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:

TOURING EXHIBITION

Salley Mavor: Bedtime Stitches
Beginning in Nov. 2020
Premiere Exhibition: Oct. 30 – 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.

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

bed book peek – Ghana (part 2)

This is Part 2 in a series of posts about how I made the stitched bas-relief scene set in the West African country of Ghana. The piece will be reproduced in my upcoming picture book, MY BED: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep around the World.

Here are links to posts showing other finished illustrations for the book: South America, JapanIndiaAfghanistanRussiaNorth AfricaNorth AmericaScandinavia and Iran. To see a list of all my books, click here.

Update: My Bed can now be pre-ordered in my shop here. It’s release date is in Sept. 2020 and people have asked if they can pre-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!

In Part 1, I showed the process of making the house and the small figure in the background. Now, I will concentrate on the house and child in the foreground.

Way back in the beginning, after my sketches were approved by Houghton Mifflin’s editorial team and before I started working on the finished scenes, I made heads of all of the children who would inhabit the pages of the book. I wanted to meet the children before embarking on what I knew would be at least a 2 year commitment. After falling in love with them, it didn’t matter how long it would take to make the places they call home.

Except for the fingers and toes, the children’s bodies are basically made the same way as the dolls in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk. I painted their faces on wooden beads and made wigs by gluing on a piece of felt to the crown of the head, which acts as a needle friendly surface to sew on thread hair.

I dressed the Ghanaian boy in cotton shorts and a shirt.

He needed a woven sleeping mat, so I blanket stitched rows of “weaving’ on a piece of felt with variegated pima cotton thread.

To help make it look like the boy is inside the porch, I built a 1/2″ deep box out of balsa wood that I covered with felt. I’ve also used this method in other scenes for the book to create more depth, such as the inside of the house boat in the scene from Holland. It takes advantage of the space inside the stretcher, behind the background fabric. The box is inserted in a hole cut out of the stretched fabric. Objects recede (about 1/2″), as well as protrude (about 3/4′), making the piece more spatially dynamic.

To replicate the stone and mud texture on the house, I appliqued pieces of felt with blanket stitches. For extra structure, the window frame is outlined with wire.

I also chain-stitched spirals to look like stones in the wall and sewed a row of over-lapping bone bead shingles to the roof.

I stitched silk ribbon on felt to create the texture of a straw roof for the porch.

I made a mud and stone wall out of felt to go along the back of the property.

This photo gives an idea of how the box in the porch area recedes.

In future posts, I will show the process of making plants, the shade tree, the bird, and other parts of the 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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