On view until March 25, 2012 is Thread of Life at the Museum of Fine Arts, Florida State University, Tallahassee. Featuring the pioneers of textile art who reclaimed craft media as fine art beginning during second-wave feminism, as well as younger conceptual artists, the exhibition presents “works that address civil rights and imprisonment, the sweat shops, natural disasters and man-made ones, and the human narrative from birth to poetic elegy,” according to the exhibition catalog.
Mary Edna found her niche outside of the fine arts world early on. Although painterly with an abstraction of landscape that embodies a sense of place, her greatest accolades have come from her collaboration with scientists and large-scale installations at academic institutions. Seen below, her batik on silk Yukon Delta, Alaska is exhibited alongside Judith Poxson Fawkes’ Neighborhood Afloat, showing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The pieces together depict the fragile and powerful waterways that lives are built upon, fabric itself embodying this dichotomy.
(Mary Edna Fraser, Yukon Delta, Alaska, 2006, batik on silk, 44″ x 44″; Judith Poxson Fawkes, Neighborhood Afloat, 2007, linen, inlay tapestry, 53″ x 53″)
The historical context of textile art shows the path that Mary Edna has followed alongside her contemporaries: “Textile art, prior to the 1960s, was barely thinkable as a concept in the United States. Art critics and historians categorized textiles as craft. In the 1960s the concept of textiles as art received impetus from a few artists and curators. During the past fifty years the boundaries continued shifting and the category acquired every more practicing adherents, often women. In the 1970s, three feminists women whose work appears in Thread of Life, intensified and effected change in the art world attitude toward textiles. The work of Faith Ringgold, Miriam Schapiro, and Judy Chicago, as well as the textile work of many who followed, are now unambiguously recognized as art.”
(From left to right: Tim Harding, Autumn Orange Canopy, 2011, reverse applique, silk, 35″ x 42″ & Koi # 18, 2010, reverse applique, silk, 45.5″ x 38″; Judith Content, arashi-shibori dyed, discharged, pieced, quilted, and appliqued; Stephanie Liner, Detail of Her Orb, mixed media, 20″ diameter; Miriam Schapiro, Miriam’s Life with Dolls, 2006, acrylic, fabric, and collage on paper, 30.25″ x 60″; Mary Edna Fraser, Charleston Airborne Flooded, SC, 2010, batik on silk, 97″ x 35″ & Sinking Colombian Shores, South America, 1998, batik on silk, 34″ x 63″)
The exhibition includes: Harriet Bell, Lanny Bergner, Laura Breitman, Jenny Campbell, Judy Chicago, Judith Content, Hagar Cygler, Judith Poxson Fawkes, Linda Pigman Fifield, Susan Etcoff Fraerman, Mary Edna Fraser, Gee’s Bend/Mary Ann Pettway, Valerie S. Goodwin, Tim Harding, Cindy Hickok, Samara Kaufman, Stephanie Liner, Christine LoFaso, Faith Ringgold, Miriam Schapiro, Nancy Scheinman, Laura Splan, Laura Strand, and Karen Reese Tunnell.
Thread of Life is located in the Upper Gallery of the Museum of Fine Arts.
Spring Semester Hours:
Monday – Friday 9am – 4pm
Sat. & Sun 1 – 4pm
Closed March 3 – 11 except by arrangement.
Florida State University
530 W Call Street
250 Fine Arts Building
Tallahassee, Fl 32306-1140
Wednesday, June 8, 2005
PEM offers world views through batik and modern dance
In conjunction with the World Batik Conference in Boston
Flying North (detail), 2004, © Mary Edna Fraser
Mary Edna Fraser: Silk Tableaus
Reservations by June 4
Members $6, nonmembers $10
Batik artist Mary Edna Fraser describes her art-making process, starting with the inspiration she draws from photographs shot from the open cockpit of a 1946 Ercoupe plane or from satellite images and maps. Her large-scale, dyed-silk aerial landscapes often focus on the convergence of land, sea, and sky. Also, visit the new PEM exhibition Air Lines: Photographs by Alex MacLean for a related view of the landscape. View a selection of the artist’s stunning batiks on display in PEM’s Idea Studios before or after her lecture.
