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Yay for Mary Ray!

Our sewing and design muscles need to be stretched on occasion.  Often this task falls on the shoulders of a teacher at a special event, conference or workshop.  They introduce us to a new technique or style that expands our view of sewing possibilities.  They help us make our creations more interesting.

Some fabrics that took quite a bit of stretching to design with.

So it was when Mary Ray came to Baltimore years ago.  The local chapter of The Association of Sewing and Design Professionals (ASDP) engaged her to spend a day discussing piecing and quilting techniques for jackets.  I had followed her creative work in Threads Magazine and was quick to sign up for the lecture/trunk show.

Mary teaching in Baltimore years ago.

Her work inspired me to try some new techniques and explore quilting as a viable garment making technique.  She also recommended a fine book, Trust the Process by Shaun McNiff which still sits by my bed to reference when I am feeling stuck creatively or am preparing to teach on the creative process.  It turned out to be an important inspiration, helping me understand more clearly that creativity is as much a result of practice as it is of some magical vision.

A design beginning.

Now the best news, Mary Ray is coming back to Baltimore in March, again at the invitation of the Baltimore ASDP Chapter.  This event will include a Trunk Show on Friday night March 15 and a workshop on Scrap Lace on Saturday March 16.   Both events will be at the centrally located Woodbrook Baptist Church.  What a great opportunity to see and experiment with new creative sewing ideas!  I am certain that Mary’s ideas and samples will influence all your sewing adventures.

The boro jacket moving forward.

Her 2018 article in Threads magazine on Japanese Boro Style inspired Carrie and I to begin our Boro Tabula Rasa Jacket projects. See Carrie’s progress in her  post, Boro Report.  She is further along than I am, but I am making slow but steady progress.

Some completed boro stitching –

Make March your inspiration month by coming to Mary’s workshop and then attending the Sew Successfully Retreat to test out your ideas with your Fit for Art Patterns.  I will have my Boro jacket there, hopefully a little further along so you can see my progress.

If you are considering a quilted TRJ as a spring project, say a little thank you to Mary Ray who opened up my eyes to the possibilities of quilting jackets.  In my search to find a pattern to move my vision forward, the Tabula Rasa Jacket was born.

Three quilted Tabula Rasa jackets.

What teachers have influenced your work?  Share your experiences here with the #sewsuccessfully  #fitforartpatterns community.  As we reflect on fine and inspiring sewing teachers, pause to remember Cynthia Guffey who died recently.  She was a pioneer in bringing fine sewing techniques to the sewing Expo floor and her energetic persona will be missed.

Happy  Sewing, RAE

7 thoughts on “Yay for Mary Ray!

  1. I’m sorry to miss this event-maybe next year.. and devastated to hear about Cynthia. My best friend and sewing buddy died of breast cancer last April -we both took many of Cynthia’s classes over the years and considered her a friend….

    1. So sorry about your friend and Cynthia. It is sad when our sewing friends die. I was going through some old photos yesterday searching for the ones of Mary and found some of Fred of La Fred Patterns. We will just keep remembering them with only fond thoughts. RAE

  2. This post, and Carrie’s previous post on her Boro jacket are so inspiring! I’m fascinated, and hope to try this one day! March…wouldn’t that be fun!

    1. We would love to see you Lugene!

  3. Great. We are having Mary Rae come to the ASG group in South Carolina on Feb 8 & 9th. One of my projects for the sew successful retreat in March is the start of a quilted Jacket.

    1. Marie, Your South Carolina group is so “on trend”! What a great retreat project.

  4. I would love to come to this.


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