ARTIST Information

artist’s statement          
2011-10-7 MaryWeb
Mary A. Ritter
To me it’s simple—
I never think of myself as an artist, a maker, or a marketer.  First, sparked by a scene,  a travel experience, or perhaps a photograph, a story is ready to be told.  I research techniques that will convey the visual message, and I do the work.  I hope the work will draw the viewer to it, telling a story or evoking an emotion.
The world of my childhood and youth –
provides an unlimited supply of nostalgic images.  Growing up with a large family in rural Minnesota, playing on our farm and in the woods surrounding it with only siblings as my playmates, having a pony to ride and share, attending a one room country schoolhouse and a white country church with a tall steeple ~ these mental images challenge me to record them, and I’ve chosen textiles and threads as my medium.
In our current world, sometimes filled with anxiety and crises –
I enjoy retreating to The Loft Studio to quietly put needle and thread to fabric to create art.  My textile art will tell you a story, help you remember adventures from your youth, or perhaps recreate a scene stored in your memory banks.  It might take you on a trip around our country or throughout the world.
Working with fabric and thread – 
was something that entered my life at an early age.  My mother taught her daughters to embroider and to sew as a utilitarian skill she felt we would need in order to provide for our own families.  For dozens of years I followed that mode, making clothing and useful objects for my home.  In retirement,   I can turn to telling my life stories using the same skills.  Utilitarian or art:  Fabric, color, texture, expression …. these elements have always been a part of my life.
Mary Ritter has been involved with artistic expression for less than ten years. She started her interest in fabrics and sewing as a young girl, learning from her mother who made much of the clothing her four daughters and sons wore.  While stationed with her husband in Hawaii in the 1970s, Mary practiced Hawaiian quilting and made a queen-size quilt designed from the White Ginger flower.  Her interest in working with fabrics and thread was renewed, but she would not pick up and needle and thread again until shortly before she retired in the early 2000s.  The Loft Studio, located in her home in Cary, is where she experiments with embellishments, fibers and design, creating quilted stories from her memoirs, travels and her husband’s photography.
Mary was born in rural Minnesota and grew up on a farm.  After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota, she and her husband moved around the western United States with US Air Force and US Government assignments.  In addition to Minnesota where they both were born, they have lived in Wisconsin, Texas, Illinois, Kansas, Hawaii, California and Utah before retiring to North Carolina.  She completed her Masters of Arts Degree in Education with emphasis on Reading and Literature at California State University, Sacramento.  During these studies, her interest in story telling was piqued.  Later in her career, she participated in NASA Classroom of the Future (technology emphasis) Fellowship and a Library of Congress American Memories Fellowship (using technology to teach emphasis).  The lesson she developed continues to be published on the Library of Congress web site as well as being used as an example on the New York State curriculum resources page – NY Learns. She has taught in elementary and middle school classrooms, as well as in adult education for teacher training.  The final years of her career she managed the technology at three schools and advanced the transition to technology for teachers.


Durham Orange Quilt Show 2014, Durham, NC –

  • First Place- Farm Home: Where My Story Began, Original Design- pictorial
  • Third Place- Fall Frenzy: Look Out Below! Original Design- Nature
  • Honorable Mention- Look, Mom! -Original Design-Wall Modern Innovative North Carolina Quilt Symposium 2013, Fayetteville, NC  –
  • First Place, Group Quilts – Mountain to Sea Quilt Series (14 panels / 14 artists);   “Moses Cone:  Flat Top Manor”
Durham Orange Quilt Show 2012, Durham, NC
  • “Best of Show” 2012 – Mountain to Sea Quilt Series (14 panels/14 artists) Moses Cone: Flat Top Manor
  • “First Place, Original” – Tropical Ocean Sunset
  • “Honorable Mention” – Sweet Tropical Sunshine
  • “Third Place” – Quilted City Scape Black Jacket
  • Page-WalkerArt and History Center, Cary, North Carolina: March-May, 2019 ARTQUILTSdreams, Prairie Roots. 18″w x 40″h
  • Emerald Art Center, Springfield, Oregon: March 2019: FISSURES; El Tajo Gorge, Spain. 24″w x 34″h
Puente Nueve-Ronda, Spain

El Tajo Gorge, Ronda, Spain 24″x34″

  • Page-Walker Art and History Center, Cary, NC: August 2018: FABRICATED STRUCTURES – 16 of my pieces were exhibited in this 3 Artist Show.
  • Cape Fear Gallery, Fayetteville, NC, October 2018: Moments in Time:  Celebration in the City and Moses Cone Manor (see below)
Cape Fear Moments in Time Show-Celebration3
  • Woman Made Gallery, Chicago Illinois, October 2018: Quilt + Resist:  36″ wide x 38″ high:  QUALITY TIME  (sold)
  • PAQA-South: ArtQuiltpassions: May – July  2018; 36″ wide x 38″ high:  FREEDOMS4!
2018-10-3 Freedoms2-4!
  • PAQA-South: ArtQuiltsreminisce: May – July 2017; 32″ wide x 35″ high:  CALLE DE CADIZ – TEATIME
  • SAQA Benefit Auction (donation): online bidding ~ September 16-November 6, 2016; 12″x12″; PRAIRIE BREEZES – (SOLD)
*2016-5 Prairie Breezes-SAQA Auction
  • PAQA-South: ArtQuiltvoices: May 20 – July 2, 2016; 32.5″ wide x 29.5″ high:  VOICES INTERMINGLED – (SOLD)