Nicola Hawkins dancers
Prayers for the Planet
7:30 pm performance
8 pm presentations, demonstrations, and discussions
Reservations by June 6
Members $23, nonmembers $28
Explore humankind’s place on the planet through this world premiere performance by the international Nicola Hawkins Dance Company. Prayers for the Planet radiates from an aerial view of the planet, imploring a new view of earth while providing a rewarding sanctuary for the soul. Set design by batik artist Mary Edna Fraser. Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble performs original music composed by Evan Ziporyn.
The Atrium Café will remain open until 7:30 pm with light refreshments available for purchase. Reduced pricing is available for both events: Members $25, nonmembers $33 (limited number of student tickets available at $20 with valid, current student ID). These programs made possible in part by the Northeast Global Education Center at Salem State College and the Lyceum Lecture Fund.
Silk Batiks by Mary Edna Fraser
Mass Audubon Visual Arts Center
MAY 7 – SEPT 18, 2005
M A R Y E D N A F R A S E R
My medium is batik: silk cloth colored by hand using a modern variation of an ancient method of dyeing textiles. I prefer to investigate a region firsthand before beginning a batik: hiking the terrain, exploring the waterways by boat and air, collecting rock and shell samples, and making on-site watercolor studies. Maps, nautical charts, satellite and space imagery provide accurate data with which to plan my compositions. My intent is to convey the essence of place.
Barrier islands have been one focus of my work, and Naturescapes features a number of these batiks. I hope the art will contribute to the appreciation of the dynamic nature of these movable strips of sand and will act as a catalyst for the preservation of barrier islands for future generations.
Mary Edna Fraser has exhibited her work at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Duke University Museum of Art, and the National Science Foundation, among many other venues. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina.
Mass Audubon Visual Arts Center
Canton, MA – www.massaudubon.org
GALLERY Sunday, June 12, 2005 – 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
TALK Fee: $5 Mass Audubon members, $8 non-members
with the Free to World Batik Conference participants
ARTIST Registration: 781-821-8853
EXHIBIT Hours: Friday-Sunday, 1-5 p.m.; May 7-Sept 18, 2005
INFO Fee: Free to Mass Audubon members,
Nonmembers $4 adults, $3 children & seniors
Mass Audubon Visual Arts Center
963 Washington Street, Canton MA 02021
From Outer Banks to Outer Space: Silk Batiks by Mary Edna Fraser
Spoleto Festival 2004 Charleston, South Carolina May 28-June 38
Suspended from the Gaillard Auditorium ceiling, 77 Calhoun Street
New framed monotypes & giclee prints by Mary Edna Fraser
Opening Reception Thursday 5-8 pm June 17th Mercy & Co Interior Design
49 Windemere Blvd Charleston, SC 29407 behind Earthfare
843 763 2323
10-6 Tuesday-Saturday or by appointment
Exhibit closes August 17
Bones, Bugs, & Batiks
Dana Downs, Jeff Kopish & Mary Edna Fraser
Opening Reception Thursday May 20th, 2004
5:00 – 8:00 pm
Mary Edna Fraser’s Studio
1723 Oak Point Road
Charleston, SC 29412
Park at Oak Point Pediatric Dentistry or side of James Island Harris Teeter
Open by Appointment through June 20th
For directions call 843 762 2594
-20th Century Guitar’s review of RICHARD ROBINSON’S “WATERCOLORS” acoustic guitar cd is now available online at mwe3.com.
