Bedtime Stitches

Bringing stories from the pages of her books to life is what fabric artist and children’s author Salley Mavor does best, and her latest exhibit, Salley Mavor: Bedtime Stitches, showcases the expertise with which she is able to draw people into a miniature world of embroideries that celebrate the universal theme of children sleeping safe in their beds. Opening at the Upcountry History Museum – Greenville County, a Smithsonian Affiliate, on Saturday, March 2, this exhibition will be on display through Sunday, May 5, 2024.

Each of the featured 18 pieces of original artwork is stitched entirely by hand and presents a three-dimensional bas-relief sculpture created like a shadow box. Made with a variety of materials, such as fabric, beads, and wire, these fabric arts contain Mavor’s detailed, intricate designs. Assembled like a tiny stage with its own scenery and characters, each scene takes visitors on an international journey from Afghanistan to Ghana to Scandinavia to South America and beyond to illustrate varying cultures and home environments. The common thread centers on what makes each child’s home a warm and welcoming place.

Using her illustrations from the book, My Bed: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep Around the World, Mavor has fashioned a colorfully immersive experience that highlights the endless ways children fall asleep. Whether on hammocks, straw mats, woven rugs or in curtained cupboards, cubby holes and quilt-covered beds, they nod off in houseboats, next to a warm stove, or under the stars on a rooftop – all scenes expertly transformed into visual clues about geographic regions, people, traditions, and cultures.

Bedtime Stitches is a product of Mavor’s four decades of developing her signature style while carving out her own niche within the children’s book world and the fiber art community. With a needle as her tool, thread as her medium, and stitches as her mark, she has created imaginative and intricate interpretations of everyday experiences for a multi-generational audience.

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