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Anne Mailey

I create sacred objects to be used in everyday life. I primarily embroider on the inner seam of clothing or bed sheets belonging to others or myself. Social practice and performance are integrated with the fabric works through daily use. When exhibited, the objects become artifactual. The majority of my materials are inherited from my Great Grandma Lillie, who worked as a seamstress in Nebraska. Recontextualizing art from a public and institutional arena to a private and personal space is an underlying theme influenced by my professional experience in museums.

   For Dream Sheets, I hand embroider a dream journal on bed sheets, that I continue to sleep with and add to. I started the performative work in 2013 and do not have a set end date. The sheets originated from my grandmother’s house and are printed with morning glories. In nature, the flowers open and close with day and night similar to the project’s natural cycle.

      For another ongoing series, I create embroidered patches of historical works of art and performance pieces. Each patch has a unique, evolving life. I either loan the works to friends to wear for a season or sew them on the inside of my own clothing.  Shaking the Dreamland Tree includes my Leonora Carrington and Sophie Calle patches. When I worked at the Metropolitan, I lingered close to Carrington’s dreamy Self-Portrait (1938) often. Calle’s patch is based on her series Sleepers (1979). For the project, she invited others to sleep in her bed and photographed them.  


 Anne Mailey is an embroidery artist based in Philadelphia. Social practice and performance are integrated with her fabric works through utilitarian use. Anne’s practice is informed from her study of Reiki, her professional experience in museums, and her Great-Grandmother’s seamstress supplies.  She has been a resident artist at the Vermont Studio Center, North Mountain Residency, the Wassaic Project, Osage Arts Community, Woodstock Byrdcliffe

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