The show is laid out somewhat chronologically, so visitors can see the evolution of my style and techniques through the years..

Brick Store Museum block, Kennebunk, Maine

So what’s my connection to the Brick Store Museum? In 2019, my recent topical pieces, including Displaced and the animated film, Liberty and Justice were included in their exhibit “The Art of Cute”. The show, which was curated by the Illustration Institute, included a broad spectrum of art and products that could be considered “cute”, from endearing to edgy. My topical and political work were part of the Meta cute or “beyond” cute category. The museum received such rave reviews about my work that we immediately started planning a larger solo exhibit and here we are!

The Art of Cute at the Brick Store Museum in 2019

Curating a show of this size takes a lot of time and preparation. In addition to figuring out what to include, I’ve spent the past couple of years studying the museum’s floor plan and visualizing how my work could be organized in the galleries.

Since it is a retrospective exhibition, I needed to track down people who’d purchased my work decades ago. My records are spotty, so I don’t know where everything ended up, but I was able to contact several owners who live within a reasonable driving distance who were willing to loan their pictures for the duration of the exhibit. So, in the early spring, I personally picked up artwork from various locations around New England. It was wonderful to meet some owners for the first time and hear how much they’ve enjoyed living with the pieces for 25 to 40 years! After bringing them back home, I removed the artwork from their frames and cleaned the glass, as well as took digital photos. Keeping them protected under UV glass for all these years really made a difference because they were in excellent condition inside.

In addition to early work on loan, the exhibition includes more recent pieces that I’ve purposely not offered for sale, so that they are available to exhibit. One consequence of all this laborious hand stitching, is that it takes forever to accumulate enough work to have a solo show. For instance, I completed just 3 pieces in the past year and a half (Frosty Morning, Mossy Glen and Harvest Time), even though I spent every spare moment working on them. At this stage of my career, I feel that the value of my work lies in its ability to be shared publicly. So that means I’ll be holding onto my recent work for the time being. See a schedule of current and upcoming exhibitions here.

Two weeks ago, Rob and I stuffed a UHaul cargo van with crates and boxes filled with artwork and drove up to Maine to deliver everything to the Museum. We spent a few days helping the staff set up the show, which you can see in photos and videos further ahead in this post. We left before the installation was fully completed, so we’ll take more pictures when we go back for the opening event on June 25th.

WHAT A RELIEF: The Art of Salley Mavor
Brick Store Museum
117 Main St., Kennebunk, Maine
June 7th thru Sept. 11th
Meet the Artist on June 25th, 1 to 3 PM

Once the artwork was unpacked, the museum staff got to work installing the show. Here’s Leanne Hayden, the collections and exhibition manager hanging Noah’s Ark and a group of ornaments over the mantelpiece in the first gallery. I made the ornaments about 10 years ago for the Family Trees event at the Concord Museum.

One wall in the center gallery features enlarged photographs of women from my piece, Cover Up. Their faces are blown up to about 12 times the size of the 1″ wooden bead doll heads. I like playing with scale, taking something tiny and making it huge. They certainly demand your attention when you walk into the room.

Cynthia Walker, the museum’s executive director, skillfully hung the prints on the wall with sticky Command strips.

I was so impressed by how quickly everything went up. While I set up sculptural items in display cases, Cynthia and Leanne measured and hung the framed pieces.

Props and characters from the animated film Liberty and Justice.

In this video, I bring you around the room, pointing out what’s on display.

With her baby and dog looking on, Cynthia hung Bedtime Stitches. How impressive is that?

The Bedtime Stitches portion of the exhibit has been touring for the past 2 years and is scheduled at other locations around the US through 2024.

Video tour of Bedtime Stitches

It’s wonderful to hear that the exhibition is already attracting many visitors from near and far. I look forward to meeting some of you at the opening event on Sat., June 25th from 1 to 3 PM. And for those of you from very far away, we’ll take more photos and share them!

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

Mossy Glen: Part 8 – wee folk

This is the 8th and final part of the series about making the spring landscape, Mossy Glen. All spring I’ve shared photos, videos and commentary about how I created the piece, from stitching moss to forming wire stems. I’ve saved the best for last – today’s post is about making the wee folk characters! 
Part 1 is all about stitching a moss-like texture, Part 2 gives a glimpse at how I made the cherry trees, Part 3 is about the stone walls, Part 4 shows how I made the forsythia blossoms, Part 5 features wire and felt leaves, Part 6 is about chain-stitching leaves and Part 7 looks at the violets and berries.