-20th Century Guitar’s interview with Richard Robinson will be available online at mwe3.com beginning in June, 2004
-April 4, 2004 at 7 p.m. (est) at the Bitter End in New York City (show will be webcast live at bitterend.com)
-April 26, 2004 at 8 p.m. (est) at CBGB’s 313 Gallery in New York City (show will be webcast live at cbgb.com)
MUSIC FROM CYCLES OF SPHERES
The companion audio CD to the exhibit featuring the music of Mark Mercury
|From Outer Banks To Outerspace
January 28th to April 4, 2004 at Emory College
A Celebration of the World’s BARRIER ISLANDS
From the North Carolina Outer Banks to New York’s Fire Island, from Iceland to the Netherlands and Colombia to Vietnam, barrier islands protect much of the worlds coastlines from the ravages of the sea. Although these island are vastly different in many ways, they also share many common features. Most dramatic among these is their dynamism-barrier islands are in almost constant motion, their advances and retreats offering powerful testimony to the force and beauty of nature.
This first-of-its-kind survey of barrier islands around the globe had its genesis in 1993, when geologist Orrin Pilkey met artist Mary Edna Fraser at Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina. They soon realized they shared a passion for the barriers, one heightened by the many threats the islands face from development and global warming. These endangered and irreplaceable jewels, Pilkey and Fraser determined, needed to be better understood and, as important, to be seen in a new way, if they were to be saved. Every bit as dynamic as the islands they depict, Fraser’s spectacular batik artwork combines with Pilkey’s engaging and informative style to create a treasure that is both beautiful and rigorously scientific.
A Celebration of the World’s Barrier Islands is one part stunning coffee table book, and one part state-of-the-art popular science, and it will take readers on a long-distance journey from pole to pole and hemisphere to hemisphere that is altogether original.
Orrin Pilkey is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Geology and director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Duke University. he is the recipient of many awards, including the Jim Shea Award for Public Service from the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, and the author of many books, including The Beaches Are Moving. He lives in Hillsborough, NC.
Mary Edna Fraser is a renowned artist specializing in the production of large-scale batiks, many based on aerial photographs. Her work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the Duke University Museum of Art, the National Science Foundation, and the National Academy of Sciences. She lives in Charleston, SC.
For more information on A Celebration of the World’s BARRIER ISLANDS visit,
WHAT THE WATER GIVES ME
Marjory Wentworth and Mary Edna Fraser
CONTACT: Stacy Hamburger 843 971 2839
WHAT THE WATER GIVES ME (Booksurge; October 2002; $20.99) is the culmination of a decade of artistic collaboration between poet Marjory Wentworth and artist Mary Edna Fraser. This book represents their powerful fusion of visual and verbal communication. Side by side, the poems and the monotypes present an innovative approach to human and environmental concerns. Their first museum exhibition, held at The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC, during the 1995 Spoleto Festival USA was appropriately called “Visual Poetry.” Printed poems, poems typed on pieces of silk, monotypes, and batiks were displayed. Since then, their work has appeared together in museums and institutions throughout the United States, including Duke University Museum of Art, the National Science Foundation, and Peabody Essex Museum. Known primarily for her large scale aerial landscape batiks on silk, Fraser has created this series of personal monotypes and giclée prints on paper that represent some of her best work, which has never been shared with the public. Against this background, Wentworth’s intensely imagistic poetry unfolds. In their book WHAT THE WATER GIVES ME, artist Mary Edna Fraser and poet Marjory Wentworth create a unified lyrical vision of life. As if two harmonious sensibilities have been interpreting the world in the same way but with different means of expression, words conjure images and images elicit written incantations. The dreamscape monotypes conceived by Fraser coupled with Wentworth’s poetry result in a unique and extraordinarily beautiful book. The silent dialogue between the poetry and the artwork articulates the fragile balance that exists within the contradictory forces of the nature. Themes of birth and growth coexist with death and destruction. Colors and shapes express emotions in fresh perceptions. The result is spiritual, honest, and ultimately affirming. The subject is the journey of the human heart.
“Marjory Wentworth and Mary Edna Fraser are making a quiet plea through their art….expressing their love of nature, concern for the environment and curiosity about where the natural and spiritual world meet.”
