This is a list of the most frequently asked questions about my artwork. Several subjects come up again and again in the comments on my posts, so I thought I’d devote a whole page to answering them as best I can.

When did you start making fabric reliefs?
I named my work “fabric relief” in about 1980, when people kept asking what it was called. Before that, I made free standing dolls that were photographed in 3-dimensional scenes. In an effort to have my work recognized as art, I converted to a relief format which is displayed under glass, in shadow-box frames. The Way Home, the first of my 11 children’s books illustrated in fabric relief, was published in 1991.

How did you learn this technique?
I am self-taught in embroidery and fiber art and have developed my style and working methods through over 40 years of experimentation and practice. I am inspired by 17th century English “stumpwork” or raised embroidery and have figured out my own way of achieving a 3-dimensional effect. I learned about visual communication, color and design as an illustration student at the Rhode Island School of Design (IL 1978).

Do you teach classes?
No, I do not teach classes or give workshops. My schedule is full of making art and organizing exhibitions. My how-to book Felt Wee Folk provides step-by-step instructions for making wee folk dolls, with many examples and patternsTo get an idea of my thoughts about sharing knowledge and artistic privacy, please read my post to teach or not to teach.

Are there videos of your stitching methods?
Yes, I’ve recently filmed Stitch Minutes (short demonstration videos) that show close up views of my hands stitching various parts of my artwork. You can view them on the Videos Page.

Do you give lectures about your work?
I give online presentations about my 40+ year career as an illustrator, entrepreneur, and stop-motion animator, showing how textile art can be used to communicate ideas, entertain, educate and inspire. My talk covers a range of creative endeavors, with a look behind the scenes at my unique working process. It is a story of transformation, showing the evolution of my work from precious to poignant to provocative. If your organization is interested in hosting a presentation, please contact me (Salley at weefolkstudio.com).

What kind of felt do you use?
Most of the felt in my recent fabric relief pieces is plant-dyed wool felt produced by a now defunct cottage business. A Child’s Dream sells a nice selection of wool felt. They also offer a craft supply basket, full of practically everything you need to make doll projects form my new how-to book, Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures. Find information about wool felt suppliers here.

Do you have a shop?
Yes, I have an online Etsy Shop which offers printed reproductions of my work on note cards, puzzles, posters and (autographed) children’s books and how-to books. My original pieces are currently not for sale.  

Do you sell your original fabric reliefs?
Until recently, I’ve offered original pieces for sale. Now, as the demand to show my work increases, I’m keeping everything I have so that they are available for exhibitions. I do not make commissioned artwork. Exhibitions and other events are listed here.

Will you write any more how-to books?
I will not be writing any more how-to books. A revised edition of Felt Wee Folk, which was first published in 2003 was published in 2015. The popular fairies and other dolls remain and the non-doll felt projects are replaced with new varieties of wee folk characters and more doll-making tips. This all-doll version has a new cover and more pages than the first edition. It  features many new projects for seasoned wee folk makers as well as new converts, who are just beginning to learn how to wrap pipe-cleaner limbs. The book is titled Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures: 120 Enchanting Dolls  (C&T Publishing). Copies ordered from my Etsy Shop have extra goodies; an autograph, faux flowers to make 2 fairies and a pack of wee folk playing cards. Update: To read my thoughts about artistic privacy, go to this blog post: To teach or not to teach.

May I make and sell dolls from your how-to book?
Many people make fairies and dolls based on my designs. I cannot give permission to use my designs for personal profit, but individuals may sell the dolls on a limited basis, if the profits go to charity. Please give me credit on a tag or in the online description of the dolls. 

A note about the new edition of Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures:
I aim to protect the copyright of new techniques and patterns that are included in this follow-up edition.

Do you sell your dolls?
I do not sell wee folk dolls. 

Will you exhibit your work in my area?
Viewing my embroidered pieces is a completely different experience than seeing them online or in printed form. Therefore, I would like to create more opportunities for the public to see them “in person”. This requires invitations directly from venues. You can help by encouraging your local museum to show my work. A national tour of the original illustrations from my new picture book, My Bed: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep around the World is underway. The exhibition, “Salley Mavor: Bedtime Stitches” is booked at 11 museums through 2024. Inquiries from museum directors and curators are welcome. Please contact me (Salley at weefolkstudio.com) for information about hosting the exhibit. See my exhibition schedule here.

Is your studio open to the public?
Not usually, but occasionally I host an Open Studio event. My studio is a private work space and an oasis where I spend most of my time working alone, surrounded by collections of treasures.

