Saturday, July 16, 2011

Salley Mavor

I wanted to blog about this extraordinary artist -- someone whose work my wife turned me on to -- last December, after my friends Rick and Rob accompanied me to her "Pocketful of Posies" show (here's a not-so-great photo I took of the cover illustration for her "Pocketful of Posies" picture book):

… at the Danforth Museum in Framingham, MA and we were all just blown away by the quality of her work... but I couldn't.

Well, I guess I COULD have, but it might have ruined the surprise Christmas gift I managed to procure for Jeannine through an email contact with with the artist -- several of Salley's original three-dimensional illustrations. Here's a photo of one of them, from a series of works illustrating the nursery rhyme "Hey Diddle Diddle", I believe. (Photo by Salley Mavor.)

The cliche phrase "photos don't do these justice" was never more apropos than for the work of Salley Mavor. These things are simply amazing to look at, and benefit from standing in front of with your face a few inches away so that you can see more clearly all of the detailed stitching and nuanced color and careful design choices. Although it is completely reasonable -- for the sake of preservation -- that these pieces are behind glass (in beautiful wood frames made by Salley's husband Ron), it is also a shame, because if you are anything like me, you just want to TOUCH them, and tactilely experience Salley's amazing melange of textures. Her use of found objects is extremely clever -- in one piece, a baby is swinging in a cradle hung from a tree branch… and the cradle is a quarter of a walnut shell. Absolutely perfect!

I don't think the show at the Danforth is still up, but Salley has a new show -- a slightly smaller number of pieces, but also several new ones which were not in the Danforth show -- at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center in Brattleboro, VT. The show is titled "Sewn Stories", and Jeannine and I were very happy to get an email invitation to the opening, which was last night. And it was even more fun because we got to meet and talk briefly with Salley (and Ron).

Here's a photo from the opening last night of Salley posing with one of her more recent pieces, a large and gorgeous one titled "Rabbitat".

I highly recommend checking out this show, as well as the books which Salley has illustrated. A good place to start is Salley's website:

 And you can go here:

... for an excellent interview with Salley. -- PL


July 15, 2011–February 5, 2012

Textile artist and children’s book illustrator Salley Mavor’s original fabric reliefs are created from hand-dyed wool felt, embroidery thread, found objects, and manufactured trinkets and beads. Included in this exhibit are several works from Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes, which won the 2011 Boston Globe Book Award and the 2011 Golden Kite Award.

1 comment:

Mark H said...

I really like the second image. It reminds me of childhood. She used acorn tops for hats. How very cute and clever. Thanks for sharing.