Before delving into how I made the wee folk in Mossy Glen, I’d like to announce the opportunity to see a large selection of my work in person this summer. The exhibition, What a Relief, has been in the works for years and I’m happy to say that its doors are open to the public this week! For those of you who live too far away to come see the show, I’ll be sharing photos and videos of the exhibition in future posts.

WHAT A RELIEF: The Art of Salley Mavor
June 7 – Sept. 11, 2022
Brick Store Museum, Kennebunk, ME
Meet the Artist on June 25, 1 – 3 PM

This is the first major retrospective exhibition of my artwork, spanning over 40 years, from early on in my career to the present day. Rarely seen works on loan from private collections fill multiple galleries on the Museum’s entire first floor. The show is laid out somewhat chronologically, so visitors can see the evolution of my style and techniques through the years. Over 150 framed pieces and sculptural objects are on display, including the series of original illustrations from my most recent picture book, MY BED.

What a Relief, Brick Store Museum
What a Relief, Brick Store Museum

Wee Folk in Mossy Glen
Now, let’s turn our attention back to the characters frolicking in the Mossy Glen. I’m never sure who is going to appear in these landscapes. They just show up one by one and claim their spots. After many months building places for the wee folk to live, it feels satisfying to finally meet them and let them take over.

The figures are similar to the acorn-capped dolls in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk, just smaller in scale. Instead of pipe cleaners, I made the armatures with 24 gauge jewelry wire. You have to wind a lot of thread around the wire to make the limbs look proportional and not too spindly. At least you don’t have to deal with pipe cleaner fuzzies poking out.

After wrapping the wire armature with either embroidery floss or tapestry yarn, I embellished the torso and arms with faux knitting. which is basically rows of chain stitching.

I first started experimenting with fake or faux knitting when I made Polly’s Irish sweater by embroidering patterns and textures on felt. I’m not very experienced with knitting or crocheting, so this seemed like a good solution.

Since then, I’ve left out the felt and stitched directly onto the thread wrapped bodies. It’s fussy for sure, but the clothing comes out looking the way I want it to.

Here’s a Stitch Minute video showing some of my faux knitting.

I know this fellow looks uncomfortable, but I didn’t want to hide what he endured for the sake of fashion.

I made this stroller out of wire, which I covered with embroidery floss. The wheels are beads. As usual, I was so absorbed in figuring out how to make it, that I didn’t think to take photos along the way. I’ll try better with the next scene.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this series about making Mossy Glen. Here’s a list of the different parts:
Mossy Glen (overview)
Part 1 (moss)
Part 2 (cherry trees)
Part 3 (stone walls)
Part 4 (forsythia)
Part 5 (wire and felt leaves)
Part 6 (chain stitched leaves)
Part 7 (violets and berries)

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 opens in Lincoln, NE and other news

First off, I’d like to welcome the influx of new subscribers, who’ve recently discovered my work through The Quilt Show. I hope that you enjoy exploring my needle and thread universe that you don’t get too lost in the archives!
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Today’s post includes an exhibition announcement with a virtual gallery tour, a zoom interview hosted by Niisha HandCrafted from Dubai, UAE and a preview of the fall landscape in my 4 seasons series.

Southeastern New England took the brunt of last weekend’s blizzard, but miraculously we didn’t lose power. Sunday was both a gross and fine motor skills kind of day, with shoveling outside and stitching inside in front of the wood-stove. Gotta have a balance of physical exertion and fiddly handwork or weird things start to happen!

I’m working on the fall landscape (autumn for some of you) in my 4 seasons series. As you can see, this scene will have a moss-covered habitat for the wee folk that is surrounded by chain-stitched vegetation. There’s still a lot more to do, but if I can complete it by spring, this yet-to-be-named piece will join Mossy Glen and Frosty Morning in my retrospective show at the Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk, ME this summer (June 3 – Sept. 11, 2022).

Bedtime Stitches Touring Exhibition
The International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska is hosting Bedtime Stitches through April 9, 2022. Even if you live too far away and can’t see the show in person, you can have a virtual gallery tour on their web page here.

The Bedtime Stitches exhibition is a unique opportunity for the public to see the detail and 3-dimensional quality of my actual hand-stitched artwork, which was photographed and printed in the book, MY BED: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep around the World.

Russia

The collection of artwork takes the viewer on an international journey, showing where children sleep in varying cultures and living environments around the world. Along with the framed embroidered pieces, interpretive boards give a background peek at my process. See where the show is going for the next few years on the exhibitions page.

