Borseda, Italy

October 18th, 2017


Ellen Kochansky’s Rensing Center Residency in Borseda, Italy is a delightful refuge. On the last week of September, we travelled increasingly winding roads through a hailstorm followed by a rainbow. All of the descriptions and tidbits of kind information made the key turn of a green door open to a place and time that I will forever cherish.

I visited this secluded town in the Ligurian mountains with my husband John Sperry, a pediatrician known as the Dr. Babe. With us were daughters Labanna, 31, from New Orleans, and Reba, 29, from Asheville. We have an upcoming show called “Family Ties” at tThe Southern contemporary gallery during Charleton’s Spoleto festival 2018 starting May 17th through July 8th. With no WiFi in this ancient village, we began our collaborative process.

Both daughters are capable artists, with huge personalities that could not be more different, and incredible cooks. For dinner, Labanna made a stew using squilla mantis, a huge local shrimp, along with wine, shallots, butter, parsley, tomatoes, sea asparagus, and garlic. Reba figured out the gas stove in the well-equipped kitchen. After we ate, a bat darted about, and Labanna the Bat Whisperer used her coos and a lavender-embroidered dishtowel to capture and release it to freedom.

We had our first breakfast on the outdoor patio, then took a introductory photographic walk through the village where grapevines were turning crimson. Labanna and I spent the rest of the quiet day painting while John and Reba read.

On Tuesday we day tripped to Cinque Terre. From southernmost Riomaggiore first, we took a train to Monterossa al Mare. There we dined overlooking the beach, where the girls sunbathed and swam in the salty sea. Next Vernazza, smaller and less touristy, and on to Corniglia, where we climbed over three hundred steps. Manarola was our sunset village with boats returning to the streets. After a full day of people-watching and walking, we drove home to a sauce of pork and beef made the night before using Ellen’s spices.

The next morning we painted watercolors and discussed the Southern, argued and reconciled. We hiked five miles of the stunning Alta Via ridge near Veppo. For dinner, we had yummy beans that took four days to cook, with fish from the Wednesday truck. Reba stacked the futon with every comforter in the house, and she and Labanna slept by the wood stove. John and I cuddled comfortably in a separate room with shutters open.

Thursday morning, we took the long route along the coast to Genoa, where my dear friend John Taylor, godfather to my daughters, lived as a young man. We entered the remnants of 12th century San Andrea cloisters, saw work by Rubens (1589-1606), and enjoyed an antique market full of treasures. For dinner, Labanna stuffed squash blossoms with gorgonzola dolce and my leftover sauce, served with Reba’s salad of shaved brussel sprouts, raw peas, lemon, garlic, and reduced balsamic.

Paulo, Rensing’s caretaker, was setting out to gather mushrooms early Friday morning as we left for La Spezia flea market. Our last day, we went to Veppo and visited a little restaurant owned by Stephano, friend of Ellen’s. He served us a lunch made with love by his mother, along with two bottles of wine. Delicious! After that, everyone napped while I painted.

I am so grateful to Ellen for this escape with my loved ones. If you want an artist, writer or ecologist this residency in authentic Italy then the Rensing Center’s Borseda Program is perfect. The one bedroom, living room, kitchen, bath and large outdoor terrace is in a town of about 26 residents who don’t speak English. We were lucky to have this adventure as a family, on the border of Tuscany in a tiny neighborhood of peace.

“STRADA AT HOBCAW” STRADA Easel Video Challenge

July 31st, 2017


Mary Edna climbed the fire tower at Hobcaw Barony to paint plein air for the Strada Easel Video Challenge. She has a ball with her Strada easel on location and back in the studio. Watch for the hilarious ending! This video was compiled from Facebook live videos. Please watch and share so we can go viral!

Anthropocene Magazine features Mary Edna’s batik

October 27th, 2016

An image of Mary Edna Fraser’s batik on silk “Hurricane Katrina” 50.625” x 53.75” was featured on the first page of the inaugural edition of Anthropocene Magazine, October 2016.

Anthropocene Magazine, October 2016, first page spread featuring Mary Edna Fraser's batik on silk "Hurricane Katrina"

Anthropocene Magazine, October 2016, featuring Mary Edna Fraser’s batik on silk “Hurricane Katrina”

"Hurricane Katrina" batik on silk, hanging on a decorative curtain rod in the studio with silk scarves below

“Hurricane Katrina” batik on silk, hanging on a decorative curtain rod in the studio with silk scarves below

Anthropocene Magazine, October 2016, cover

Anthropocene Magazine, October 2016, cover

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CATEGORIES: Art Work, Batiks, Educational, News |

Batik workshop at the University of North Texas

October 25th, 2016

The Fibers Department of the University of North Texas sponsored a 2-day batik workshop for graduate students facilitated by their professor Amie Adelman. The students were amazing. I hope to return to Denton to teach monotyping and have an exhibition.

