The art quilt is a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Introducing Mary Ritter

Good Monday Morning Everyone!
 I hope you all had a terrific July 4th holiday and are enjoying your summer.

This month in our "Getting to Know You" feature, I would like to introduce Mary Ritter from Cary, NC.  Here's what she has to say:

"Our arrival in Cary, NC in 2010 was our 20th move and our 10th state.  My husband and I have loved the adventures discovered in living in so many states over the 49 years of our marriage and his 30+ year  with the USAF and the US government.  Born and raised in Minnesota, lived in Wisconsin, Texas, Illinois, Kansas, Hawaii, California (24 years), Utah, and now North Carolina.
     I retired from a career in education, teaching first grade through adults at different stages of my career, and administering the installation of and training for technology during the final four years.  I knew that I wanted to try my hand at quilting once I was retired as I had created a hand quilted "cheater" quilt for a 4-H project in my teens, but had not ever pieced a quilt top or used a machine to quilt.
     While stationed in Hawaii, the opportunity to make a queen size Hawaiian design, White Ginger, captured my interest in quilting again, but the time wasn't right to continue with this time consuming hobby.  Completing the hand-appliqued and hand quilted piece did help me fill the time while raising two toddlers and not working outside the home.
White Ginger

     In 2004, we settled in Alexandria, MN, thinking we would retire there, and I joined several quilting groups, trying my hand at piecing and machine quilting.  One word......Frustration.  Then during a cold February, I had a vision of creating something would bring me some much needed Hawaiian sunshine.  "Sweet Tropical Sunshine" was the result.  It started with a small Hawaiian pineapple design in the center, and then progresses to a free-form sun with hand-quilted flames.  It was my first digression into what I soon learned was "art quilting."  I also discovered "Quilting Arts Magazine" and was a founding member of DIVAS - Designing Innovative Visual Arts Sisterhood, a group of 12 artists working in fabric art.  From then on, exploration and creativity were the main players in the game."

Sweet Tropical Sunshine
Question: Do you have your own studio?  What is your favorite feature and what is your least favorite feature:
Answer:  Our move to Cary made it possible for me to have a designated space for a studio.      Previously, I set up in a bedroom or a basement, making do with the space available.  In Cary, I was able to have the loft area of our home for my studio..aptly named The Loft Studio.  One of my      favorite things is the storage space with a large shelved closet and an attic space for overflow.    Another advantage is a large working area where I can leave everything out and disheveled until I return.      
The Loft Studio
Question: What inspires you to make art quilts? 
Answer:   I find inspiration all around me, frequently trying new techniques after reading a blog, participating in a demonstration or watching a video.  However, the main drive for my work has been a series entitled:  A Place in time.  This series features quilts based on my childhood in rural Minnesota on a farm, attending a rural church, and a one-room country school house through sixth grade.  The name for a quilt usually pops into my head as I am working on it.  The other significant idea source of "future" quilts involves travel experiences.  Less than a month ago, I returned from Spain where the work of Antonio Guadi in Barcelona was so inspirational.  That inspiration was put to the test in the SAQA benefit auction piece I donated.  Too many ideas.....too little time!
The Old Barn Still Stands
Farm Home
Serenity:  Snow in Winter and Church on Sunday
Look, Mom!

Question: How many art quilt groups are you involved with?
And, are you a member of a traditional quilt guild?
Answer:  Currently I belong to a neighborhood group of traditional quilters, the Piecemakers,  Another informal art group involves only three artists who meet to share ideas and techniques in our homes as time allows.  A formal group of which I am a member is the Triangle Art Quilters which meets monthly at Carolina State University in Raleigh to demonstrate techniques, as well as to share project progress. And I am a member of PAQA-S (Professional Art Quilts Alliance-South), a regional organization that is of great benefit to artists like me.  The diversity of these groups creates inspiration on many levels and keeps me in touch with other artists who enjoy working with textiles.

Creating with fabric, paint, dyes, found objects, and a variety of techniques, touches my soul and makes for a wonderful retirement!

Here's a link to Mary's blog


  1. I want to thank you again for taking the time to pen blog posts. I'm especially enjoying getting to know my "neighbors" since I live in a remote part of NC and have no in-person outlets. Mary, I'm waving to you from the top of a mountain in western NC. Your work is spectacular, and I know just what you mean when you say "too many ideas, too little time."

  2. Thanks Jeanne...always great to have some feedback! Anyone else out there want to step up and introduce yourself?? We would love to hear from you.!