View the virtual gallery tour here.

Bedtime Stitches at the International Quilt Museum
Bedtime Stitches at the International Quilt Museum
Bedtime Stitches at the International Quilt Museum

Signed copies of My Bed can be ordered in my shop here. Watch this 8 minute documentary about how I created the illustrations for the book.

Visitors to the exhibition, as well as those of you at home with a copy of My Bed, can hunt for details in the artwork using the downloadable sheet below.

And finally, I want to share a zoom interview I did with Niisha HandCrafted from Dubai, UAE, which can be seen on her Facebook page. If you’re interested in learning about my artwork, where it came from and why I do it, this interview is for you. Prompted by Niisha’s insightful questions, I blab on for over an hour about all kinds of things – how I got started and grew as an artist, what I think about “slow stitching”, as well as offer advice for people who want to build a creative life of their own.

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 – Home: Part 1

PART 1 – Overview: For the past few years, I’ve shared the process of making the 3-dimensional embroidered illustrations for my newest picture book, MY BED. The book has been out for a year and the Bedtime Stitches touring exhibition of the original artwork is well underway. So, I’d like to pick up where I left off last year and continue to show what goes into doing this kind of work. Posts I’ve written in the Bed Book Peek series so far are listed here.

The Bedtime Stitches touring exhibition is at the  New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA through Dec. 31, 2021 and will be at the International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, NE Jan. 25 – April 10, 2022. See the the full schedule here. Visitors often ask, “How did she make all of this in one year?”. It’s confusing because all of the pieces are consistently embroidered with the date 2020 on the border. Even though I worked on it over a 3 year period, the project was completed when it was published as a book in 2020.

Signed copies of My Bed can be ordered in my shop here. Watch this 8 minute documentary about how I created the illustrations for the book.

HOME – Near the end of the story, the illustration shows a child in bed, when it’s almost time to go to sleep. All of the animal icons from the different places featured throughout the book are gathered together in a snug little bedroom. I felt it was important to depict a universal child, who wasn’t clearly identifiable by gender or race, whom any child being read to could identify with. I also wanted the house to convey a warm and playful sense of “home” that could be imagined anywhere.

You can find out more about the Animal Icon spot illustrations in these previous posts – Rooster, Camel, Parrot, Elephant, Goldfish, Cat, Duck, Sheep, Rabbit, Cow, Crocodile, Giraffe, Dog, Pony.

To begin, I enlarged the thumb nail sketch to full scale and used it as a template. The drawing provided a general layout of the house and tree, but once I started making the animals, they took over and pretty much determined what the interior arrangement would be.

I worked on one double-page spread at a time. The background and parts accumulated on an old ironing board that served as an extra working surface. When I needed to press a piece of felt, the iron was right there.

Rob set up a camera and lights on top of the table, so we could make a little animated film before I sewed all of the parts together.

This is what it looks like when you compress 6 weeks into 9 seconds.

There’s is so much to show about making this scene that I’m going to write several posts focusing on different parts, including the animals, the child and architectural details. Stay tuned for more!

Bedtime Stitches on view at the New England Quilt Museum

I’m happy to announce that the touring exhibition, BEDTIME STITCHES, is on view through Dec. 31, 2021 at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA. This is an opportunity for people in southern New England to experience the detail and 3-dimensional quality of the original artwork for my book, My Bed: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep around the World .

Rob and I recently drove up to Lowell to take photos and videos of the show to share with you. In addition to snapping still photos, Rob filmed some impromptu conversations in the gallery, which are included later in this post.

My bas-relief embroidered book illustrations have 2 lives. The easiest and most accessible way to enjoy them is by looking at the reproductions on the printed pages of the book, My Bed. Another way to experience the artwork is to go to an exhibition of the originals, where the scenes are presented behind glass in shadow-box frames hung on the wall. Either way, you can get lost in the stitched miniature worlds full of characters, props and scenery.

Personally signed copies of My Bed are available in my shop here. Watch this 8 minute documentary about how I created the illustrations for the book.

The BEDTIME STITCHES exhibition has been traveling for the past year and is booked at museums around the country through 2024 (see schedule below). I’m open to extending the tour, so if you’d like to see the exhibition come closer to where you live, please reach out to museums in your area and tell them about the opportunity to show my artwork. Interested museums are welcome to contact me (Salley at weefolkstudio.com) for information about hosting the exhibition.