VOICES INTERMINGLED – The Mosque/Cathedral, Cordova, Spain by Mary Ritter 29.5″HX32.5″W Standing in the nave of the Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba and listening to the all-encompassing pipe organ brought me back in time. Built first as a mosque, the chanting of Moslem voices dominated for 700 years. When the region was conquered by the Pope, the mosque was not razed as was customary, but a Roman Catholic nave was built in the center of the mosque. Thus, the intermingling Muslim and Christian VOICES mixed in spirit, inspiring me to create Las Mezquita and the city Cordoba, past and present, that surrounds it.

  • 2nd ARTS and FLOWER Juried Competition, The Arts Council – Fayetteville, NC;     May 2016; 27″ wide x 46″ high;    HYDRANGEA
  • PAQA-South: ArtQuiltsreminisce: April 22 – June 21, 2015  Page Walker Arts & History Center, Cary, North Carolina; juried; Solitude: Snow in Winter and Church on Sunday; 32″w x 35″h
2018 Solitude
  • SAQA Benefit Auction (donation): online bidding ~ September 16-November 6, 2015; 12″x12″; a la GAUDI (sold)
  • PAQA-South: ArtQuiltconnections: Oct 22 – Nov 16, 2014 Page Walker Arts & History Center, Cary, North Carolina; juried:  Great Lake! Windy City! So Big!       27″w x 29″ h

With the fog rolling out from Chicago over Lake Michigan, this toddler enjoys the feeling of being So Big!

SAQA Benefit Auction (donation): online bidding ~ September 16-November 6, 2014; 12″x12″; SIZZLING SUMMER (Sold)
2014-6SAQ Auction-Simmering Summer
  • PAQA-South: ArtQuiltwhimsy: Apr 23 – June 22, 2014 Page Walker Arts & History Center, Cary, North Carolina; juried:  Look Mom! 25″w  20″h
Look, Mom!

A young mother’s quick shot of her son calling her, like he does several dozen times a day, results in a truly whimsical view of his round little face framed by the culvert that runs under their driveway. Painting the circular rings on batik fabric with fabric dyes created the culvert which was enhanced with machine embroidery. The face is pieced and then embroidered, and a touch of fabric paint is added for the finish.

  • Smokey Mountain Quilt Show  2014 – Fall Frenzy:  Look Out Below! 23″w x 26″h
2014-8 Fall Frenzy
  • Smokey Mountain Quilt Show  2014 – Farm Home: Where My Story Began;           46″w x 40″
  • Cape Fear Moments in Time Show-Moses Cone Flattop ManorThe Quilt Fest of New Jersey X-March 2014 – Mountain to Sea Quilt Series  – (14 panels / 14 artists)  – Moses Cone: Flat Top Manor; 17″w x 26″h
  • Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival 2014 – Mountain to Sea Quilt Series  – (14 panels / 14 artists)  – Moses Cone: Flat Top Manor; 17″W x 26″H (see above)
  • Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival 2014  – Poinsettia Power! 90″W x 48″H
Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival 2014  – Farm Home: Where My Story Began (See above)
PAQA-South: ArtQuiltfreezeframe-September 2013; juried; Moses Cone: Flat Top Manor (see above)

4 Responses to ARTIST Information

  1. Susie Monday says:

    Hi Mary! It’s Susie Monday. Just saw one of your Valencia quilts in SAQA Journal! So cool to se how it turned out.


    • muniqueblog says:

      Hi Susie – so glad you enjoyed Calle de Cadiz – Teatime. It is one of a travel series, but most of the pieces are in the UFO pile, but they will soon be completed. I enjoyed my class with you on my iPad and use apps to alter the photos before working them into an art quilt.


  2. muniqueblog says:

    So glad you found my blog. I am having a lot of fun with this fiber/fabric art. Right now I am on a bit of hiatus as I had a full knee replacement last Thursday. I am back home recuperating today and hope to be back creating art soon! Hi to Dick and the young’uns. I still see them as 5th graders, what can I say, although I have occasionally tuned into wedding and baby photos. Love hearing from you!


  3. Mary, I was flipping through old emails and I came across your blog site. Wow! These are beautiful pieces of art! I love how you use photographs and memories to create these stories. I will continue to monitor this site, keeping up with your prolific output.


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