Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Salley in the House!

 Yesterday, Salley Mavor brought half of her traveling exhibit of illustrations from her award-winning nursery rhyme book, "A Pocketful of Posies,"  to the third floor gallery of the Mahopac Public Library where I work.  Unfortunately, I was unable to meet and talk with her (and ask her the dozens of questions I have about her process!) but she'll be back in August when the show comes down and she'll be doing a presentation at the library then as well.  I've waited this long to meet her, I guess I can wait another six weeks or so!

Two things struck me about seeing the art in person.  One is how lovely the hand-dyed felt is that she uses.  It has none of the artificial and somewhat garish colors of the cheap acrylic craft felt readily available at all the craft stores.  The colors are muted and delicate, and in some places, variegated, as in some of the blue sky backgrounds.  ("Question #1: Where do you get your felt?")
 Look at some of the details in the work here, especially the queen's tarts.  Her stitches are so tiny and perfect!
Above is a portion of the illustration for the rhyme "I eat my peas with honey."  Look at the detail!

 And again, this perfect little basket, handmade by her!

 The figures in this illustration were even smaller than her usual wee folk.  The acorn caps were from little baby acorns.  See how the sky isn't one flat shade of blue, but varies a bit, as if there's an atmosphere and clouds?  How about these feathers stitched with variegated thread - all perfect!  Below is Little Boy Blue and a very detailed sheep and haystack.

 A second thing that struck me about seeing the illustrations in person was how sculptural and three-dimensional they really are.  Figures, houses, trees and animals really come up off the background significantly, but I think a degree of that is lost in the printed book versions.  Too bad!
 You can see some of this dimension in Simple Simon's illustration below...
 ... and also the rooster here who casts a bit of a shadow.
I wonder if she sketches out the composition first, or simply gets out some materials and begins to lay things out.  I bet it's a combination of the two (sketch first, lay things out, adust things as needed).  Anyway, Salley's work will be on display for all of July and most of August.  If you live within driving distance of the library, come on down!  It's an impressive and inspirational show.

1 comment:

Vivien Zepf said...

Ooo, I'm going to have to get up to the library if I can to see her work. Thanks for letting me know about it.

And what wonderful little trips you've been taking. You are discovering little gems, that's for sure.