Quilted Fiber-Art

About Mary Mahoney

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A Brief History

I can't remember a time when I did not love working with fabric. As the daughter of a Home Economics teacher this really isn't that surprising. I remember making outfits for my dolls and decorating my dollhouse with scraps from my mother's basket. As a teen I sewed some of my own clothes from simple patterns and of course made my Halloween costumes. But it wasn't until my senior year in college that I discovered my love of quilting.  That was when I purchased a magazine with this enticing cover article: "Stitch a Quilt in a Week

Well, life got busy and two days became two years, but I finally had a beautiful blue and white "fields and furrows" twin-sized quilt... and I was hooked. Working increasingly quickly,  I made lap quilts, baby quilts, and memory quilts by the dozens.  Always keen to push the edges of what I could create, I started experimenting with new treatments on fabric, and made my first "photo quilt" in 2000.  The process was tedious (I think I had to mix formulas and let the fabric soak for a certain period of time) but the end result was a family picture quilt that made my mother cry.

For Christmas 2008 I wanted to make a wall hanging (non-photo) quilt of the view of my neighbor’s barn, from my property. Getting the perspective right was a nightmare, as I tried to match up the view of the barn with my fabric cutouts. Then, suddenly, inspiration struck.  If I scanned, enlarged, then printed out the picture, I could cut out the barn at the exact angles I needed. Then, using it sort of as a stencil on the fabric, I could transfer the shape to the fabric.  Within days, my neighbor had a one-of-a-kind quilt, and I had a new approach to quilting. 

A month later she asked me to replicate another neighborhood home. It had belonged to a friend of hers who recently downsized. I completed the project as commissioned, including the requested flowers and shrubbery in the front garden. 

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Quilted Home Impressions is Born

In November of 2009 I entered a "home portrait quilt" (seen to the left) in the local Festival of the Wreaths and won Charity Challenge Audience Favorite.  In 2011, I entered another piece - this time depicting a silhouetted little girl reading by firelight-- and won the same prize.  

By this point, I had an Etsy site and regular gigs at local craft shows. 

My beloved hobby was also becoming a fledgling career.


I started landing commissions, locally, from people who saw my work and nationally, through my Etsy account. I almost can’t quantify the exquisite pleasure of finding just the right piece of fabric to complete a piece-but if you’re a quilter, you know exactly what I mean. And, bonus: I could put all the scraps I saved over the years to thrifty use!

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Fiber Art


From time to time, I had gotten requests to render peoples’ likenesses in fabric. While I’d gotten pretty good at creating realistic pieces, I wasn’t sure I had the ability to depict people (in a flattering way) with fabric. I don't remember the spark that ultimately lead me to attempt faces -- maybe it was simply a desire to challenge myself.



At any rate, In 2012, I created a quilted portrait of one of my favorite authors, Edgar Allan Poe. I entered it in a contest a county away; my piece sold on opening night. In homage to that first portrait, I named my business after one of his most famous works. 

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Since then, I’ve had my work shown in galleries across the country, have sold pieces to art dealers and patrons and racked up a Juror’s Award for my “Alfred and the Byrds” piece.

I’ve discovered I have a real affinity for this art form. I’ve worked hard to perfect both the process and my art, although in some ways, I feel like I’m just getting started.

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Guest Speaker

A woman who had seen my Arts Center entry in 2009 had spoken about my work to the Village Quilters of Catonsville and I received a request to give a talk to the group. Not one for public speaking, I astounded myself by accepting. I really enjoyed the experience. Both my parents are teachers and it came naturally for me. I especially loved meeting the other quilters and discussing our shared passion for fabric work. 

 

I went on to speak at another quilting guild at the request of the members (Everybody's Quilt Guild) and also taught a class on my process. It was a wonderful experience and one I wanted to replicate, but was unable to as I took a professional job with a long, long (LONG) commute. My ability to sew in my free time was limited to quilts for special occasions for family and friends. 



New Ventures

Recently I have been blessed to find local employment which has freed me up to pursue my passion. My mother always told me "Do what you love and never work a day in your life".  My day job is as a case manager, helping the disenfranchised find financial stability. I love my profession. 


But I also LOVE quilting and sharing my passion with others. 

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Book Me

Book me for a workshop or lecture. Let me share my expertise with your group and help you expand your own creativity!