Batiks in progress

January 20th, 2011

Mary Edna is in a period of prolific art production.  Currently she is working on three batiks in her studio for the upcoming Kimono Silks exhibition at 214 King Street in Charleston from May 12 to June 21, 2011, coinciding with Spoleto.

Collected on Mary Edna’s last trip to Australia, this vintage damask silk has a flower motif woven into the fabric. Chrysanthemums, leaves, and stems float over the design.

This is Mary Edna’s first work capturing the realism of flowers on kimono silk.  The full moon enters the work as if reflected in a pool of water.  Chinese sumi brushes ordered from Dharma Trading Company are made from bamboo and natural fibers designed to hold up against the hot wax.  These brushes, along with the fine lines created by the tjanting tool, allow for a variety of markings.

Mary Edna’s studio doubles as a gallery space when it’s not filled up with giant batiks on silk.

Fuchsia flowers on a pale green background will dry much less vibrant for a subtlety of color and antique quality that Mary Edna anticipates.  She pins her work to wooden saw horses so that the silk can be turned easily, keeping the wax from cracking, and making dye and wax application exact.

Using a few shades of green, Mary Edna creates gradients of color to gives leaves depth and turn. Blending the pinks with greys, the background will eventually appear much more like moonlight with only a little green saved for stems and leaves.

Thick wax creates a yellowing effect in the bold flower designs. When removed, the white details will really sing. Until the work is complete, Mary Edna can only imagine the elegance of the finished art.

KIMONO SILKS Exhibition Closes January 24, 2010

January 20th, 2010

The Kimono Silks show ends this week.  Sunday the 24th is the last day. I appreciate every person that stopped in across from Saks at 214 King Street to view my latest work.

We are so lucky to have the Charleston community of creative talent and those who attend the events that enrich our lives.

Now my twitters and blog posts will cease, as I work on commissions for patrons, upcoming museum exhibits shown below, and batiks for my book on global warming with Orrin Pilkey will take precedent.

I presently have thousands of aerial photographs that inspire me, 75 batiks on silk, 100 monotypes on paper, and numerous giclée prints available in the studio.

Call for an appointment at 843 762 2594 or email me at if you want to visit. My studio will be a gallery all of Spoleto Festival USA May- June.

Terraqueous SilksFlorence Museum of Art, Florence, SC, March  9 – May 23, 2010
Seascape Festival 2010, Gloucester, MA, July 24-25 organized
by David Coffin for the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center
The Art of Global Awareness, McKissick Museum of Art, USC, Columbia, August  – December 2010
Our Expanding Oceans, Circle Gallery, College of Environment and Design,
University of Georgia, January 2011

Our Expanding Oceans, NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC, March 2011 – January 2012, November Art Walk in the Nature Gallery.

Small oil paintings on view at Kimono Silks!

January 11th, 2010

My assistant, Timothy Pakron, sets up my easel and brushes and helps me clean up my messes.
He is an oil painter and has been helping me learn how to use this classic medium.

Monotypes are also done with oil but they are painted on plexiglass and then printed on paper.
It is refreshing to work on a new surface such as canvas and to capture the changing tide and light.
I have enjoyed working on these intimate paintings en plain air in my own backyard.

Eventually, I will work on museum scale aerial landscapes with oil on canvas.

My Exhibition is on display at 214 King Street.

Folk Music

January 6th, 2010

In the 60’s and 70’s I was a folk singer and traveled the South, mainly in my home state of NC, playing guitar on porches and various venues. My first coffee house was opened when I was in the 10th grade in a church basement in Fayetteville, NC. Singers from NY and DC would stop in to warm up in our little dimly lit den before their night club gigs. At East Carolina University

in Greenville, NC, I organized another coffee house for students and musicians. This Thursday is a reliving of that era on Kiawah.





Old time, gospel, folk, and country standards

Play along, sing along or sit back and enjoy

Bring your own beverage and snack

Featured Musicians:

Veronika Jackson, Roger Bellow, Mary Edna Fraser,

And The New Folk Troubadours


Saturday, January 9, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Join us for some live acoustic music from artists including
Ryan Bailey & Cumberland Belle and Lime and the Coconuts

The Lime and The Coconuts from Sunhead Projects on Vimeo.