The Chicago Tribune
About the Artist
Mary Edna Fraser is an internationally known batik and monotype artist. Her work has been displayed in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and institutions throughout the world. Her batiks will be featured in the forthcoming book by geologist Dr. Orrin H. Pilkey, A Celebration of the World’s Barrier Islands. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, Dr. John Sperry and her two daughters Sarah and Rebecca.
About the Author
Marjory Wentworth’s poems have appeared in numerous books and magazines, and she has received two Pushcart Prize nominations. Nightjars, a chapbook of her poems, was published in 1995. She works as a book and film publicist and a creative writing teacher. She lives on Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina with her husband, Peter and their three sons Hunter, Oliver, and Taylor Mary Edna Fraser (843 762 2594) and Marjory Wentworth (843 883 0237) are available for interviews. Mary Edna Fraser’s Studio open by appointment.
For more information, contact:
slide, jpeg, or .pdf available upon request
Rivers of Wind
Marjory Wentworth was honored on January 15th, 2003 to read the poem, Rivers of Wind, which she composed for Mark Sanford on the occasion of his Inauguration as Governor of South Carolina. It is a featured poem by the Dodge Poetry Festival site.
Today the angels, are tumbling
down through heaven’s door.
All along the Coosaw
they hover in a misting halo,
until the black river
shreds into the sea. Today,
as the old oak leaves spin
into bright bunches of confetti,
oysters split open their shells
and sing. At the water’s edge
lilies and tickseed bloom
white and yellow candles
for the dead. All along the Coosaw
the breaths of angels
compose the air, moving in rivers
of wind across this land.
The rivers are omnipotent.
They weave through the earth
like veins, moving for thousands
of miles. There is no beginning.
There is no end, like the moss
and trillium flowing across the forest floor,
or the ravens gathered
above the sharp edges
of the Blue Ridge Escarpment.
In the gray granite cliffs,
where they build
their winter nests of twigs and fine hair
the birds caw and chortle.
Their rumble is the sound
of a wild, free place.
From these mountain tops,
it seems you can see forever –
From the sandhills to the swampland.
From the Piedmont
to the Peedee. In all directions
today, the ever-changing colors
are splashing through the sky –
because in every heart
there is a God of hope, hiding
like a tight frightened seed,
that waits for the first smudge
of sunlight to spread
across the horizon, and later
in the purpled evening, rain.
Seeds of hope are waiting
in the sacred soil beneath our feet
and in the light and in the shadows,
spinning below the hemlocks.
Hope waits in the endless
waterfalls tumbling toward earth,
transforming into rivers
that pull us through embattled centuries.
Hope waits for the waters
to still and the currents
to empty themselves of the blood
that came before.
Hope waits for a day like today.
Hope waits for this man,
who reaches across
our divided lives.
There is so much light
filling the sky here.
So much conviction
in the wind now.
Watch the seeds of hope
as they scatter far,
far across this land.
Mother’s Day Art Exhibit, Booksigning and Poetry Reading
What The Water Gives Me
Original Monotypes on paper, Batiks on silk and Giclée Prints Mary Edna Fraser’s Studio, next to the James Island Harris Teeter
1723 Oak Point Road
Charleston, SC, 29412
843 762 2594
Hosted by the Center for Women and Skirt Magazine
5:30 – 7:30 pm, May 8, 2003
Reading by Marjory Wentworth at 6:30 pm
Booksigning by Marjory Wentworth and Mary Edna Fraser
What The Water Gives Me
Barnes and Nobles Booksellers
1716 Town Center
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
843 216 9756
3 – 6 pm, May 10th, 2003
Outer Banks to Outer Space
Nationally Renowned Artist to Exhibit Batik on Silk Art Works at Festival of Flight 2003 Outer Banks to Outer Space to hang in “Heritage Hall” at Crown Center
CONTACT: Audrey Whaley (910) 763-4439
Fayetteville, N.C. January 2002- Organizers for Festival of Flight 2003 have announced the addition of Mary Edna Fraser’s Outer Banks to Outer Space exhibit to the 120,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space in Fayetteville’s Crown Center. Fraser’s exhibit will premiere on May 19, 2003, and will continue through May 26 for the duration of the Festival. The exhibit consists of 68 works, which will be suspended around the replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer in “Heritage Hall” at the Crown Center. “Mary Edna’s remarkable batiks are a great example of how flight has changed the way we view the world. We are excited to have her work, which is so heavily influenced by flight exhibited around the Wright Flyer. It’s a dramatic combination!” said Paul Dordal, chief operating officer for Festival of Flight 2003.
