My Bed Book

My new children’s picture book, My Bed, Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep around the World has been released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co. It took about 2 years to hand stitch all of the illustrations and I’m excited that you can now see the fruits of my labor! The book came out on Sept. 8th and reviews like these are pouring in –
“(My Bed) is just stunning, calming and healing”, “ingeniously illustrated” and “I am overwhelmed by the beauty and all the little details of each page.”
Autographed copies of MY BED are available in my shop here.

A touring exhibition of the original embroidered bas-relief artwork that is photographed and reproduced in the book is now underway, debuting at the Cahoon Museum of American Art in Cotuit, MA (Sept. 11 – Dec. 19, 2020). The show will travel the country for a few years. More information about the exhibition, Salley Mavor: Bedtime Stitches, including a current schedule is at the end of this post.

For a while now, I’ve shared the process of making the 3 dimensional bas-relief  illustrations, which involve stitching, embroidery and other embellishment techniques. Posts I’ve written so far are listed here:

Rebecca Bond wrote a poem that celebrates our diversity, while also bringing us together through the universal theme of children sleeping safe in their beds. As the illustrator, it was my task to bring these children to life and create their varying environments.

I am happy to announce a touring exhibition of original artwork for the book: SALLEY MAVOR: Bedtime Stories. This is an opportunity for the public to see up close the fine detail and 3-dimensional quality of my bas-relief sculptural embroideries. The exhibition is modeled after the successful national touring exhibition of the artwork for my book, Pocketful of Posies. It is currently booked through June 2023 with the possibility of being extended into 2024. Interested museums are welcome to contact me for information about hosting the exhibit.


What’s being said about the exhibition:
“Bedtime Stitches Provides Cozy Respite From a Tumultuous Year”
The Falmouth Enterprise
“The genius of Salley Mavor’s meticulously realized imaginative worlds is just what we need right now.”
Artscope Magazine

Beginning in September 2020
Sept. 11 – Dec. 19, 2020 at the Cahoon Museum, Cotuit, MA.
Feb. 28 – May 5, 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.

Salley Mavor: Bedtime Stitches Exhibition Booklets are 6″x 9″ soft cover, full-color, 16 pages about Salley Mavor and the exhibition including images of extra works only on view at the Cahoon Museum of American Art. Booklets may be ordered online here.

Salley Mavor: Bedtime Stitches Exhibition Booklet – for sale at the Cahoon Museum of American Art

Throughout the book, there are spot illustrations of animals on text panels. To see how they were made, click 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

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Bed book peek: giraffe

Shall we start the year with something cute to counteract the fact that everything in the world seems to be spiraling out of control? Good, now that we agree on a diversion, I will show how I made the giraffe for my new book, My Bed.

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.

Bedtime Stitches, an exhibition of the original artwork for the book is travelling to museums around the country. See the tour schedule here.

I’d originally picked a giraffe to go with the illustration set in Africa. But, then we narrowed it down to the country of Ghana, which doesn’t have giraffes. I started researching other possible animals to go along with the scene. Fortunately, sat next to man from Ghana in a restaurant, who told me about wild life in his home country, including crocodiles. So, I switched to a crocodile instead. My ignorance about the African continent almost caused a gaffe similar to what Delta Airlines went through when they chose an image of a giraffe to represent Ghana in a tweet about the World Cup in 2014!

I was able to use the giraffe on another page, though. It appears with the other animal icons on the end-papers and as a spot illustration on the text panel in the second to last spread in the book, which isn’t set in any particular part of the world.

To start, I drew a simple sketch of a giraffe and bent a pipe cleaner to form the legs. Then I wrapped them with embroidery floss, using the same techniques I teach in my how-to book of doll projects, Felt Wee Folk.

From there, I built up the body and neck with felt and more thread wrapping.

While studying photos of giraffes. I noticed that their spots are made up of a complex combination of shapes and patterns, that fit together like paving stones on a garden path.

I used chain stitching to make the spots, which has become my favorite way of filling in areas. I sewed the spot covered piece of felt to the giraffe’s body and neck. I covered the back with a mishmash of stitches, which stretched across to hold the front piece tightly in place. There was no need to make the back look pretty. After all, art is an illusion.

To make the mane, I sewed a length of wire along the giraffe’s neck and wrapped it with thread.Then, I blanket stitched a few rows of “hair” along the wire mane.

It took several attempts to make the giraffe’s head, which had a combination of funny looking, yet endearing features. Not only do giraffes have horns and long ears, they have prominent eyes, an oddly shaped nose and a smiling mouth. That all had to be reduced to a few stitches, beads and wire.

For the tail, I sewed on a looped section of wire, which I wrapped with thread.

When I sewed on the head, it actually looked like a giraffe!

If you’d like to see posts about making the other animal icons for the book, please follow the links below:
Animals – Rooster, Camel, Parrot, Elephant, Goldfish, Cat, Duck, Sheep, Rabbit, Cow, Crocodile

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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