Artist in Residence

by Christine, Sandra, and Heidi

We are delighted to announce that Mary Boalt, wearable artist and textile designer, will be our Artist in Residence at this year’s retreat. The three of us have been enjoying Mary’s work as members of the Sierra Wearable Art Group for some time, and when we thought about inviting a guest artist, she was it!

Mary has been creating on fabric using different techniques and media since the early 80s. She paints, stencils, stamps, spatters, outlines, and stitches on a variety of fabrics, including canvas. (She refers to her surface design on canvas  as “graffiti.”)  Mary has sold her pieces and taught workshops regionally, and her work has appeared in Belle Armoire and Quilting Arts, the prestigious art-quilt magazine. Her self-portrait for Quilting Arts traveled the U.S. for a year, and she’ll tell us more about it when she speaks briefly at one of our evening sessions. Take a look at some of her amazing work:

This bag began as a piece of plain canvas, which Mary painted and decorated using Lumiere and craft paint. Note the rivet trim.DSC_0201To achieve clean edges, Mary masks off areas with painter’s tape. The white letters on the back of the bag, below, were made using an Asian-style alphabet stencil from Diane Ericson, a well-known wearable artist.

DSC_0199Mary uses markers to outline stamped and stenciled shapes. The maze-like motif in the second image below is a circle cut from a piece of wide ribbon and overstitched with metallic thread.

DSC_0207DSC_0206Oh yes, let’s do Paris! Three stencils were used to make this simple sophisticated bag. DSC_0194 DSC_0193 DSC_0195 This delightful vest has it all—painting, stamping, stenciling, masking, and foiling.DSC_0187For the closure, Mary stacked a copper-colored button on top of the black button that goes with the triangular piece.

DSC_0188Black trim with metal loops runs down the back of the vest.DSC_0189DSC_0192Below are clutches made from scraps of the first bag shown, and the vest above. Mary typically creates pieces of fabric that are larger than needed so she’ll have “leftovers.” The red-orange clutch below fits into its larger parent bag. DSC_0210 This piece, above the door in her studio, says it all:DSC_0184You’ll be able to see Mary in action during the two days she spends with us, and you’ll have the opportunity to buy one of her painted and decorated canvases to make your own graffiti bag. What the three us love about Mary’s pieces is her spontaneous, elegant style. Once you see what she creates—and how she creates it—we know you’ll love her work too!


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