My Bed Book

My new children’s picture book, My Bed, Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep around the World will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt this coming autumn. It took about 2 years to hand stitch all of the illustrations and I’m excited that you will be able to see the fruits of my labor relatively soon! Autographed copies of MY BED may be pre-ordered from my shop here.

After the artwork is handed in, it usually takes another year to produce an actual bound and ready hard cover picture book. After I delivered the finished art last summer, it went to the publisher’s photographer, book designer and their production, printing and marketing teams. The book’s release date is Sept. 8th, 2020.

A touring exhibition of the original embroidered bas-relief artwork that is photographed and reproduced in the book will premiere in October and 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:

The sewn originals will be photographed and printed in the book. Each spread will depict a child in a different culture and living environment. The story is written by Rebecca Bond and will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the autumn of 2020. Autographed copied of MY BED may be pre-ordered from my shop here.

I am happy to announce a touring exhibition of original artwork for the book: SALLEY MAVOR: Bedtime Stories. This will be 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. Interested museums are welcome to contact me for information about hosting the exhibit. Please see the current schedule below:


Salley Mavor: Bedtime Stitches
Beginning in SEPTEMBER 2020
Premiere Exhibition: Sept. 11 – Dec. 22, 2020 at the Cahoon Museum, Cotuit, MA.
Feb. 28 – April 25, 2021, Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, Mount Vernon, IL
May 15 – Aug. 15, 2021, Historical and Cultural Center of Clay County, Moorhead, MN
Sept. 14 – Dec. 31, 2021, New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, MA
Jan. 22 – May 8, 2022, Upcountry History Museum, Greenville, SC
Additional locations will be added when they are confirmed.

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

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bed book peek: crocodile

Today, I’m happy to show how I made this crocodile, which will be used as a spot illustration in my upcoming picture book, MY BED. The story about children’s sleeping places in different cultures around the world is written by Rebecca Bond and will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in Sept. 2020. A touring exhibition of my original embroidered artwork for the book will travel around the United States. Salley Mavor: Bedtime Stitches will debut at the Cahoon Museum Of American Art in Cotuit, MA from Sept. 11 to Dec. 22, 2020. The tour schedule is listed here.

Update: My Bed can now be pre-ordered in my shop here. The book’s release date is isn’t until Sept. 2020, but people have asked if they can order autographed copies ahead. So, if you put your order in now, I’ll have a better idea of how many copies to get. The book will be shipped to you as soon as it arrives!

For inspiration, I found this felt purse, which is a prototype for a kit I used to sell in the early 2000’s. The different animal kits came with plant dyed wool felt, thread, and beads for the eyes. The purse kits were mostly sold in catalogs and Waldorf School stores, along with my fairy kits.

Using its simple, stylized shape as a jumping off point, I drew sketches until I was happy with the overall pose and level of detail. I thought about how to translate the flat outline into a more 3-dimensional crocodile.

I bent a pipe cleaner and wrapped 2 front legs with tapestry weight wool yarn. I also located square green wooden beads for the crocodile’s eyes. They’ve been in my bead collection since the 70’s, when I made crocodile pins (see one at the end of this post).

I bent the pipe cleaner to form an outline of the animal’s basic shape and sewed on a backing of green felt.

At this point, I must have forgotten to take pictures, so we’ll have to skip the fussy part where I cover the front of the animal with felt. From the looks of it, I padded the inside of the body with extra layers of felt. My original plan was to put a haunch where the back legs go, but the one I made looked awkward, so I scrapped that idea and made 2 back legs to match the front ones. Then I sewed the beady eyes to the top and stitched rickrack along its back.

I did remember to take a picture of the back, which reveals an unsightly mishmash of stitches that hold the front piece tightly in place.

I formed the outline (or lips) of the mouth with wire and covered the shiny metal with embroidery floss. Then I “colored in” the mouth with an overlapping filler stitch.

Finishing touches included zigzag teeth, seed beads for nostrils and a fly stitched bumpy texture on the body.

The crocodile I made for the book is very much like pins I used to make over 40 years ago. As you can see, I’m reworking the same themes over and over!

To see other animals and illustrations I’ve made for the book, click here.

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.

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