Mary W. Kerr Acquires, Cares for and Develops Not Only Quilts, But a Vast Network of Quilt People

By Camie Roper

Mary W. Kerr’s recent work, “marries her love of all things vintage with the freedom of expression that is encouraged in the art quilt community.”

On Saturday, Nov. 19 at the GAAQG Quilt Day meeting, her lecture will be “A Woman’s Voice.” Join Mary as she presents antique and contemporary quilts from several collections. Together you can explore the historical voice that women have employed in American history.  Women have used their needle skills to express their opinions, political viewpoints and dissatisfaction with the social circumstances of their times. While women were frequently discouraged from publicly speaking out, many influenced the world around them through their needlework, quilting patterns and quiet determination.

Kerr will bring quilts to show on stage, and a selection of her books to sell.

Both of Mary Kerr’s in-person workshops “Twist and Shout” on Friday, Nov.18 and “Wonky Star” on Sunday, Nov. 20 are open to GAAQG members and non-members: Kerr Workshop Registration.

Circus quilt made for grandson incorporates vintage blocks into a modern design. Made by GAAQG member Lucinda Herring

 

In Mary’s Twist and Shout class, students will learn how to showcase orphan blocks in a contemporary quilt setting.

“Twist and Shout”
This fast-paced workshop encourages participants to showcase vintage quilt top fragments [or orphan block fragments] into a contemporary quilt. Orphan blocks will work, too. Blocks are set with a twisted template into an exciting new setting. Students are encouraged to bring their own vintage [or orphan] blocks and fragments or they may purchase a kit of their choice in class. Finished sizes will vary.

Wonky Star quilt from Mary Kerr’s book, Twisted.

 

 

“Wonky Star”

Embrace the magic as you combine the love of vintage with a fun modern aesthetic. Work with vintage textiles to create a wonky star with lots of negative space for modern quilting designs.

Wonky Star quilt by Lucinda Herring

This class is a great way to use up orphan blocks from previous projects!  The “Wonky Star” workshop is packed full of tips for working with vintage or orphan block fragments and ways to showcase these treasured pieces. Students are encouraged to bring their own blocks and fragments. No vintage or orphan blocks? No problem! Students may purchase a kit of their choice in class!  Finished sizes will vary.

 

Learning from someone who has been in the quilting business for over 30 years and shares the knowledge of a vast network of diverse artists, designers and other professionals will be a delightful experience. Please register soon for Mary’s November workshops and keep reading this post for more info about Mary Kerr!

More About Mary
Who is Mary Kerr? She grew up in a family of quilters, and became a prolific author and co-author of at least nine quilt books, two of which will be available this fall:

NEW—All-Star Quilts of Valor: 25 Patriotic Patterns from Star Designers (10/28/22)

NEW—The Art of Make-Do Quilting: The Ultimate Guide for Working with Vintage Textiles (9/27/22)

• Southern Quilts: Celebrating Traditions, History and Designs (2018)

• A Quilted Memory: Ideas and Inspiration for Using Vintage Textiles (2011)

• A Quilt Block Challenge: Vintage Revisited (2010)

An AQS certified appraiser, award-winning quilter and experienced teacher, Kerr also owns Pieced of Olde, a small business specializing in antique textile repair and restoration. On her property in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, she offers a quilt retreat.

Kerr is a member of numerous professional quilt networking groups and guilds.

I [Camie Roper] was able to acquire several of her books and came away pleasingly surprised. Mary Kerr is not only a collector of many beautiful and interesting quilts; she’s also immersed in a community of skilled, accomplished artists.

In her book, Southern Quilts, Mary displays the stunning quilts of 13 artists.

 

In Twisted: Modern Quilts with a Vintage Twist, Mary has curated the works of 23 contributing artists in diverse disciplines: works by long-arm quilters, business owners, sales reps, teachers, designers, national award winners, painters, fabric designers, cloth dyers, tool developers, TV personalities, authors and museum exhibitors.

Said one reader, “I consider myself a contemporary quilter who loves to design my own quilts, but not one for vintage/antique. This book gave me a whole different perspective and I can’t say enough about the creativity and superior quilting shown on the pages! So thankful for your inspiration…!”   S. Coykendall

In her impressive Cutting-Edge Art Quilts, 53 artists and business people with vision share their quilts, with everything from 3-D to photography on fabric to thread-painting, embellishment, and more. Julie Duschack’s evocative “Monk in a Doorway” is in this book, as well as Desiree Habicht’s haunting “Forest of Blues.”

As a curator, Mary Kerr acquires, cares for and develops not just quilts, but quilt people. She says her “recent work marries her love of all things vintage with the freedom of expression that is encouraged in the art quilt community.”

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