How long does it take to make a fabric relief piece?
It takes about a month to stitch the original fabric relief pictures for my children’s books, depending on the size and detail of the illustration. I construct one piece at a time, stitching until it is completed. The characters are made specifically for each scene and not reused multiple times. I spent 3 years making the illustrations for Pocketful of Posies and 2 years for my most recent book, My Bed. Larger pieces, such as Birds of Beebe Woods  and Displaced take several months to stitch.

How many hours a day do you work?
I don’t keep track of the hours, but I work in my studio as much as I can, just about every day. My husband Rob teases,”When Salley’s not sleeping or eating, she’s working in her studio.” Of course that’s not entirely true, I do get out to exercise, work in the garden, meet friends, cook dinner and pay attention to my family. 

Do you use a sewing machine?
I only use a sewing machine to make clothes, curtains or pot holders–that kind of thing. My fabric relief pieces are all hand stitched.

Do you have any Blossom fairy kits for sale?
No, I’m sold out of kits, which I made and sold for 10 years, from 1998 – 2008. However, I offer the how-to book Felt Wee Folk, wool fleece fairy hair and faux flower petals for making fairy skirts and wings in my Etsy Shop.

Why have you delved into making political satire? 
I am not by nature a political person, but I believe that bearing witness through art is important for the health of our democracy, especially since the 2016 presidential election. To read an interview about the Wee Folk Players (They’re a Stitch), go to this post. In this Interview on WGBH TV, I reflect on my foray into political satire, the abrupt cancellation of my exhibit, “Liberty and Justice” and describe how it has affected my work and life.

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

Recent Posts

Studio News

On a recent glorious afternoon, I sat outside and stitched. It was one of those idyllic moments, when I felt truly at peace, doing something I value, in a place I love. Some people read books to immerse themselves in another world. I do it with a needle and thread. It’s embarrassing to admit that when given the choice of reading or stitching, I pick stitching every time. That’s a good thing, because otherwise I’d never get anything done! Right now, I’m in the middle of making a summer scene in my series of seasonal landscapes. I usually wait until a piece is finished before writing about it, but this one is taking so long that I’m giving previews, like the Baltimore Oriole Sneak peek.

Grandma Salley and 4 month old Elias

One welcome change in my studio routine this year are the almost daily visits by my grandson Elias, who is now 4 months old. As you can imagine, this little guy is bringing about a shift in my priorities.

In this post, I share info about 2 upcoming exhibits, as well as photos and videos of some special parts of the summer scene, including roses, raspberries, trees, and tree houses. But first, I’d like to let you know about a magazine article about my 45-year art career and a fun and entertaining podcast interview that just came out,

The summer issue of Art Quilting Studio features a 12-page artist portfolio about my work. I sent the editor a large selection of photos to choose from and to my surprise, they printed everything! The article covers a lot of ground and describes how and why I came to do what I do. I’m excited that more people will be seeing and learning about my artwork for the first time! This issue of the magazine can be purchased here.

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Julie Wake, the very personable executive director of the the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, for an episode in their series of Creative Exchange Podcasts. Listen to Salley Mavor / Staying True to Yourself and Your Work here.

The next showing of Bedtime Stitches, the touring exhibition of original artwork for my picture book, MY BED: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep around the World will be July 6 – Sept. 15, 2023 at the Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum in Carrollton, GA. To see the tour schedule, please visit the exhibitions page.

Afghanistan scene in MY BED


ON VIEW: Saturday, September 30, 2023 – Sunday, January 7, 2024
OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, September 30 from 2 to 4 P.M.
GALLERY TOUR with the artist at 3 P.M.

When the summer scene is finished, hopefully in time for my exhibit in Vermont this fall, I’ll write a series of posts that go into more detail, with commentary and photos that document my process. It will be the 4th in my seasonal landscape series. You can learn about how I made the other three, Frosty Morning, Mossy Glen and Harvest Time, in earlier posts on this blog. The images are printed as cards and jigsaw puzzles, which are available in my shop.

And now for the summer scene teaser!

Here’s a Stitch Minute video of making a felt rose. It’s an embellished version of a rose that Mimi Kirchner shared years ago on her blog.

I also made raspberries for the scene.

You can watch how I made them in this Stitch Minute video.

Here’s a close up of the tree, which is the main focal point.

I’ll leave with this little video of the tree houses in the summer scene. I just couldn’t resist playing! You may recognize the character peeking out as a member of the Woodland Family in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures. I’ll eventually make all new wee folk dolls to inhabit the landscape.

Tree houses in the summer scene.

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

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  2. Harvest Time – part 6 (underground) 8 Replies
  3. Revisiting Mary and her lamb 3 Replies
  4. Harvest Time – part 5 (toadstool mushroom) 2 Replies
  5. Harvest Time – part 4 (embroidered plants) 5 Replies
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