BEDTIME STITCHES Tour Schedule

Sept. 14 – Dec. 31, 2021New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, MA
Jan 25 – April 10, 2022International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, NE
June 3 – Sept. 11, 2022,  Brick Store Museum, Kennebunk, ME, (Bedtime Stitches will be included in the retrospective exhibition, What a Relief: The Art of Salley Mavor)
Oct. 15 – Dec. 31, 2022Historical and Cultural Center of Clay County, Moorhead, MN
Feb. 1 – Apr. 30, 2023Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, La Conner, WA
Fall 2023Southern Vermont Arts Center, Manchester, VT. (Bedtime Stitches and Social Fabric will be displayed together)
Feb. – May 2024Upcountry History Museum, Greenville, SC
July — Dec. 2024Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, NY. (Bedtime Stitches and Social Fabric will be displayed together)

Pam Weeks – New England Quilt Museum’s curator

Pam Weeks, the museum’s curator greeted us when we got there. She did a beautiful job hanging my artwork in a cozy corner gallery, where visitors can spend time viewing the pieces up close.

A series of information panels describe different aspects of my working process, including making sketches, stitching and using wire and found objects.

While we were there, we had the good fortune to meet 2 very interesting women – artist Laura Petrovich-Cheney, who’s remarkable Wood Quilts are also on display and Janet Elwin, who helped found the New England Quilt Museum in 1987. Here we are conversing at the museum.

Here I am signing a copy of My Bed for Laura Petrovich-Cheney.

BEDTIME STITCHES will be on view at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA through Dec. 31, 2021. The next stop on the tour is the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska (Jan 25 – April 10, 2022).

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.

Social Fabric exhibition in Greenville SC

I’m excited to announce that my exhibition, Social Fabric is on display at the Upcountry History Museum in Greenville, South Carolina! It’ll be there for a good long while, through Sept. 5, 2021. Seeing the detail and 3-dimensional quality of my work up close is a very different experience than looking at printed or digital images. It feels like you’re peeking into the miniature stitched worlds from a side window, not just through the front entrance. So, I encourage those of you who live within a reasonable distance of Greenville, SC to visit the museum this summer. You won’t be able to miss the humongous banner hanging outside the building!

6 years ago, the Upcountry History Museum hosted my Pocketful of Posies exhibition and I’m pleased to have another opportunity to show my work there! In the near future, they will also be hosting the Bedtimes Stitches touring exhibition. We’re still working out the dates, but it looks like the show will be scheduled in late 2023 or early 2024.

SALLEY MAVOR: Social Fabric
April 3 – Sept. 5, 2021
Upcountry History Museum, Greenville, SC

The museum’s exhibition designer kindly sent photos of the display. I love how the cherry wood frames and the vinyl cutouts of birds look on the slate gray walls!

Birds of Beebe Woods

This exhibition includes a variety of pieces I’ve made over the past 20 years that interpret the theme of social connectivity. The works explore cultural diversity, migration, fashion, the natural world, and a range of social narratives, from the everyday to topical subjects.

The large pieces (24″ x 30″) average about 4 months to make, so it’s taken years to accumulate enough pieces to show together like this. That’s why I’ve decided not to sell my recent work, including Birds of Beebe Woods and Displaced.

Displaced, 24″ H x 22″ W, 2016

Large pieces that feature portraits of people who are connected to each other in various ways include Whiskers, Face Time and Cover Up. There’s also Walking the Dog, Rabbitat and several original illustrations from the picture books, You and Me : Poems of Friendship (1997) and In the Heart (2001).

Dana Thorpe, the director of the Upcountry History Museum wrote this about Social Fabric, “Your work is breathtaking, emotional, and energizing. I have the pleasure of walking through the Mezzanine Gallery, where the exhibition is on display, every day and am inspired.”

The Social Fabric exhibition also includes Self Portrait: A Personal History of Fashion, which you can see in this film. I hope that you enjoy the nostalgic soundtrack!

To keep up with new posts, subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). 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 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. UPDATE: The exhibition has been extended to August, 2021 (closing date TBA). 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 (salley at weefolkstudio.com) 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

Bedtime Stitches tour

Japan

The first showing of the Bedtime Stitches touring exhibition is coming to an end, with just 3 more weeks to go (through Dec. 19) at the Cahoon Museum in Cotuit MA. So, if you’ve thought about going, but haven’t yet, please get yourself over there before it’s shipped off to Illinois! (See the tour schedule later in this post). I recommend registering ahead, as the museum has 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. There’s a free Open House on Sunday, Dec. 6th from 10:00 – 4:00.