Photos of Opening Night

December 24th, 2009

Wishing everyone a happy holiday,


KIMONO SILKS Event Highlights

December 15th, 2009

Do take the time to go by the exhibit across from Saks if you are in Charleston. The opening was so much fun and 400 pieces of sushi were dispensed by Rachael and Anna Kate dressed as Geishas.

The brick walls are a lovely setting for art. I will post some photos of the event soon.

Traci Mangus, who runs the events for Dunes Properties Real Estate Studio. was a delightful hostess.

I hope you all have the most wonderful holidays. I will have 21 family members coming to visit for Christmas ages 3 to 89. My daughters, Sarah LaBanna and Rebecca, are home now so I am a happy Mama.

Three Batiks at a Time

December 11th, 2009

Thank you to all for attended the KIMONO SILKS opening night, and to my patrons for their purchases. The Exhibition will be on display until January 24, 2010 at 214 King Street.

Opening Night

December 10th, 2009

Kimono Silks opens this Thursday
December 10th, 2009
from 6-9 at 214 King Street
Bring a friend and enjoy a lovely evening of mirth

Exhibition in Charleston through January 24, 2010
9 – 5 Monday – Saturday & Noon – 5 on Sunday

Here are a few of the new works featuring the Lowcountry.

Vistas Inspire Works

December 7th, 2009

Fraser Exhibit to Open Thursday at 214 King Street

By Bill Thompson
The Post and Courier
Sunday, December 6, 2009

Shimmering and versatile, silk has been used as an artistic “canvas” for centuries. Charleston artist Mary Edna Fraser, noted for her batiks, monotypes and oils inspired by aerial photography, is employing the fabric to bring her art closer to terra firma. With “Kimono Silks,” an exhibit opening Thursday at the gallery at 214 King St., Fraser explores the vistas from her own backyard — just above ground level. Referencing traditional Japanese wood block prints of the ukiyo-e (“images of the floating world”) period in Japan, Fraser achieves something of the same evanescent quality, if of a landscape of not-so-fleeting beauty.

“I think I’ve landed on something brand-new and exciting,” she says.

The new works will be on view 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays through Jan. 2.

An accomplished artist whose work has been exhibited globally, Fraser’s interest in fabrics is long-standing. The genesis of “Kimono Silks” derived from a recent visit to Australia. Fraser has a regular gig Down Under, teaching every other year at

TAFTA, the Australian Forum for Textile Arts, to which she will return in 2011.

“While in Australia in September and October of this year, I bought every piece of 14-inch-wide, undyed antique vintage kimono silk I could find from dealers,” says Fraser, who graduated from East Carolina University in 1974 with majors in clothing and textiles as well as in interior design. “I rummaged through stack after stack, buying everything I thought would go well with my work.”

As opposed to the lofty views of the coastline from North Carolina to Georgia that mark her aerial work, the silks, with their damask designs, provide a different perspective.

“At 14 inches wide, what it offered to me and my clients is a smaller scale. I can still have the long, linear designs I prefer, but instead of 9 to 10 feet in length, the silks are only 3 feet long, which make it more intimate and affordable.”

Though dominated by the silks, the artist notes that her show also will have a segment of oils on canvas and monotypes on canvas.

Fraser apprenticed with master batik artist Fred Andrade on Hilton Head Island in 1977 and since 1993 has been studying with Orrin Pilkey, professor emeritus of geology at Duke University. Their collaboration culminated in 2003 with publication of the book “A Celebration of the World’s Barrier Islands” (Columbia University Press).

Apart from Australia, she has lectured in Indonesia and Taiwan, among other countries, and more than 50 exhibitions have featured her batiks and monotypes, not least at the National Academy of Sciences. In 1994-95, the Fayetteville, N.C., native was the first woman to be honored with a one-person exhibition at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

“Age has its merits when you’re an artist,” says Fraser. “You know that when you lay a line down it is precisely where you want it to be and in precisely the right color. It is mind, heart and hands in concert.”

Batiks remain her passion.

“You have to be very precise with this medium because it has no erasures, and I enjoy that,” Fraser said. “The best thing about this show, for me, is that batik is such a slow and meditative medium that as the holidays come up it quiets me down.

“I hope these batiks, especially, will be peaceful windows through which people may peer on the landscapes, many of them images from the vantage point of my own dock. It’s the landscape I know the best.”

Reach Bill Thompson at or 937-5707

Mary Edna on Lowcoutry Live

December 7th, 2009