Salley Mavor’s Bedtime Stitches exhibit illustrates dreams around the world

A scene from “Naptime in Ghana,” as part of the “Bedtime Stitches” exhibit at Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County now through Dec. 31. Contributed/Salley Mavor

Cozying into bed after a long day is a universal act of comfort and self-care for most people around the world. 

In Salley Mavor’s “Bedtime Stitches” traveling fiber art exhibit, now on display through Dec. 31 at Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County, we get a whimsical glimpse into the ways children around the world tuck in at night. From Afghanistan to Ghana to Scandinavia and South America, the art connects people with a sense of home and familiarity.

Animals are an important theme in Mavor’s work and help represent cultural and geographical regions across the world. Contributed/The Arts Partnership

The kid-friendly exhibit is based on Mavor’s book, “My Bed: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep Around the World,” and shows intricately detailed scenes of children reading books in bed, animals nestling into their haystacks and parents saying goodnight.

Watch: The making of “My Bed” Making My Bed

Mavor is the founder of Wee Folk Studio and has worked in 3D embroidery for more than 40 years, producing many children’s books, illustrations, stop-motion animations and traveling exhibits. 

Dream a little dream

Each piece was hand-stitched by Mavor using a simple needle, thread and a technique she’s honed throughout the more than 40 years working as a professional fiber artist. The effect has a kind of dreamy, 3D stop-motion effect that makes you want to jump right into each scene to pet an animal or read a child a bedtime story. 

“The works are gorgeous and I know fiber artists in our region will love this exhibit,” HCSCC Executive Director Maureen Kelly Jonason said.

The exhibit also appeals to children and includes activities such as an “I Spy” worksheet and a scavenger hunt that focuses on finding specific images in each of the pieces.

A child reads in bed in a scene from Salley Mavor’s “Bedtime Stitches” exhibit at the Historical Society. Contributed/The Arts Partnership

Mavor also borrowed from her own extensive personal collection of fabrics to create backdrops for each scene, including some fabrics passed down to her from her grandmother.

“When I couldn’t find printed patterns that were small enough for some scenes, I embroidered designs on fabric or felt to match the miniature scale,” Mavor wrote about the project. 

Family fun

This exhibit is family-friendly and children are encouraged to attend and participate. Museum admission rates are $10 for adults, $9 seniors and college students, $8 for youths 5-17 and free to 4 and under.

About the author

Lonna Whiting is a freelance writer and owner of lonna.co, a content marketing and communications agency located in Fargo, North Dakota. She is a frequent contributor to The Arts Partnership’s content library and also provides strategic communications consultation to the organization.

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