One visitor who made the trip from 2 hours away described her experience this way, “Having not been in a museum, post office, etc. since March 13, I debated coming down, but I felt very safe in that BIG room and with the COVID19 protocols and limited # of people allowed in per hour.”

The Falmouth Enterprise

Reviews of the exhibition have a similar theme, all pointing out the comforting and uplifting effect the artwork has on people. The headline of the Falmouth Enterprise article read, “Bedtime Stitches Provides Cozy Respite From Tumultuous Year”. And Artscope Magazine‘s review starts off saying, “The genius of Salley Mavor’s meticulously realized imaginative worlds is just what we need right now.”

Russia

Some people have gone to the museum more than once, returning 2 or 3 times with family and friends. Visitors have left comments like these – “What beautiful sensitive artwork to soothe the soul.” and “It’s so beautiful, with such warm qualities, something we need so badly now.” Hearing these kind of reactions makes me feel that all those years of stitching were worth it.

The “Bedtime Stitches” exhibition features 18 original sculptural embroideries that were used to illustrate my new picture book, My Bed: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep around the World. The book is available wherever books are sold. Signed copies are in my shop here.

Before I framed each scene behind glass, I added fabric borders and signed them with my initials and the year 2020. I completed them all before 2020, of course, but that’s the date when the project was completed and the collection was published in a book.

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 the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum in La Conner, WA heard about the opportunity and booked the show for 2023. Museums are welcome to contact me (salley at weefolkstudio.com) for information about hosting the exhibit. 

The exhibition includes a series of panels showing the process of making the artwork for MY BED.

BEDTIME STITCHES
A touring exhibition of original bas-relief embroidered illustrations by Salley Mavor for her new picture book, MY BED: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep around the World. 

Sept. 11 – Dec. 19, 2020 at the Cahoon Museum, Cotuit, MA.
Feb. 28 – April 25, 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
Fall 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.

Home

The Cahoon Museum has published the sweetest little booklet that makes a nice keepsake of the exhibition. The Booklets are 6″ x 9″ soft cover, full-color, 16 pages. It’s full of photos and information about the exhibition, including images of works only on view at the Cahoon. See what’s in the book here.

Animals

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.

The Bedtime Stitches exhibition is booked through 2024, the the possibility of more locations being 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 (salley at weefolkstudio.com) 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.

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lace bombing

It being near the end of my retrospective exhibition “Once Upon a Stitch” at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, I thought I’d squeeze in a post about how I “lace bombed” a pole in the gallery with doilies and other lacy items from my stash.
Carloads of visitors have been flocking to see the show before its last day on Sunday, Jan. 26th. If you’re thinking of making the trip, please note that the museum is open Thursday 10 am – 7 pm, Friday – Saturday 10 am – 4 pm, Sunday 12 noon – 4 pm. 

When I first checked out the gallery and saw the plain white column in the middle of the room, I thought,”How unfortunate, but maybe this is an opportunity waiting to happen.” To me, displaying artwork and decorating a space for an exhibition is like a piece of art in itself. On the drive home, I came up with the idea of covering the pole with lace and doilies in the spirit of yarn bombing.

My collection of lace and linen was passed down in the family or was given to me by people who were trying to find homes for their relative’s stuff. As the pile grows, I keep thinking that I’ll use some of it my artwork, but lace rarely matches my vision. The exception is a doily that I dyed green for the “Ring Around the Rosie” illustration in Pocketful of Posies.

Doily used in a illustration from Pocketful of Posies

After finding out the pole’s height and circumference, I unpacked my stash of doilies, lace and antimacassars, and laid them out on my work table.

This project didn’t require any fussy hand-stitching, so I dusted off my sewing machine and plugged it in. I pinned together rows of doilies and sewed the overlapping edges with the zig-zag stitch.

I wanted the covering to be one piece that could be easily installed. A large piece of green felt left over from my fairy kit days seemed like a good background fabric, with just enough contrast to show off the delicate lace patterns. Then I pinned the rows of doilies and lace to the felt and sewed them in place. Since I don’t use a sewing machine very often, it was fun to push the peddle and go!

When it came time to install the exhibition in the gallery, I wrapped the column with the felt and lace cover and pinned it in place. Then I finished it of with a simple whip stitch along the seam, which was the only hand stitching on the whole project. I even remembered to bring my trusty thimble, which I feel naked without!

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.