UNT workshop with Mary Edna Fraser

UNT workshop with Mary Edna Fraser

UNT workshop with Mary Edna Fraser

UNT workshop with Mary Edna Fraser

UNT workshop with Mary Edna Fraser

UNT workshop with Mary Edna Fraser

UNT workshop with Mary Edna Fraser

UNT workshop with Mary Edna Fraser

UNT workshop with Mary Edna Fraser

UNT workshop with Mary Edna Fraser

Circular Church opens to the public for one week to exhibit “Visual Prayers for Earth Day”

April 10th, 2016
Boston II, batik on silk, 43” x 98”

Boston II, batik on silk, 43” x 98”

Visual Prayers for Earth Day

in the Tibetan tradition of hanging banners meant to bless and heal

Circular Congregational Church
150 Meeting St, Charleston
Viewing April 25th-29th 10am-2pm
Opening Friday, April 22nd 5:30-8pm – Meet the artist & community leaders

Blue Bicycle Books
Charleston Waterkeeper
Coastal Conservation League
Coastal Community Foundation
Sierra Club Robert Lunz Group
South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Blue, Blue Planet

April 5th, 2016
Murray River, Australia, batik on silk, 31” x 27.75”

Murray River, Australia, batik on silk, 31” x 27.75”

Out of Line Gallery

2812 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago
Thursday, April 28th open noon-5pm
Friday, April 29th open noon-5pm
Friday, April 29th 5:30pm Climate Change from an Artist’s Eye followed by discussion

Batik workshop at the Columbia Museum of Art

October 20th, 2015

I had such a good time with this group of talented women at the Columbia Museum of Art on October 17th & 18th. My asthma is making it difficult for me to continue giving workshops in batik so this may be my last. My heart goes out to all in South Carolina affected by the flood.

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CATEGORIES: Educational, Lecture, Process, Workshop |

Panoramas by Mary Edna Fraser of the exhibit at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park

March 31st, 2015

I am so excited to be able to exhibit 3 segments of my career’s work with scientists in the elegant City Gallery at Waterfront Park. Over 1000 people went last weekend to see the silks. The show ends on May 3rd and the lecture is Saturday, April 18th at 2pm. The gallery is open Tuesday-Friday 10am-6pm and Saturday & Sunday 2-5pm and located at 34 Prioleau Street, Unit A, Charleston, SC. Above, Between, Below also has 2 films explaining my process and adventures.

Above, Between, Below by Mary Edna Fraser at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park

Above, Between, Below by Mary Edna Fraser at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park

Above, Between, Below by Mary Edna Fraser at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park

Above, Between, Below by Mary Edna Fraser at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park

Above, Between, Below by Mary Edna Fraser at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park

Above, Between, Below by Mary Edna Fraser at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park

Above, Between, Below by Mary Edna Fraser at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park

Above, Between, Below by Mary Edna Fraser at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park

Above, Between, Below by Mary Edna Fraser at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park

Above, Between, Below by Mary Edna Fraser at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park

Above, Between, Below by Mary Edna Fraser at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park

Batik Retreat at La Cascade in Durfort, France

July 21st, 2014

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Instructor: Mary Edna Fraser, Master Dyer, Fine Artist
Email: [email protected] with questions or to reserve a space
www.maryedna.com
Batik Retreat at La Cascade in Durfort, France
La Cascade, 27 Rue des Martineurs, Dufort, France 81540/Tarn
September 1st-8th, 2014
Open for 8 participants

Stay in a 17th century house in the southern French village of Durfort to take a workshop on batik under the tutelage of Mary Edna Fraser. All skill levels are welcome. 20 hours instructions over 5 days will take you from design to a finished batik artwork.

Learn the basics of batik on silk with techniques developed over 4 decades by a master dyer. Mary Edna teaches the ancient art form using vibrant Procion MX dyes and heated wax applied in layers to silk stretched on a frame. We will work on 22” x 22” squares of silk charmeuse to begin, then move to larger rectangles or squares. The dye-resist process uses Tjanting tools, brushwork, fabuki, and other methods. Batik is just plain fun and Fraser’s adventurous spirit will energize her students and inspire individual experimentation. Mornings will be spent in the well-equipped studio. We will take excursions to the surrounding countryside in the afternoon.

You will reside at a beautifully restored house on the River Sor in Durfort, one hour east of Toulouse. The rooms are tasteful and comfortable. Meals are cooked fresh each day by chef Nese Pelt with local ingredients, paired with wine in the evening.

Field trips may include the Saturday market in Revel, the nearby monastery En Calcat with its outstanding art bookstore, and Toulouse-Lautrec Musee. From the medieval village you can walk into the mountains or drive up to St Ferreol, a world heritage site, for swimming and quiet time. All activities are optional and the group will decide their itinerary.

Our hosts speak fluent English and make the entire visit delightful. Mary Edna is a world traveler from Charleston, South Carolina with international recognition as an artist.

$2,500 includes all equipment, supplies, meals, and lodging. Cost for anyone wanting to attend and not take the workshop is $1,000 for board and shared room. Travel to Toulouse airport, trip insurance, and shuttle or rental car to the location are not included. Travel insurance is required. For Mary Edna, this is about $30. For everything else you want to know about workshops at La Cascade, click here.

Cost: $2,500 price includes
*Charming and comfortable double occupancy room (7 nights)
*7 breakfasts, 6 lunches & 6 dinners
*Four hours daily workshop instruction & 24-hour open studio access
*All materials
*Local excursions

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CATEGORIES: Batiks, Educational, News |

Upcoming workshop in Tallahassee, Florida still has openings

August 6th, 2013

My recent class “Mapping Your Personal Landscape Two-Day Batik Workshop” at the Textile Museum in Washington DC was a success. There are still openings for the SPIN workshop in Florida this weekend.

SPIN (SILK PAINTERS INTERNATIONAL), TALLAHASSEE, FL—August 9-11, LeMoyne Center for the Visual Arts. Instructors include Mary Edna Fraser, Jan Janas, Diane Tuckman, Diane Lawrence, Deborah Younglao, Suzanne Punch and Marcia Ferris. See festival website to register for the master classes.

Mary Edna Fraser

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CATEGORIES: Educational, News, Process |