Ms. Fraser’s exhibit for Festival of Flight is comprised of three sections of work. Earthscapes: A Celebration of Barrier Islands, utilizes aerial photos to dramatically and meticulously recreate the landscapes along the North Carolina Coast, where flight began, and barrier islands worldwide. Naturescapes: Global Phenomena, covers terrain from aerial perspectives of geologic interest, and Planetscapes: Cycles of Spheres, uses NASA satellite images to create works that reach to the stars. In 1994-95, Ms. Fraser was honored with the first one-woman exhibition at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, as well as the museum’s first textile art show. She has also completed public commissions including batiks for the American Embassy in Thailand and NASA. Her most ambitious work, the world’s largest batik, is an 876 square foot atrium sculpture called Global Perception in Columbia, South Carolina. Another notable commission is her 630 square foot batik on silk sculpture, Charleston Waterways, which hangs in the Charleston International Airport entrance hall.
Fraser, a Fayetteville native now living in Charleston, South Carolina, began creating batiks in 1980 when she originated the idea of designing works of art on silk from the vantage point of the sky. Fraser studies navigational charts to identify features of visual interest, then photographs those features from air. She flies in her grandfather’s 1946 415c Ercoupe airplane, in which she has been flying from the time she was two weeks old, with her father or brother as pilot. Maps and satellite images are her references for more expansive compositions or distant locations. Her more than 100 commissions range from private homes to municipal airports.
“Exhibited and collected around the world, her batiks have a common theme: promoting the awareness of environmental beauty and change on the planet as seen from the air,” said Carolyn Russo author of Women and Flight. She utilizes the ancient medium of batik to create images from aerial photos on large silk canvases.
About Batik Batik is a “dye-resist” process in which removable wax is applied to fabric, creating areas that will resist dye, while any un-waxed areas will absorb dye. This dyeing technique predates recorded history. Evidence of early batik has been found in the Far East, Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, and India. Fraser adds an element of difficulty by combining these ancient techniques with modern developments such as Proceon dyes, electrically generated heat, commercially available fabrics and paraffin.
About Festival of Flight 2003
Festival of Flight 2003, North Carolina’s largest public celebration of the centennial flight, will run from May 16 to May 26, 2003, and is expected to draw over a half million people to Fayetteville and will feature extensive exhibits from NASA and the United States Air Force, interactive displays from all branches of the military, exhibits from the Smithsonian Institution and the National Air and Space Museum, static displays of current and vintage aircraft, both military and general aviation air shows and daily flight demonstrations with a replica of the Wright Brothers famous 1903 Wright Flyer. The Festival will also host 5,000 students from across the state in special educational programs, including a live satellite uplink with the International Space Station.
For more information on Festival of Flight 2003, visit
Beyond Fort Johnson
|Hollings Marine Laboratory
Batik on Silk by
Mary Edna Fraser
Craig, Gaulden and Davis, INC Architects
On an aerial photographic journey, early morning dappled light revealed the landscape facing the Atlantic Ocean beyond the Hollings Marine Laboratory. This is the design base for the lobby art. Beyond Fort Johnson is a fan sculpture of 3 panels each 21’ x 3’. The center balcony of the second floor allows one a vista of the horizon with the Morris Island lighthouse as an anchor. The second floor side balconies look over soft drapes of silk which repeat the architectural curve of the building and exterior.
Batik is an ancient medium of dyeing silk, and Fraser’s perspective is revealed by altitude, often in her grandfather’s 1946 vintage plane. The artist’s work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the National Academy of Sciences.