The Art Of Quilting
QUILTING TRADITION TAKES ROOT IN AMERICAN ARTIST MARY KENNEDY
"I come from a long line of quilters, and I had been collecting quilting books all my life and in earnest for about 10 years, but I never had time to do the quilting," explains Kennedy.
"I enrolled in two quilting classes, shortly after moving to Derry at Mission Hall Quilts. One of my quilting teachers was starting a newsletter/magazine and because I also had a background in graphic arts, I helped her do the layout. I continued to do quilts, and started doing samples for her magazine."
In February 2010, Kennedy, who is also a respected painter, had her first art show in the UK at the Eden Place Art Centre, featuring her quilt pieces.
Kennedy's quilt 'The Lady Bridge', about women who build bridges between the Loyalist and Nationalist communities in Northern Ireland, is currently on display at Derry's City of Culture offices. Derry was also recently selected by the European Union as the City of Culture in 2013.
FROM STUDENT TO TEACHER: KENNEDY'S LOVE OF QUILTING COMES FULL CIRCLE
There has been interest from other galleries and venues that want to feature her works, including both her traditional, original designs and Kennedy's modern art quilts, which are delicate pieces using different and ornate techniques together. She says, it's like painting with fabric, meant for hanging on the wall, rather than draped on a bed.
In response to this interest, Kennedy is in the process of setting up her own Derry-based quilting company called Merry Derry Designs. In addition, at the end of October, she'll be teaching back where she first learned the craft, at Mission Hall Quilts.
OLD FASHIONED ART FORM RECEIVES MODERN MAKEOVER FROM YOUNGER GENERATIONS
Although to many, quilting is an old fashioned art form, Kennedy says it's not your grandma's quilting any more.
She is seeing a lot of younger people taking up the craft and adapting modern and geometric designs. One such new techniques is curve piecing, where you cut the fabric in curves and then sew it together.
"I think now because of the international communications, there are a lot similarity in quilting in the UK, the US and all over the world" says the artisan.
"However, there are techniques used in America not commonly used in Ireland. I am often back to America and am in contact with American quilters, I utilise and pass on [in Ireland] techniques like Stained Glass Windows; a style that combines piecing and appliqué and, believe it or not, pieced Celtic Knotwork, designed by an American. My designs are from an American perspective so it makes my work a little different in Ireland."
To purchase a Merry Derry Design quilt or book Mary Kennedy's quilt exhibit contact: missionquilts or by telephone at: 7846051295.